For photos from the Meadowlands contact

Sunday, November 21, 2010

There is No Sure Thing

The poll question is back.  Today's question is if there is no racing at the Meadowlands, where would you do the majority of your wagering.  I realize you may wager on more than one track, but vote for the one which would get the bulk of your support.

There have been stories regarding the success of cutting takeout.  Some people believe that cutting takeout rates guarantees benefits not only to horseplayers, but track operators and horsemen alike through increased churn.  Well, while in theory this may be the case; reality may be different.  This past year, Tioga Downs cut their takeout rates which certainly benefited horseplayers, but the track and horsemen actually suffered a decline in racing revenue as a result of the cut.  Yes, wagering handle went up, but not enough to compensate for the loss in revenue as a result of the takeout cut.  Of course, with Tioga Downs having slot machines, the revenue received from wagering has little impact on purses so the hit to horsemen and the track was minimal; the thinking there is progressive enough to realize a cut in the takeout is an investment in their future as it takes time to build wagering up.  While a racino can afford such a move, cutting takeout for a non-racino track is a little more risky.  While handle is likely to go up; if the increase is not sufficient, the track and horsemen will be losing out in the short term.  This is not to say horsemen and tracks shouldn't cut takeout rates as in the long run horsemen and tracks will benefit; but there needs to be a realization that cutting takeout does involve risk.  For a non-racino track there is a certain amount of courage involved in reducing takeout; this is one reason such tracks willing to cut their takeout need to be supported by the wagering public.

Apparently, standardbred racing at Prairie Meadows is still alive.  At the November meeting of the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission, throughbred and quarterhorse dates were approved, and standardbred dates are pending.  While Prairie Meadows would love to drop the standardbreds, negotiations for a standardbred meet are still underway.

Kudos to Canadian reinsman Randy Waples.  The leading driver at Woodbine has been making the trek down to Windsor Raceway when Woodbine is dark to race for charity.  Thanks to his generosity, the Windsor Food Bank is a recipient of over $2,600 thanks to Randy's efforts.  No big stakes races, just cheap races and cheap claimers; and I'm sure Randy has better things to do on a Sunday evening.  A lot of our stars could not only help their community but promote the sport by doing similar things.


The_Knight_Sky said...

I like the new layout and thanks for linking back to the Luchento post.

As for the takeout reductions, a long term commitment to it must be made to realize any gains. That said, any racino planning on staying in business as a racetrack would do well to enact a lowered pricing plan.

Pretty soon the proliferation of racinos as the one that is proposed in Catskill County will eat into their gaming revenues. With both gaming and horse racing revenues foundering - what then?

Pacingguy said...

For the record, the Tioga Downs has issued a press release regarding the impact of cutting takeout:

The long and short of it is that Tioga Downs lost money this year but it is an investment over the long run; something non-racino tracks can't easily make. This doesn't mean they shouldn't take the plunge.