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Saturday, January 18, 2014

The Foreign Legion of Harness Racing Draws a Good Handle

Cal Expo gets no respect in the harness racing world.  This, as one of our contributors called 'The Foreign Legion of Harness Racing', is no doubt an outpost where the quality of racing certainly is lacking.  Let's face it, shipping out to a track which races twice a week is not desirable.

Yet people are wagering on their product.  Last night, the handle at Cal Expo was $984,063, just shy of a million dollars.  Granted the vast majority is out of state funds which means the purse account remains low but there is interest in their product, as cheap the quality may be.  How many tracks would die for a handle this size?

How can this be?  First of all, quality is not everything.  Full, competitive fields is what gamblers want.  One can't dismiss the fact they are a West Coast track.  Try to find a track racing after 11:30 pm and Cal Expo is all there is unless you like the Quarter horses in which case Los Alamitos is an option.  Getting air time on TVG is also a help.  But perhaps the biggest benefit is the reduced takeout on the Pick-4 and Pick-5 with guaranteed pools.

It amazes me that some tracks don't get the idea of that paying to get on TVG or another racing channel makes sense.  As much as gamblers can get their race signals over the Internet, the fact is television still does get more exposure for racing.  Yet on slow nights you don't see many harness racing tracks taking advantage of the availability to buy face time.  Same with guaranteed pools and reduced takeouts.  Tracks need to take advantage of the tools they have available which gain the interest of gamblers.  Yet, some don't.

These tracks need to get with the program before they end up being 'The Foreign Legion of Harness Racing'.

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