Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Bob Zanakis wrote a Letter to the Editor of a local newspaper bemoaning when The Meadows races; as if it doesn't want the business such as racing on Monday and Tuesday afternoons. But the last straw which broke Zanakis' back was the fact on Kentucky Derby day, there was no live racing at the track. The day where the track was probably the busiest and there was no live racing. Even Harrah's Philadelphia raced on Derby day. Unfortunately, this problem doesn't just exist at the Meadows; other tracks race during the day as well as avoiding weekends and holidays. Not having the specifics, I can't comment on The Meadows reason, but some tracks which depend on simulcasting dollars for their purses account race when they can get satellite time; in other words, the path of least resistance. Yes, your on-track handle may not be great but if you don't try to get people intersted in racing by racing at wierd times, the problem will never have a chance to be addressed.
Donna Smith wrote a column on Winners Wire, regarding the deaths of two standardbreds due to alleged improper medicating and how the trainers continue to ply their trade. Smith also talks about the problem of beards racing the trainer's horses. The interesting point Ms. Smith makes is it is up to the gambler to demand racing deal with these issues more forcefully.
I also found an interesting article written by Ken Terpenning on Harnesslink. regarding a subject very dear to me, horse welfare. Mr. Terpenning wrote this article after finding out one of his horses ended up in a Canadian slaughterhouse. Terpenning is spot on where he says horse welfare is everyone's responsibility in racing.
Chantal Uncovered - In a recent edition of Vanity Fair, there is a brief article discussing jockey Chantal Sutherland and along with this article, there is a picture of Sutherland naked on a horse (I'll let you find the picture on your own); it was tastefully done. Obviously, this is a case of Ms. Sutherland promoting herself and if she is comfortable with it, good for her. However, when I have said in the past racing needs to get more women in the sulky to get more women (and yes, Men) interested in the sport, I was certainly not thinking of promoting it this way, but there is a limit.
Ontario Doings - Due to the current situation in Ontario, the nominating fees for the OnSS has been extended from the original May 15 date; the exact deadline is still to be determined. By the end of this week, the OnSS and ORC should have a better idea regarding the future of it. In the meanwhile, the OHRIA has put out a video regarding the Value of the Ontario Horse Racing Industry (thanks to PullthePocket for drawing my attention to it. When I watched the video, it made me wonder WHAT IF? What if a video like this was made and promoted throughout the province before the Liberals made their decision? Would the outcome have been different? We will never know. All I can say is it is better to act than react.
Speaking of Ontario, could the answer to the threat to racing in the province be resurrecting the Canada One concept? This time, instead of thinking nationally, start with the remaining 'B' and 'C' tracks in Ontario and develop a brand to market Ontario harness racing in the Northern Hemisphere and globally. Is it possible this concept can provide tracks and horsemen with the revenue they need to at least keep operating and mitigate the damage the government may be causing? Perhaps it would; perhaps it won't. I would think at a minimum, someone should dust off the Canada One folder and take a look at it once again under the current situation.
Speaking of Marketing - It is hard to believe there are racetracks out there without a publicity department; to promote horse racing. One such track is Freehold Raceway. It seems every article concerning Freehold of late comes from the SBOANJ, not from the track itself. As for Harrah's Philadelphia, they have marketing but nothing related to racing (but then, they seem to like keeping it their own best kept secret). At least other racino tracks like Monticello Raceway, Pompano Park, Tioga Downs, Vernon Downs, and Yonkers Raceway, still turn out articles concerning racing. I understand tracks have to cut expenses and it is hard to get articles picked up, but eliminating publicity is only going to hurt yourself. I am not saying struggling tracks need to have a full time publicity director; perhaps tracks can hire publicists per-diem, share an employee with another track as is done in some areas, or even include publicity as part of your marketing department..