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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Time to Retire Back to the Track?

Here we are, about ten days before this year's edition of Back to the Track (BTTT), which runs from July 6 through July 7.  I have to wonder if it is time to retire this program in lieu of something new; it seems fatigue has set in.  For example:

  • This year there is no national Pick X wagering bet being offered,
  • In the past some tracks worked together to offer wagers involving both tracks.
  • Monticello Raceway had a special race card in the past so they could be part of Back to the Track (admittedly, it may have last been a couple of years ago).
  • There is no centralized promotion such as the year they awarded trips to the Little Brown Jug at each track.
  • It appears each track was left to do their own thing this year.  Perhaps that was the way it has been in the past but some tracks seem to be taking BTTT  more seriously than others who are giving it short shift.  The following ratings are subjective, based not only on what they are doing but what I felt they could be doing considering their size.  Fair tracks are not included in the ratings.
    • A gold star goes to Buffalo Raceway, Balmoral Park,  Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, Saratoga Raceway, Scioto Downs, Tioga Downs, and Vernon Downs for taking BTTT seriously.
    • A silver star goes to Maywood Park, Meadowlands, Scarborough Downs, Raceway Park 
    • A bronze star goes to Running Aces
    • No stars are awarded to Bangor Raceway, Harrah's Philadelphia, Hazel Park (has nothing to do with the fact they changed their dates for the promotion), Hoosier Park, and The Meadows; these tracks seem to be going through the motions. 
    • A Bronx Jeer goes to Ocean Downs which is awarding prizes of slot dollars.  Really, slot dollars?  I think they thought it is Back to the Casino.
    • An Incomplete gets awarded to Pompano Park.  While they are racing only on Saturday, there are no promotions listed; are they participating?
    • The MIA award goes to Players Bluegrass Downs and Yonkers Raceway which apparently have decided not to participate.

I know marketing dollars are tight for some tracks which may limit their level of participation but if there is going to be some industry-wide promotion, then there should be some minimum standard, perhaps some promotional activity that every track must participate in.  Why not a drawing to the Red Mile for Kentucky Futurity Day awarded to at every track with a grand price to see either the Prix d'Amerique or Elitlopp the following year being awarded to one person nationally?  Why not a national Pick-4 where the commission is donated to horse rescue or a charity like the American Cancer society?  How about giving one person at each track a percentage of a horse's earnings for the next year; not a local horse but one top horse on the national level?  It's all about branding the event.

If we are unable to brand Back to the Track, perhaps it is time to move on to the next promotion attempt.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Maybe instead of "Back To The Track", the industry needs to promote a "Back To The Windows" program. Getting more "fans" would be nice, but getting more PLAYERS is what is needed.