The horsemen in New Jersey have finally responded to the Christie transition team's report on racing; a week after it was first discussed here. Why it took so long for the industry to respond puzzles me; perhaps they were trying to get a feel where the Governor stood on this report (after all, this report was only recommendations for the Governor) and wanted to present a united front when they responded. After all, being the Meadowlands is the center of the harness racing world in the United States, what happens in New Jersey likely will domino into other states.
Whether the transition team's report is implemented in full or not, big changes are coming; it is unavoidable. The law of economics always wins out; the subsidy racing has received has only delayed the inevitable; especially when you do nothing to improve your lot. To be fair, racing has been somewhat hampered by being a heavily regulated industry by the individual states. Any type of change they wish to implement needs to be approved by a racing commission and/or legislature; required to race more than they should in an effort to raise income for state governments.
I understand horsemen's desire to keep supplements and VLT revenue flowing. After all, no one wants to take a pay cut, relocate, or have to deal with the unknown; there is comfort in stability. However, the attitude that racing can only survive with assistance means you really don't believe in the product.
Poppycock. Yes, racing missed the boat, losing a generation to other gaming activities by failing to adapt to new technology. People forget at its simplest form, racing is an exciting product. Our problem is we need to give the public what they want from racing, not what we want to give them. Once we accept this fact, racing will be on its way to self sufficiency.
View from the Racetrack Grandstand favorite, Andrew Cohen received an O'Brien award this weekend for an article in Trot Magazine. He had some interesting comments this weekend regarding racing's situation, including the on-going Bulletproof debacle. For those of you who have not yet read the article or seen the interview, it is worth a look.
Harnesslink reports that Auckland Reactor is on his way to the United States for an assault on the all time world record this summer. If all goes to plan he will be arriving in Los Angeles tomorrow and then off to trainer Kelvin Harrison's stable in New Jersey after a three day quarantine. Hopefully, the Reactor will live up to his reputation and become a major story line this summer racing in the FFA ranks.