12 May 2008

Presque Isle Downs Does $196k In Handle On Sunday; Purses Totaled $178k

Presque Isle Downs fired off a letter on Friday which told ADW's like Premier Turf Club that starting Sunday, they could no longer have their signal, because of the ongoing dispute between horsemen and owners. Horsemen want a larger share of the takeout earned through ADWs.

The horsemen group have not thought this one out very well. The result will be that more bettors will stop following the tracks that are holding out, and many will open up offshore betting accounts, and may in fact stay there after the dust clears. Currently, Betfair doesn't accept US residents, but I expect that to change very soon. In the meantime, there are some offshore houses that still welcome US residents.

The result of the PID signal holdout: $196,000 in total handle on Sunday. Presque Isle gave out $178,000 in purses. Imagine, without slots, Presque Isle would need to charge a 90% takeout to break even, and that is without operating expenses.

Betting was low in a lot venues. Fort Erie only did $471k while giving out $93k in purses, Woodbine, with an eleven race classy card full of big fields only did $2.6 million while distributing over $600k in purses, and Mountaineer, with a muddy track, did only $1.4 million in handle, giving out $135k in purses.

Even with bettors all across North America getting shut out of tracks they would normally bet on, Woodbine, who has their signal just about everywhere except Premier Turf Club, isn't breaking any records. Big bettors are avoiding Woodbine and their ridiculously high track takeouts, regardless of availability.

Pull The Pocket Sums Up The Mentality Of The Racing Industry

We go on strike for more race dates at places where no one watches us race.

In 2007 we made it a felony to bet a race over the Internet from Arizona.

We have home market areas that are 10 hour drives from a racetrack.

We expect customers to open seven different betting accounts to play our sport.

We get a report from a respected University telling us that an ideal takeout rate to maximize our revenue is 7%, but charge 20%.

We charge people for racing data and past performances. Like McDonald's charging $2 to look at their menu.

We can't decide if racetrack is one word or two.

We think rebated players stick their rebates in a sock.

We settle a positive test that happened in 2006, in 2008, and expect no one to notice.

When anyone mentions the thought of the sport hiring a commissioner it is met with unbridled laughter.

We watch some trainers regularly drop 4 seconds off a horse in a week and expect the public to believe it is the shoeing.

We pay for a gambling expert to give us guidance, he writes a 100 page detailed report, and we ignore all his recommendations.

We see that advance deposit wagering is the only growth segment in racing and immediately try and take more of the revenue; which would result in destroying the only growth segment in racing.

We retire our sports stars at the age of 3 so they can have sex, and expect the sport's fan base to grow.

We think that lowering a price will result in less revenue.

We give slap on the wrist penalties to rule breakers, then wonder why good people don't want to invest in racing.

We do little to help retired racehorses, then get mad at the public when they don't want to support horseracing after they see a news report on a former Kentucky Derby winner being slaughtered.

We have rules that say you can't kick a horse or whip him where the sun don't shine, but we never enforce them.

We call our customers "disgruntled gamblers".

And with all of the above, after the business goes downhill, we go cap in hand to government looking for money, blaming it on offshore competition, or lotteries.


Windsor horsemen finally grow a brain, and drop Tuesdays in May. Less than a month ago they decided to go with a purse cut as opposed to a reduction in dates. Fort Erie should drop Sundays in May....if they were smart, and then race on Wednesdays in June, July, August, and September.

Fort Erie Gets A $2 Million Government Grant To Spark The Big Project That Will Never Be.

'A $2-million provincial grant has been earmarked to "help spark" a $300-million redevelopment of the Fort Erie Race Track, The Review has learned.

Jim Thibert, manager of the Fort Erie Economic Development and Tourism Corporation, confirmed Friday, his agency has made an offer to El-Ad (Canada) and its subsidiary Nordic Gaming, to assist in paying some of the costs that will be incurred during preliminary planning for the redevelopment of the 111-year-old border oval using money the agency was granted last month by Ontario's Ministry of Economic Development and Trade.

"Our goal is to help get it done," Thibert said. "Right now, we have made a proposal to El-Ad to help facilitate this (development) proposal.

"We're doing the best we can to say this is how we share the risks." said Thibert.

Claude Pilato, chairman of the EDTC's board of director's was quick to point out the money isn't a bail out for the track, which opened last weekend despite ongoing financial woes.

Nor does the money guarantee the 111th season won't be its last, Pilato said.'
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So the government is basically covering Nordic Gaming's planning costs. Nordic meanwhile, hasn't put in a dime by the looks of it. Yet they expect everyone to believe they are going to invest $300 million in a project that makes absolutely no economic or common sense.

I have a feeling a few people will end up getting their wallets fatter at the expense of the Ontario tax payer (expect lots of contracts that involve nepotism)....and that is about it.


My Sentiments On Breeding Echoed By A Couple Of Insiders

Industry may examine recent breeding practices

In no area is the finger-pointing greater than the debate over whether America's breeders have produced an increasingly fragile animal while making speed and brilliance the objective in a mating at the expense of soundness and durability.

Doug Byars, a leading expert in internal and critical equine care, is among those who say there is too much emphasis on breeding a horse that will attract top dollar at sales -- with fashionable speed-oriented bloodlines -- rather than one who has the best parentage for longevity at the racetrack. "We've got to look at breeding to sell, not breeding to race," he said.

Many breeders counter that they must produce what the market wants to stay in business. Also, horses such as last year's Derby winner Street Sense and runner-up Hard Spun become so valuable as stallions that the economic pressure is to retire them after the 3-year-old campaign. If they don't race at 4 and 5, no one knows if they're likely to produce progeny resilient enough to withstand several years of racing.

While Casner says the breeding is unfairly becoming the whipping boy, he agrees standards are too lax for horses getting into the production chain.

"I really don't think it's as much the speed factor as . . . what does everybody do with a filly who can't run? Breed them," he said. "What do they do with a filly that can't make it to the races because of soundness? Breed them. . . . Horses in an earlier time had to earn their way into the breeding shed Fillies certainly had to be good racehorses and had to be durable."

One industry project involves compiling statistics designed to measure the durability of stallions' offspring.

Harlem Rocker to skip Preakness. Aims for Queen's Plate instead.

Tucci Stables had three winner with three different trainers yesterday. I thought that an owner could only have two trainers at one track in Ontario. I know Nick Gonzalez is stabled at both Fort Erie and Woodbine, but My List seems to be stabled at Woodbine.

Calder Slashes Purses on 8 Stake Races

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