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Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Keeping the Purse Money Local?

Elsewhere, I had a discussion with some individuals on how some tracks have poor stakes programs, either having few late-closing events and/or not dedicating much purse money to stakes races. The argument many horsemen bring up is why should the money go to out of staters, especially when the money is derived by slot revenue? Of course, one of the reasons the Ontario provincial argument makes for ending slot support for racing is the money is going to those Americans.

While I don't necessarily subscribe to this theory, I can understand their point. If the slot money comes out of the pockets of Freedonians (not to name any states), why should this 'earned' money go to the pockets of Sylvanians? You can make an argument for this. Of course, if they don't want their purse money flowing out of state because the local horsemen 'earned' it, out of principle those horsemen from Freedonia should stay home and not race in stakes races in Sylvania, right?

But of course, this is not the case. If those Freedonian horsemen have a horse that is competitive enough, they will be heading over to Sylvania to race in their stakes races to bring the money earned off of Sylvanians back to Freedonia and they won't think twice about depriving the horsemen of Freedonia of their purse money.

But if Freedonian horsemen feel they don't want their purse money going to out of staters in stakes races, why stop there? Instead of having races for Freedonian owned or sired horses in addition to their non-restricted events, why not just close the entire racing program to non-Freedonians? Then Sylvanian horsemen should do it as all the other states.

Of course this would be absurd. In fact, in many states, racinos or non-racinos, there aren't enough horses to fill their race cards if they were limited to state-owned, sired, or foaled horses. So with the exception of some restricted races and sires stakes programs, races are non-restricted. Each state seeks out the best horses for their races as it increases wagering. Breeders want their horses racing in other states as well as it increases the value of their stallions when they beat the best and have more racing opportunities.

You can't have it both ways. If you need the out of staters to support your overnight program, then don't try to shield the money from them when it comes to stakes races. Main Street is a two way street, money flows out of the state and flows out of state. If you want to keep more money in your coffers, do it the way you are supposed to do. Compete for it. If too much money is flowing out of state it means one thing, you need to improve your racing stock.
Note: For you ‘youngsters’ who are wondering about Freedonia and Sylvania, they are references to the 1933 Marx Brothers classic Duck Soup.  If you have never seen the movie, I strongly recommend you see it; as far as I am concerned it is ‘THE’ definitive Marx Brothers flick.