22 September 2008

Time For HANA Is Now

Timing couldn't be better for HANA to start getting more aggressive. Kentucky is actually thinking of raising takeouts 'to pay for improved racetrack and betting security and more drug testing.' Hopefully, they will come to their senses and pick one of the alternative plans to raise money for these things. Yes, drug testing is important, but if nobody is betting, what is the point?

As for NYRA's recent track takeout increase on their own product. Ed Fontaine, in the New York Post sums it up very nicely:

What business in the U.S. treats its customers with more contempt than horse racing? Yesterday (September 17th), an across-the-board increase of 1% was added to already onerous takeout on all wagers on NYRA races, making takeout in NY State one of highest in the nation.

Actually, their takeouts are still lower than ones found at Woodbine and Fort Erie.

HANA now has a functional web site. Check it out. Their first press release:

Horseplayers Association of North America (HANA) Announces Incorporation, Appoints Officers


(September 22, 2008. Charlottesville, Virginia) The Horseplayers Association of North America (HANA) is pleased to announce that it has been incorporated as a Virginia non-stock corporation with the goal of obtaining 501(c) status as a non-profit organization with the Internal Revenue Service. HANA believes that this is an important first step in becoming a force to help grow the sport of horse racing.

HANA would also like to announce that they have elected their Officers.

Jeff Platt has been elected President. Jeff, a computer programmer by trade, has been a horseplayer since 1981. In addition, he is the owner, operator and creator of Jcapper, a popular thoroughbred handicapping software.

John Swetye has been named Vice President. John is a business professional, long time horseplayer and one of HANA's founders. The Treasurer is Theresia Muller, CPA, CFP, who is an investment professional, avid horseplayer, horse owner and thoroughbred racing forum owner. Finally, Dean Towers of Toronto will add inter national flavor to HANA as its Secretary. Dean is a marketing professional, a horseplayer; and like Theresia, a horse owner.

The Horseplayers Association of North America is a grassroots group of horseplayers, not affiliated with any organization, who are not pleased with the direction the game has taken. HANA believes that both tracks and horseman groups have become bogged down with industry infighting and have completely forgotten something: The importance of the customer. HANA hopes, through proactive change on several key issues (including but not limited to), open signal access, lower effective takeouts, affordable data and customer appreciation, the industry's handle losses can be reversed. HANA is currently made up of over 200 horseplayers (both harness and thoroughbred) from almost all States and Canadian provinces. It currently represents over ten million dollars of yearly racing handle.

Our web address is http://www.horseplayersassociation.com and interested horseplayers can sign up there for free. We are horseplayers, just like you and we are trying to make a difference. We need and appreciate your support.

Questions? Please contact us at horseplayersassociation@gmail.com

And don't forget about the HANA blog.

To become a HANA member (it is free, and there is no obligation whatsoever) click here and fill out the form (it will take less than 2 minutes)

How Ontario's Casino Rama got scammed. It was only the tip of the iceberg though.

Online Scam Report Helps Players Avoid Shady Online Casinos

They have a blog. The most recent blog entry is titled People Turning To Gambling To Relieve Economic Stress
Too bad the horse racing industry isn't going to catch many of the new bettors. Potential new players now Google before they jump into new endeavors. And newbies will come across two things which will make them go elsewhere.

The biggie of course is the ridiculous cost to play (because of high takeouts that do not compete with other forms of gambling). And of course, the amount of work it takes to gain enough knowledge to bet on horses confidently.

Why would a newbie choose horse racing over sports betting or poker when both of those offer a much bigger bang for the buck as well as the fact that you don't need to read 4 or 5 books in order to be adequate enough in order to compete against others?

More signs that the industry is still sinking: Keeneland's gross sales down almost 30%
Personally, when I look at how much the average horse makes a year, I am baffled when so many horses are sold at sales for more than $100,000. Regardless of how well they are bred, the cost to get any horse to the races is very high, and yearling sales have to be the easiest way for an owner to get into a hole he or she can never get out of if they pay ridiculous amounts for the dream.

CryptoLogic expects $3.6 million dollar quarterly loss mainly due to foreign exchange

Elissa Blowe makes a good case for donating to your local SPCA

Jockey Earlie Fires retires at 61. To put things in perspective, he got his jockey's license the year before Northern Dancer had his great 3 year old campaign.

Conflict of Interest?

Last Wednesday night at Woodbine, the first race was taken off the turf. There was no rain for a few days going into the race, and I thought the race was going to stay on the lawn for sure.

Prophetically was 6-1 in the program, and thanks to race being taken off the lawn, the race was reduced to four horses (from 7) and she became an even money favourite, and ran like one. The winner's share of the race was over $50,000.

Prophetically is owned by David Willmot's Kinghaven Farms. Most people know that Willmot is the chief vizuzu at Woodbine.

I didn't have the luxury of examining the turf course. Maybe it was dangerous and chopped up.....but maybe it wasn't.

The next day (even without rain), there couldn't be much hesitation but take the races off the grass, and they were. Finally, on Friday, races stayed on the turf (listed as good).

Sure, taking Wednesday's race off the turf could have been, and probably was, on the up and up.
But public perception is very important, especially in a sport that is dying a slow death (ironically, thanks to people who run the racetracks like Willmot).

Question for my readers
Do you think that Prophetically should have been forced to scratch last Wednesday when the track was taken off the turf?


Anonymous said...

Frank Stronach runs alot of horses at the track's he own's so im sure the same situation came up many times before,anyway if Killmott needs $50.000 im sure he can do what the rest of his club has been doing for year's,just take it from his customer's with out giving it a second thought.

Anonymous said...

Gravel pit.a.k.a.Pat Husbands was seen in the Fort Erie casino Tuesday with his 2 man entourage, probably on his way to party harty.

Anonymous said...

Apprentice Melanie Pinto booked off Tuesday as she spent the day in divorce court.