For photos from the Meadowlands contact

Monday, May 6, 2013

Things that Rankle Harness Racing Fans

I am sure we all have our pet peeves, but there are some of peeves which irk the harness racing fan big time.  You know, the ones that make them want to scream.  For example:

New Fans, Who Needs New Fans?
It annoys the heck out of the harness racing fan when they hear some people in harness racing suggest it is better to let slot players be instead of trying to convert them to horse racing (Note:  This is not Ivan Axelrod saying this, he is relaying what others are saying).  What is the rationale?  Purses would likely do better with the gambler playing slots than they would do if that person was to turn to the horses.

To be fair, these people are not saying don't attract new horseplayers, but it certainly rankles the harness racing fan when they hear this mentality for it suggests what the fan already thought; horsemen (and track operators) just care about the short term and don't care about the long term consequences.  However, logic suggests racing would do better in the long run if it worried more about developing new fans from anywhere it can, even if in the short term it meant lower revenues.

It's Post Time, Time to Grab a Hot Dog
Do I really need to go into this one?  What is post time?  It used to be when a race would go off (or admittedly at many tracks, a two minute warning).  Now, it can be when the horses come out to the track to warm up, it can mean five to ten minutes till the race starts, it can also be the time the mutuel manager watches to see when virtually every last dollar that can be bet on the race is bet.  Whichever definition you choose, if you are at the track go ahead and get your hot dog.  Unless it is a rare stakes night, you will be back in your seat in plenty of time for the race to go off.  In the meanwhile, people will continue to complain one of the problems with horse racing is it takes too long to complete a race card.

When Did I End Up in a Third World Racetrack?
Scioto Downs and a few other tracks are excused from this category.  You show up at your local racino and you walk through the beautifully appointed casino to bet the races and all of a sudden you wonder where the heck you are, Oriental Park Racetrack?  Okay, that may be a bit extreme, but you know what I am talking about?  A run down facility, snack stands closed, few tellers, a coat of paint being considered a capital improvement.  Talk about being a second class citizen.  You have to be a real racing fan to subject yourself to such abuse.  Odds are you are going to the casino or will be playing from home where everyone will complain how little the track makes from your wager.

I know, this is the gaming companies running a cost analysis and deciding racing doesn't pay so why put money into the track?  Well, the same applies for non-racino tracks.  You will complain how few people show up but you won't do anything about it.  It takes money to make money.  If you aren't willing to make the capital expenditures, consider seeking a partnership with someone who will.

Harness Racing is Stronger Than Ever?
Huh?  What racing are the horsemen watching?  Small pools where $10 can sink the odds?  The two hundred people showing up at the track to watch the races?  No doubt horsemen and racetracks are prospering (if a racino), but it is propped up on government largesse.  Take a look at Ontario and see what happens when someone kicks the chair out from under racing.  How strong is racing really?

Too Much Money is Being Bet through ADWs
Yes, racing let the ADWs get in the racing game and pay a much smaller fee for the product.  You will also hear racetrack executives complain how a $1 million can be bet via ADWs and they make only $30,000 for the evening (to be split between horsemen and operators).  Stop whining about it and do something.  Why aren't racetracks working together in an effort to recoup the gambling lost to ADWs by forming your own ADW.  Work with other tracks and form a partnership to compete against ADWs.  At least then, while you may not get as much money as you would with betting through your own windows, you will get more money if the ADW is owned by a consortium of tracks.  Yet no one makes any such move.

No comments: