This year, a great marketing opportunity for horse racing was missed. For the past three weeks, championship races were held. On Saturday, October 25, Breeders Crown races for standardbreds were held at Woodbine Racetrack. Last Saturday, November 1, the quarter horses had their AQHA Championship races at Los Alamitos Race Course. This weekend, the thoroughbreds have their Breeders Crown races at Santa Anita.
Think of the marketing campaign which could have been developed. While each breed would be responsible for promoting their own events, it could have been done under the banner of 'Racing's Championship Season', raising the consciousness of the American public to horse racing in general. By packaging the three breeds championship races together, each series of races could have been sold to ESPN or another network and promoted by all the ADWs. I am not suggesting television revenue would be split equally between the three breeds, but for three weekends in a row, racing would be re-introduced into the American consciousness.
I know most people would ask why would the thoroughbred people be interested in such a partnership. Well, while they are the biggest of the three breeds, they are hurting as well. While standardbred, quarter horse, and thoroughbred interests like to think they are separate industries, we are all part of the horse racing industry with common problems. While each breed needs to take care of their own interests, if we neglect the 'foundation' issues all the breeds have, it will be for naught. By promoting all three breeds championship series together, it would provide an opportunity for the racing industry to address those foundation issues and help promote horse racing in general to the American public for a three week period.
It is too late for this year, but hopefully racing's interests can get past their parochial divisions and work together in future years. Like it or not, horse racing will grow together or fail together. The sooner we recognize it, the better off we all will be.