Many handicappers and racing fans don't care for racing on the half mile track. People feel racing has become boring and predictable on the half mile oval which results in a lot of short priced favorites winning. Perhaps it is time to follow the lead of the Eskilstuna race track in Sweden which eliminated their passing lane.
The passing lane was introduced as a means to stimulate wagering as it was felt people were being turned off by seeing their horses getting locked in along the rail full of pace with no way to get out. By adding the passing, lane, these horses would get a chance to challenge the leader in the stretch. With respect to eliminating horses getting trapped along the rail down the stretch, the passing lane has been successful.
But at what cost? Has the passing lane made our races boring to watch, especially on the half mile ovals? The feeling here is yes. Nowadays, you often see horses failing to challenge the leader, being more concerned with sitting to make their move in the passing lane at the end of the race. As a result, you have less movement in races. If we eliminate the passing lane, you would see more movement during the race as drivers would need to be more aggressive otherwise risk getting trapped along the rail, not only losing the race, but failing to earn a check. By eliminating the passing lane, racing becomes less predictable and pay offs better for the gamblers, stimulating wagering interest and providing more excitement to fans and gamblers alike.
Not ready to give up on the passing lane completely? Another option is to put the 'dogs up' and race at times with the passing lane closed to add another variable to the handicapping mix.