Today, The Jockey Club's bus will be at The Red Mile featuring the motif of America's Best Racing. Granted, they are at The Red Mile because there is a meeting of thoroughbred farm managers in Kentucky being held there, but there it will be; at the door step of one of harness racing's most recognizable tracks, a promotion for thoroughbred racing.
The bus is part of The Jockey Club's $5 million marketing campaign aimed at attracting younger gamblers towards horse racing. I applaud the JC for attempting to get younger people interested in horse racing. But what is harness racing doing to attract the younger generation? Granted, there is no way the standardbred community can launch a $5 million campaign; a $1 million campaign is probably out of the question, but to do nothing is inexcusable.
I am not suggesting having a touring bus featuring a harness racing motif going around the country, but there has to be a way to expose younger people to harness racing. How about developing a website using historical races where people can place fictional wagers on them? Let them win prizes which players can collect at their local racetrack (perhaps dinner for two?) or send them during the summer an invitation to come to a BBQ at their local harness track only for them and a guest? How about local tracks having festival-type events geared towards younger people? Have (young) family members of local horsemen act as ambassadors to answer questions and explain things to younger patrons? These are things which cost money, but are relatively low cost options. Do something; something has to be done.
The Auditor General will review the OLG's decision to end the SARP program and to see if there was an impropriety involved. While I don't expect to see the SARP program to be resuscitated in the current form, a finding of the Auditor General may get the casinos placed at racetracks.
Here is a new one. Indiana is considering diverting $10 million from slot money which would be used to supplement purses and use it to improve auto racing facilities. The money to be used to improve auto racing would actually be a loan but rest assured any repayments will not be returned to horse racing purse accounts. The rationale? Very similar to horse racing, the economic benefit to the state auto racing has.