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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Wednesday Notes

Marketing, More Specifically, Marketing What?  Dean over at Pull The Pocket hits it out of the ball park once again on the subject of marketing.  More specifically, what are we marketing (shared this link yesterday) and how to position racing.  The industry needs to decide what standardbred racing is.  Is it entertainment?  Is it gambling?  Is it both (it can be but the emphasis needs to be gambling as it pays the bills)?  However, my question is this, who decides how the sport is marketed?  Does each track go it alone which is expensive and results in a non-unified message, or do we try to put together a unified message through joint marketing?  The logical answer would be joint marketing but the problem is are you going to get racinos to market against their slot machines and/or table games?  Not very likely.  We need to be able to show racinos that horse racing can be a profitable part of their gaming portfolio and not a loss leader (their way to keep a racino). 

See You At Peelers Takes on the Boys:  News comes out that the amazing filly See you at Peelers will be taking on the boys next week in the $307,734 Art Rooney Pace.  Yes, for the owners of See You At Peelers, a half mile specialist (and you need to be if you are going to go undefeated on the NYSS circuit), this is not only a good time to see how she measures up against the boys, but they figure why give up a large pay check they believe is within their reach?  Unfortunately, a lot of owners have no problem leaving money on the table as there is no need for elimination races this week with only six horses entered.  Same thing for the $197,634 Lismore which drew only seven horses.  But after last year, we shouldn't complain; last year the Rooney was raced as a non-wagering event before the evening's wagering card. However, with three of the horses in the Rooney being coupled (common ownership), if the race does get on the wagering card there probably will be Win and Exacta wagering only.

Still Not Soup:  The NJTHA has still not officially signed off on a 71 day, $400,000 daily purse distribution agreement at Monmouth Park for this year.  As a result, no lease has been officially signed at the Meadowlands or Monmouth Park.  I still expect the thoroughbred horsemen to sign off on the reduced schedule, especially since the NJRC has modified Monmouth's schedule to race only on weekends this summer, but with only seven days remaining until June 1, I must confess I would like to see everything finally settled. 

Drivers Make a Pledge:   Meadowlands drivers John Campbell, Brian Sears, Tim Tetrick, Yannick Gingras, Andy Miller, Ron Pierce, David Miller, Mike Lachance, Jim Meittinis, Simon Allard and Steve Smith have released a letter indicating they will be driving regularly at the Meadowlands despite the fact the potential to make more money elsewhere in an effort to help Jeff Gural rebuild the Meadowlands.  It's nice to know the core of the driving colony will be prominent drivers.  Where is the trainer's pledge?  Don't hold your breath waiting for it.

Well, at Least it is a Full Card:  Thursday night's card at the Meadowlands is prime proof we won't be seeing a trainer's pledge to be loyal to the Meadowlands anytime soon.  Three maiden events, a $10,000 claimer, a NW4000L5 contest are among the races being contested Thursday night.  Six of the ten races are for trotters.  Now, I love trotting events more than most people do, but I realize this is not what most people want to see.  However, on the plus side, nine of the ten races have nine or ten horses entered.  Hey, you do what you have to do.  Speaking of that, one way to help improve the product is to get the Meadowlands' races simulcast abroad on a daily basis and have foreign harness racing simulcasted in.  Of course, the biggest impediment to that is having non-standardized past performance information available.  It is essential that a standard be set globally.

Can Someone Explain This to Me?  Racetracks complain about how little money they receive form ADWs for carrying their races.  Yet with the exception of Churchill Downs with their TwinSpires, no other racetrack or group of racetracks has ever decided on operating their own ADW?  Operate it as a non-profit operation where the commission will cover the expense of operating the ADW and the rest of the money would go to the track and horsemen to improve their bottom lines.  Due to anti-trust laws you would have to continue offering your signal to existing ADWs and you would still need to offer rebates to attract bettors to your ADW, but it would be up to each track to decide what they want to offer as a rebate for wagers on their track.  Fear that racetracks would discontinue rebates?  Only if they want to destroy themselves as they would lose the big time gambler.  Instead of complaining about the ADWs, do something about it.

News Item: Jockeys and Trainers Busted on Race Fixing:  Over in England, a group of jockeys, a trainer, and two horse owners who deliberately lost races and profit by making wagers on exchange wagering pools, wagering on their horses to lose.  It shows that authorities can police exchange wagering.  Make no mistake someone is going to try a similar thing in New Jersey when exchange wagering commences.   Authorities need to be viligant and let people know they not only will lose their licenses but will be making appearances in front of juries when the attempt such actions.  

Meadowlands Downs a bomb?  I had recently mentioned a need to rebrand the Meadowlands after the mishandling of the track for the last couple of years to show it is a new day.  My idea of renaming the Meadowlnds as Meadowlands Downs when the new grandstand is built was not appreciated by one of my readers.  If you decided to rename the Meadowlands, what would you suggest?  Let me know. 

If it is Wednesday, it is Time for Thursday Cal-Expo Pick 4 Selections.  Early Pick 4 selection is 1,4/1,7/1,6/6 ($8) and for the late $10,000gtd Pick 4, my selection is: 3/4,5,8/ 3,4,5,6/2,4,8 ($36).

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