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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Saga of Vinnie and Other Things

Let's start off with some good news first:

For those who think they know all about horse training, here is a little video from our friends at ATG which will may have you scratching your head (make sure you have subtitles on as they are in English).

Actually, the video is about it being more fun to wager with friends and is the fifth episode about Vinnie the horse.  You can see the previous episodes here.  One thing about ATG, they have great commercials.

In a two-part series, Thoroughbred Racing Commentary talks how failure to update the Interstate Horse Act (IHA) of 1978 has allowed ADWs to grow to the detriment of mainstream racing.  Part 1 and Part 2 of the series is available here.  The article basically discusses how the IHA has basically remained unchanged, prior to the the advent of ADWs.  Horsemen and tracks initially agreed to the low return under the now proven wrong expectation that money wagered at ADWs would be from new customers; instead existing customers migrated to ADWs.

The problem according to the article, tracks have finally wondered why should independent ADWs (think TVG) manage to earn great profits while tracks receive a pittance?  As a result, many tracks have formed their own ADWs which allows the tracks to profit.  Thanks to this profit, they are allowed to offer great rebates which results in an outflow of customers from ADWs which threatens the existence of these independent ADWs.  The problem is tracks are the beneficiary of the lion share of the proifts with horsemen still receiving the pittance they receive from wagers at independent ADWs.

The IHA may need to be updated but there should be a right for horsemen to shut down track-operated ADWs unless a large portion of the commission is paid to horsemen.  I am not saying track operators shouldn't earn more than the horsemen, but it shouldn't be at the ratios currently used.

In something which should give horsemen of all breeds some concern, West Virginia is looking at the possibility of getting out of the greyhound racing business by cutting off breeders awards and purse subsidies.  The handle on greyhound racing has gotten so small, that many in the state are realizing investing in greyhound racing is a losing bet.

Meanwhile, in Florida, the effort to 'de-couple' greyhound racing from slots has resumed, armed with a damning report about greyhound racing by the groups Greyhound2K USA and the ASPCA. The report is pretty damning of the Greyhound industry.  While the report makes the industry look bad, don't think for one moment that tracks are looking to get out of the racing business and in many states track operators and Greyhound2K have what can best be defined as detente.

My endorsement yesterday has generated interesting discussion on Facebook and I am more convinced than ever this upcoming election will be more a referendum on Jeff Gural than anything else. 

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