Well, if the comments from horseplayers and industry insiders are any indication, it's time to get rid of the passing lane. Clearly the passing lane has tapped down the number of horses willing to rough it and make moves during the race, being more content to sit in the pocket. Couple this with the slot-infused purses which make a risky move a potentially expensive risk, the game has become predictable, complete with low payoffs.
Yet, who will be the first track to eliminate the passing lane (the question posed in the other blog entry was prompted by a request of an anonymous industry group)? More importantly, will even one passing lane be closed? For an industry which seems to be scared to make any moves, it would be an act of courage to eliminate the passing lane. The ironic thing, with most tracks now gaining the benefit of slots, what is the real risk of making a mistake with regards to the passing lane? If no track will be the first one to eliminate the passing lane, how can we expect the industry to make any significant changes?
I challenge racetracks to close the passing lane. The physical cost to change the track initially doesn't need to be expense, just buy a bunch of construction cones and put them down along the course where the passing lane would be to close it off and if it turns out getting rid of the lane was a mistake, all which is needed is to pick up the cones; if it is a success, then a more permanent closure of the passing lane can be done.
Let's see which (if) track is not afraid of their own shadow.