It Isn't Just The Economy: Handle Is Sinking Big Time
Figures released today by Equibase Company confirm what the Paulick Report has been saying for months, that pari-mutuel handle on Thoroughbred racing in the United States is at its lowest level since 1998. With a 20% plunge in December wagering, year-end handle in the U.S. totalled $13,670,196,938, down more than $1 billion from 2007, a 7.16% falloff. It is the fourth decline in total Thoroughbred pari-mutuel handle in the last six years in the U.S.
The business model is broken. More and more people are learning that you have to be an absolute sucker to bet without rebates into a 20%+ track takeout. Newbies who might just want to take a crack at learning the game are now doing internet searches and they bump into sites like mine who tell it like it is.
I'd like to add that although I can't confirm it, I think that more people bet more money in 2008 at rebate shops than ever before. Take that extra churn out of the bottom line, and the final numbers might just look pathetic.
Ray Paulick asks if Betfair will become a player in the US Exchange betting is the way to go. Personally, I think the US and Canada should have their own exchange set up, no matter what it costs to do so, so that the tracks and the horsemen wind up with the bulk of the profits. Of course, only if they play ball and charge exactly what Betfair charges in commission.
This will attract tons more business, and it will shine light on the fact that track takeouts need to be lowered drastically in order for the game to grow.
Again, read the comments over at Paulick Report, there are quite a few insightful ones.
Betting in Maryland down huge. Is it coincidence that Laurel and Pimlico aren't available at Premier Turf Club?
Ocala Sales Prices Fall 63%
Not only are bettors leaving. Owners are leaving as well. Vet costs, high training costs, and the fact that new people aren't being introduced to the sport very much, which has a lot to do with the fact that bettors have left to play less costly forms of wagering as racing refuses to compete for the gambler's business.
Are horsemen getting desperate because of the recession?
Fatal injuries being probed at Turfway
Is it because of the no toe grab rule, or are trainers racing horses, who shouldn't be racing due to soreness, as often as they are now?
Turfway isn't the only track that has more than its usual share of breakdowns these days. I've noticed a lot lately when viewing HPITV at numerous tracks. It is as bad as I ever can remember it to be.
If you are interested in becoming an owner, a partnership may be the way to go. There is a new site called North American Racing Partnerships which breaks down available partnerships by location for both thoroughbred and standardbreds.
A couple of caveats when joining a partnership. Know what the exact costs are and do some research to see if they are in line with the costs associated with a specific track or region. Also, beware that if you wind up buying horses for the partnership to begin with, it is best to buy at auction, or via claiming. It may not be wise to buy a horse from someone setting up the partnership because it is my experience that they can be overpriced. Getting real value for a race horse can only be achieved when claiming, or bidding, or buying privately at arms length.
More Drugs In Racing 101
There is a really good and detailed discussion having to do with drugs and horse racing, specifically having to do with Turf Paradise, on the MSNBC horse racing forum.
Message #60 is very good as it gives reasons why cheating on horses should be a criminal or federal offense.
Then there is message #27 from someone with the ID phoenixoutsider:
Kentucky vet, I trained but rarely owned for 36 years. Set about 5 or 6 track records,had Horse of the Year in 2 different states. Made a good living, never owed a stinkin vet,shoeing, or feed bill. And yeah, I know a lot of what they're using. Let's see, uhhh how many packets of electrolytes do a couple of those guys have on their bill? You know, the ones in the pink and yellow bag??? Uhhh, how about the injections into the throat right where the throat latch goes to relax the muscles in that area. How about the injections into the trachea? Epinephrine and camphor oil. Ring any bells? All of these occurring about 2 hours before the race.How about the guy that had one of these little deals on film that happened 2 hours before the race and the vet got suspended. Said it was lasix. Since when do you inject (according to the video) Lasix into the trachea 2 hours before the race. Don't embarrass yourself by treating us like morons. Some of us know EXACTTLY what we're talking about. Hell, some of us even tried some of it and it worked pretty good. But some of us were too chicken to go on with it,as we weren't one of the chosen few.
There is another message that states in Arizona they only spend $37 a race on testing, and that is why there are so many chances being taken there.
Kentucky Jocks Want Higher Mount Fees
I think mount fees are too low in some jurisdictions, but I am also a strong proponent for jockeys getting 10% of the prize monies for place and show as well. It makes no sense that outside of stake races, they get so little if they don't win.
I hate seeing riders records where the jockey wins at 14% comes second at 7% and third at 7%. It makes me question whether they try as hard when they know they won't win.
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Scott Rowe discusses the current problems between WEG and the OHHA
The OHHA voted to race without a contract while they continue to negotiate.
Sorry, I still don't have any news on whether Fort Erie will open next year, only that we might hear something on January 15th. The ORC has granted Fort Erie a license through to January 31st.