9 April 2010

HANA's Track Rating Resource: Great For Horseplayers And The Industry Alike

HANA (Horseplayers Association of North America) has published their 2010 Thoroughbred track ratings. It is a great player and industry resource, with sortable columns for up to date track takeout for most wagers as well as sortable columns for things like handle per race and field size. The current blog piece is a focus on tracks with the lowest takeouts.

It is pretty amazing that 12 of the top 16 track's with the lowest takeout score have no alternative source of gambling. This isn't true when it comes to the bottom ranked tracks, which are dominated by tracks that have slots. Woodbine and Northlands Park tie for 58th spot out of 69 tracks when it comes to highest takeouts, while Fort Erie finds itself pathetically in 67th spot on the list, bettering only Suffolk Downs (68th), and Assiniboia (69th).

The industry is not taking HANA's work lightly lately. It is in panic mode, and I think the message that it is the horseplayer that is the customer, and only the customer, is beginning to become a reality, and it is about time the industry find out how the customer thinks, and works with that knowledge instead of the old way which is how the industry wants the horseplayer to think.

HANA is getting lots of press. Check this out.

To join HANA, simply click here, it is free, and it only takes a minute.

Gaming revenues in Nevada jump almost 14% in February
So what is horse racing's excuse? Total handle on US races declined over 6% in March. That followed double digit declines in January and February compared to the corresponding months the year before.

Horse racing has still not bottomed out yet, and still, next to nothing has been done to address the pricing of the bet, in order to compete and grow again. Proving once again, that racing is one of the most, if not the most, dysfunctional industry in the Western world.

Cutting race days or purses is a band aid solution, and as this trend continues, horse racing will become less of a concern, not only by the public, but also regarding government subsidies.

On a related note, if Woodbine is not careful, they will soon have their slot subsidies questioned, as more and more American outfits usurp the Canadian outfits thanks to Woodbine's effort to attract Americans by carding American bred friendly races such as B Allowance races. And more importantly, not carding Ontario bred claiming events and even worse, continuing the new practice of not allowing the owner of a newly claimed Ontario horse run for the full purse.

It is almost like Woodbine is telling the owners, go get a superior Kentucky bred, bring it here and race it. It is a lot less risky than buying an Ontario bred either at a sale, and of course, unless you think a newly claimed Ontario bred can win an Ontario sired allowance race, don't even think about claiming one.

There are two existing components of growth for betting: The existing horseplayer, and the existing owner. Owners and horseplayers are the one's who will likely expose newbies to the game (friends, relatives, and sometimes coworkers and neighbours). The horseplayer in Ontario has been ravaged for years by high takeout. Many have left to play poker, Betfair, or are now wagering offshore with bookies or rebate shops. Now the horse owner and breeders are really feeling Woodbine's corporate mentality of trying to attract more quality (even though studies have shown that quality means very little compared to pricing when it comes to handle). We are seeing less and less new Ontario owners come into the game through partnerships or as lone entities, and it all boils down to Woodbine having little understanding of who the real customer is.

Forum Question: If you won a $5 Million Lottery would you continue to bet on horses? Not one NO so far. Horseplayers sure are either passionate and/or addicted.

Seriously though, Chantal Sutherland is back at Woodbine. She is listed to ride a couple of horses this afternoon (Friday) at Woodbine.

Beulah Park's 25 Cent Fortune Pick 6's jackpot has climbed to $307,465 going into Saturday. You can bet it here, if you live in the right State.

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