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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Look Forward, Stop Living in the Past

I must confess, I am sick and tired about hearing how racing at the Meadowlands has declined as well as the complaints about racing not being like the good old days.  What is the sense bemoaning about the good old days?  It is a brand new world in racing and in this world, slots rule when it comes to racing.  Unless the Meadowlands gets slots or the surrounding states were to yank slot revenue from racing, there is nothing the Meadowlands can do in the immediate future about improving the quality of their racing program, short of racing even fewer days or gutting their stakes program.  So there is no sense complaining about the quality of racing; it is what it is, which by the way is a lot better than most tracks in the nation, even those with racinos. 

I also don't understand the complaint about the drivers.  Many of  the top drivers have remained loyal to the Meadowlands but of course, there are those who will go where the money is.  Is this the fault of management?  People complaining how the drivers leave for the big money events elsewhere; that has always happened even when the Meadowlands was the top dog when it came to overnight purses.  Yes, there are unfamiliar drivers at the Meadowlands, isn't that what happened each year when the Meadowlands first began operating when racing secretary Joe DeFrank used to comb tracks to get some of their top drivers to come to the Meadowlands?  Some made it, some didn't. This is not a new phenomenon.  Personally, I look at it as an opportunity for better payoffs.  Here is a chart of the drivers with the highest ROIs.

Tony Morgan1960%
Daryl Bier26278%
Victor Kirby1130%
George Brennan2273%
Harry Landy3252%
Tony Hall3644%
Corey Callahan18143%
Stephen Smith7342%
Dan Noble5019%
Mark Lancaster109%
Yannick Gingras4843%
All the other drivers have a negative ROI. 

Let's take a look at the drivers who have a UDR of at least .200 and ten starts or more:

Driver UDR
Jimmy Takter 0.500
Daryl Bier 0.453
Tony Hall 0.420
Brian Sears 0.335
Yannick Gingras 0.315
Tim Tetrick 0.289
Bret Holland 0.285
David Miller 0.265
Trond Smedshammer 0.250
Ron Pierce  0.241
James Morrill 0.236
Corey Callahan 0.229
George Brennan 0.227
Mike Lachance 0.227
Andy Miller 0.227
Mark Lancaster 0.222
Dan Noble 0.207
Out of the seventeen drivers with a UDR of .200 or better with at least ten starts, five of the drivers (Daryl Bier, Tony Hall, Bret Holland, Mark Lancaster, and Dan Noble) can be considered 'newcomers'.  The point is some of these 'non-Meadowlands' drivers make things interesting for the horseplayer, and potentially profitable.  Also, while the cast of drivers has changed, this is nothing new for the Meadowlands. 
There is no sense worrying about the past; the future is what counts.  Embrace the current product for what it is and look ahead.  The new grandstand, the new ideas to get more people in the track, and a crack team working on getting the betting handle up.  The handle didn't get to the level it is overnight, it is going to take time to build it up once again.
There is loyalty to the Meadowlands by at least one driver. Tonight Yannick Gingras will be driving in the first two races at Yonkers Raceway in NYSS events but instead of deciding to spend the night at Yonkers to take advantage of the more lucrative purses at the Westchester oval, he is making the infamous Yonkers-East Rutherford commute to resume driving at the Meadowlands card starting with their fifth race.


JLB said...

Couldn't agree more with your commentary about complaints. While it is said that serious gamblers prefer to wager on "name" drivers, the fact that there are new names of varying abilities should encourage good handicappers, as this can only add value to proper selections. In addition, drivers risk their lives for a 5 % commission-they certainly should be accorded the right to drive when and where they wish.
Finally, I understand the opportunity to call a race at Goshen on Monday, July 2, is still open (in exchange for a $ 100 charitable contribution). I think you would be a fine choice !

Pacingguy said...

Thanks for the ringing endorsement, but trust me, the only way I would call a race is if there is two horses race and no one in the stands.