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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Nostalgia Time

If you are like me, a person who used to make the ninety minute trek virtually every Sunday to Monticello Raceway for an afternoon of racing, here is a chance to relive some of that nostalgia as Monticello Raceway will be racing on Sunday, December 16

Make no mistake, it will not be the Sunday afternoon of yore, as the grandstand has seen better days and the crowds are likely to be inside on the casino floor, but it is Sunday racing just the same, so if you have a chance it may be worth the trip as these days just don't come around that often anymore.

The lack of regular Sunday racing at Monticello is a sign of times which all tracks face.  The wagering is not occurring at the track; most of the money coming in via simulcasting and ADWs.  While a few tracks are attempting to reverse the trend, for the most part it is not a question of when the most people can get to the track anymore, it is racing when you can get the most outlets for your simulcasting and the least competition.  This is why Monticello will be racing six days straight starting on December 16, to take advantage of NYRA's and others holiday break (the same reason Cal Expo will be racing three days, December 20-22 in the afternoon).  It's also the reason Monticello doesn't race on holidays when NYRA decides to race, there is a finite number of dollars available to wager and sadly, standardbred racing is the ugly stepchild to most gamblers.

Still, while I understand the business case not to race on Sunday afternoons, it would be nice if Monticello threw in a few Sunday afternoons in each year, perhaps a Sunday every two or three months not, just for nostalgia sake but to allow people in the area to be exposed to racing.  After all, you can't expect people to be interested in horse racing if they can't see it live once in a while.

PTP adapts the Eight Things Racing Needs to Do to Get Better for North American racing.  It is something everyone needs to read.  Perhaps most important of the eight items on the list is number six.  Horseplayers and track operators have known it for ages; horsemen groups and breeders still tend not to get it.

Saskatchewan Horsemen Have the Right Idea - The provincial government in Saskatchewan has cut off its financial support to racing in Saskatchewan.  Rest assured the horsemen and racetracks aren't happy about it but rather than kicking and screaming about it, they have come up with a logical solution.  They are asking the province to grant the individual harness tracks Home Market Areas, allowing them to build a network of OTWs, with the hope the industry can generate enough income from the betting sites to make up the funding lost from the province for purses. 


JLB said...

As an owner, I raced horses at Monticello for over 20 years, and, before that, was a regular fan starting in the late 60's. Unfortunately, it seems counterintuitive to urge people to attend the track, since the grandstand is in deteriorating condition. Money has been spent only on the casino, with none of it applied to the racing side.

Like you, I fondly remember Sunday racing, and, indeed, Saturday day/night doubleheaders. These weekends encouraged visitors to stay at local motels and hotels and see 3 cards of racing within 24hours. As an owner, I could come up on Saturday morning, jog a few horses, then have plenty of "action" for the rest of the weekend.

Pacingguy said...

I realize I was being polite when I said the grandstand has seen better days. If any changes are being made in the grandstand, it is likely because the fire marshall has required it.

Admittedly, it has been probably three years since I have been back to the Mighty M, but it is fair to say those who have not been there in years should be prepared to 'rough' it.

To be fair, the track owner is partners in a new development which will include a new harness track in nearby Thompson, NY. This may account for the lack of upkeep in the existing facility.