How Were You Introduced To Going To The Track And/Or Betting On The Ponies?
Neat little poll over at Pace Advantage. Not really surprised by the results to as of this writing:
Parent(s) brought you to the track 34.02%
Someone you knew had interest in horse ownership 2.06%
Relative other than parent brought you to the track 16.49%
Friend(s) brought you to the track 26.80%
Corporate/work function 1.03%
Got a job at the track 3.09%
You just decided to play horses one day 16.49%
The days of family and friends bringing newbies to the track is pretty much a dead issue these days thanks to the vast amount of betting competition and entertainment competition available to the general population.
Unfortunately, horse racing hasn't been able to adapt to the change. Back in the good ole days of 20 years ago and earlier, players were able to last longer because they could only bet on one track, the collective takeout was lower as well (triactors were not available much, and superfectas were only available at a few venues if at all), there was dummy money in the pool (that have left for lotteries and slots), and there were actual winners who acted like carrot sticks in attracting the odd new customer.
Horse racing needs to market their product for what it is: GAMBLING. And this means that the game has to be beatable by at least some. Takeouts need to be reduced and rebates need to be embraced in order for racing to grow from here.
Rumour of the day
Woodbine is going to become a publicly traded entity. This gives them the ability to go to the market to raise funds for things like their Woodbine Live project.
Lets hope it is only a rumour because horseplayer's needs will become even less of a concern to Woodbine if this happens. Is this what Willmot meant when he said he is getting out of the way? I was hoping it meant that he is going to get out of the way to allow Woodbine to grow the right way (drop takeouts and create more demand and more growth).
As I've stated before, Churchill Downs/Tracknet operates like Woodbine South. They act as if they are a quasi monopoly, and the horseplayer gets the short end of the stick, as the company is driven to make profits, not necessarily grow the game. The only people who benefit are the suits and the shareholders. Oh, and if Woodbine became a publicly traded company, the horsemen would also start to see what getting the shaft is all about.
Mountaineer To Be Dark in January and February in 2010
The horsemen aren't happy, but it could have been worse, because there was a request made that four months be dark.
Lots of B horses from Ontario grind it out at Mountaineer. They can still race at Charles Town, Penn, Turfway, and Beulah. But the purses at Turfway and Beulah are so low they hardly worth it. That being said, look for full fields at those two venues, and possibly good betting opportunities.
Horseplayersbet.com offers betting on all the above venues, and just added Tampa Bay Downs to the betting menu. Really decent player rewards are available to all Horseplayersbet.com's customers.
Fort Erie Still Up In The Air
Anxious horsemen and fans are still hopeful that Fort Erie will run next year. Rumours that the government is trying their best to make it happen are out there. I can't see the government directly funding Nordic Gaming. There may be ways to circumvent this though.
The obvious way is to give Fort Erie a bigger cut of the casino revenues on the basis that it's survival is necessary to the entire thoroughbred industry in Ontario.
For instance, if a harness track closed down, the impact would only be local, as more and more harness tracks are looking to reduce dates anyway due to terrible demand. If Fort Erie shuts down, where are horses who can't poly or just can't compete for bottoms at Woodbine go? The States? Well that won't sit well with most owners, and many will get out of the game. And this will kill the breeding industry which is already on life support in Ontario.
The government needs to announce that without live racing, the slots MUST SHUT DOWN!
The reasoning is very simple. Precedence. What is to stop a harness track from deciding to stop racing if they are losing money because of racing?
By not announcing what will happen to slots, the government is allowing Nordic Gaming to be in the driver's seat regarding their stubbornness when it comes to overpricing the track. A new owner would definitely solve the problem regarding the government having to do anything on this issue, at least in the near term.
Quit Your Day Job And Become A Stooper
$45,000 a year isn't the worse job in the world. I wonder if Mrs. Dubiel is still alive. She walked around Greenwood Race Track with a cart full of tickets. I think she got me a couple of times, and I was pretty careful.
What is up with Trackus? In the fifth race on Sunday at Woodbine, the second place finisher apparently went faster than the winner. It is possible that Trackus takes into account each individual horse from the time they break the beam and hit the finish. So it is possible that a horse who breaks well will run a slower time from beam to finish than a horse who breaks slower from the gate.
New Contest At Santa Anita: WINVIVOR
$2500 up for grabs starting January 1st. Contestants have to pick a winner each day, or they are out. It is free to enter.
Not a bad move. It might attract more people to handicap Santa Anita, and maybe attract new players, but probably not many. Woodbine has had the 123Racing contests going on for a while, and it doesn't appear that they are attracting new customers.