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Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Gambler is the Pawn... Again.

The USTA is currently in negotiations with Trackmaster and the Daily Racing Form for both to offer standardbred racing programs.  Of course, not being privy to the negotiations, I am not aware of any of the specifics of the negotiations.  However, my guess is it is basically a means to get a wider distribution of harness past performance information to the gambling public.  After all, both the DRF and Trackmaster are both owned by Equibase so Equibase companies would still be the sole distributor of the product.  The only thing is if the DRF was able to sell programs, thoroughbred fans would have one site to get both harness and thoroughbred information and for those still buying the DRF in print, the possibility of certain harness tracks being included in the traditional DRF would exist.  Of course, the format of the program information may differ between the two sources.

Just the same, this proposed deal should not be minimized.  The DRF has recently increased its harness racing coverage and if giving them the right to offer programs further increases their coverage of harness racing, it is a good deal.

Hopefully, what is being included in the negotiations is the right for racetracks to license the program information and be able to offer their programs free online as is done in Canada.  This way, if any racetrack wishes to attract more wagering, they can put their programs online in an effort to stimulate interest in their racing product. 

We will learn more about this once negotiations come to a conclusion.

Meanwhile, while binding arbitration is underway in Maryland over the thoroughbred simulcast dispute which at present keeps Rosecroft from showing thoroughbred races, Rosecroft has felt the need to strike back.  Rosecroft Raceway has informed MRC that they have withdrawn permission for the MJC to take wagers on out of state standardbred signals.  As a result, the Maryland Jockey Club is unable to take wagers through their ADWs and OTB system.  I understand the rationale for that.  If there are gamblers who want to wager on standardbred racing, let them head over to Rosecroft instead of wagering at a MJC facility; let's call it a tit for a tat, after all fair is far.  My answer is with binding arbitration underway, why now take this step?  Yes, the MJC may profit by taking wagers on standardbred races, but why tick standardbred customers off?  For example, TVG has informed MD residents that at present, they can not wager on standardbred races.  I know this is a game being played in the board room, but once again the gambler is the pawn.


Anonymous said...

DRF is only a partner of equibase.

DRF is owned by Arlington Capital Partners (, a Washington, DC-based private equity fund with over $1 billion of committed capital focused on middle market buyout investment opportunities in growth industries including: media and information services, healthcare services, aerospace/defense, business services and outsourcing, and education.

Pacingguy said...

This is what I found on the bottom of a page of the DRF: Copyright © 2011 Daily Racing Form, Inc. and Equibase Company, all rights reserved. From this it would appear that Equibase has some interest in the DRF.

I believe Equibase is the official record keep for the thoroughbred industry, so maybe their relationship is they provide the racing data to the DRF.

However, as you said, the DRF is owned by Arlington Capital Partners.

Anonymous said...

PacingGuy - So you basically are suggesting is that the horsemen, Horsewomen, breeders, and PN in Maryland need to bite our tongue and let MJC and the thoroughbred interest do whatever they want while we do nothing.

Perhaps letting MJC and the thoroughbred interest in MD do whatever they want has put the standardbred industry and Rosecroft in the situation it is in today and is trying to recover from.

Its time for the Standardbred Industry to stand up for themselves in the State of Maryland.

Also our patrons have supported our actions and cause from the very beginning. MJC could careless about the standardbred bettors, they close down at 8pm which as we all know who follow the sport is when harness racing has the most signals.

Pacingguy said...

Anon, Not at all. I think the standardbred horsemen should take action when the need arises, but the time for this should have been during the negotiations, not when it reached binding arbitration. Whatever the arbitrator decides is what will happen.

Other than annoying standardbred gamblers what will this accomplish at this time? No, MJC closes at 8pm, but their phone betting took bets and TVG did as well. Now, they don't take any.

Anonymous said...

PacingGuy - this actually did happen in Negoitations... This started back in August but between MJC & MRC action didn't happen to quickly. We did not go into binding arbitration until October 1ish.

Pacingguy said...

Then I stand corrected, I was made only aware of it just recently as if it just happened.