Since I started blogging, I believe I've put my picks out there for the Kentucky Derby every year. This year will be different. I don't have any picks, in fact, I am not even going to look at the past performances for the Kentucky Derby this year for the first time since I was around 10 years old (1971).
I already made my mind up to stop betting any Churchill Downs track when they announced the takeout increase a week or two ago. The exception would have been Kentucky Derby day. But after reading the news about Churchill Down's beyond dismal treatment fellow Canuckian Ron Turcotte today, Churchill Downs might as well be a racetrack on Mars. This was the last straw.
I have bet on the Kentucky Derby every year ever since Woodbine introduced intertrack wagering, except for 1986. That was the year my girlfriend at the time bugged me to go to Montreal on the weekend the Derby happened to be on. She barely even let me watch the race. We were in the hotel room, the horses were just entering the gate, and she decided to divert my attention. I remember straining my back a bit trying to do two things at once, but I managed to see Ferdinand and The Shoe make an outstanding stretch run. The one thing I don't remember is who finished first:)
Back to serious business, Churchill Downs Incorporated is ruining racing. Increasing the track takeout in light of decreasing demand for short term gains is what has clobbered horse racing for years. Since Churchill Downs and racing's (not so great only hope) Frank Stronach (he isn't innocent either when it comes to NOT putting customers first) have got their paws in the game, handle has tanked, and this isn't by magic. Optimal takeout is not a consideration, nor is the horseplayer. It is all about short term gain with no respect for the future of horse racing as a viable gambling product.
They managed to mangle the increased exposure through internet betting (people now don't have to leave their homes to wager on up to 20 tracks sometimes an hour). Pricing of their product (takeout) is so high that despite the fact that internet poker has been banned in the US, handle keeps sinking, and new players are the customers left are starting to die out, bet less or just finding something else to do with their time. I don't think we've seen the worst of the player exodus yet.
I'm done supporting stupidity and greed. And the Ron Turcotte dissing was certainly the last straw for me.
There is Players Boycott going on, mainly because of the takeout increase. And even if you don't care about the takeout increase, consider the treatment Churchill gave Ron Turcotte, especially if you are a Canadian, before you bet on a track that directly makes Churchill Downs Inc. money. These tracks include: Churchill Downs, Arlington Park, Calder,
Canterbury Park, Fairgrounds, Finger Lakes, Hoosier Park, Indiana Downs,
Miami Valley, Oaklawn Park and The Meadows.