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Wednesday, December 21, 2016

What I'd Like For Christmas

Dear Santa,

Yes, I know I am late with my list this year, but you are Santa Claus. how much time do you really need to get me these things?

What?  Yes, it is harness racing  I know things don't get done quickly in the industry.  Okay, I am an adult, how about getting it done before Christmas of 2017?  You'll try?  Great.  Well, in this case, here is my wish list for harness racing (in no particular order).

  1. Reduced takeout - I know I ask for this every year but one day they are bound to listen.  I am not asking for a 5% takeout, but something more reasonable than current rates.
  2. Hand the racetracks a dictionary of wagering terms - Highlight the meaning of the term 'post time' and strike out the term 'post crawl'.  While you are at it, can you whisper in their ear a suggestion to assign a time for each race and list it as '1st (19:15) Race' and adhere to it?  Sure, they can coordinate post times but it does no good if races don't go off at the stated time.
  3. Distance racing - I like it and it makes for larger payoffs.  While you are at it, please give the USTA the wisdom to approve the proposal for mile rates.
  4. Tracks allowing exchange wagering - Hey, it's a great way to play the horses.  Why not allow your signal to be used for exchange wagering, if only because you will get two times the commission you get for regular wagering.  While you are at it, maybe get states to consider allowing exchange wagering in-state?
  5. Develop racing networks -  Here is a great example for one.  How about a Meadowlands, Tioga Downs, Vernon Downs racing network?  Post times would be coordinated so races would take place every five minutes.  You would have racing analysts located in studio with reporters at each track to report and conduct interviews at the individual tracks.  
  6. Free programs in the United States - I am not saying give away enhanced racing programs but there is no reason why tracks shouldn't be allowed to offer for free your grandfather's racing program.
  7. Foreign wagering - I want to be able to play the standardbreds when there is no live domestic racing.  Can we get racing from Australasia and Europe to wager on in North America?
  8. New wagers for the regular guy - Yes, churn-dwindling wagers are all the rage but in the long term, they are hurting the game.  How about some new wagers for the regular guy?  No, it may not be a life changing payout, but it will be a nice payout considering the amount a horseplayer will need to wager to have a reasonable chance to win.
  9. Eliminate show wagering - While you are at it, let's eliminate show wagering and modify place wagering where it pays the top three finishers if seven or more horses race; the top two finishers if six or less starters.
  10. Courageous track operators who establish and/or expand their own ADWs nationally to compete against the big ones - After all, tracks talk about not getting a fair cut from the existing ADWs, but nothing is going to change unless they do something; just willing a change in rates is not going to cut it.  If the track operators don't want to go 'all in'?  Fine, help them form partnerships with other racetracks.
  11. While we are talking about ADWs, can you work on eliminating state laws which grant monopolies for ADW wagering within their borders?  Let bettors choose a licensed ADW which meets their particular needs (rebates, tracks covered, etc.) and let ADWs compete for my support.  Good ol' American competition.
  12. An exclusion policy at the Meadowlands which is black and white, administered so know one can question its propriety.
  13. Track operators who realize racing their own stock in overnights at their own tracks really isn't in their long-term interest.  There are plenty of other tracks to race at, race there.
  14.  More support for racing under saddle. - It really can complement traditional racing, but only if it gets support from horsemen and owners.  
  15. Drivers getting in the saddle - There is no reason why drivers can't race under saddle.  Tell those drivers who give it a go to tell those who tease them about competing against 'a bunch of women' that those women have more courage than the razzers have.  That should shut them up.
  16. A new USTA President - There will be a new USTA President elected this February in Las Vegas.  May the winning candidate have the mandate and ability to make some courageous changes and get the support of the membership.  BTW, thanks for having three candidates with diverse backgrounds running for the office; after all, it is a thankless job so having people step up and run says a lot about them.
  17. Another great campaign for Wiggle It Jiggleit.  The sport needs a horse like him and he lives up to the hype.
  18. More amateur racing - The Meadowlands has shown amateur racing is acceptable.  The key is getting these drivers exposure.  You can't expect gamblers to support amateur racing if the drivers make an appearance once or twice a year.  Having them race regularly gives gamblers the confidence they need to wager.
  19. World Peace - Hey, it's not like I am asking for the end to the Faraldo-Gural feud.
  20. Coordinated racing schedules where tracks schedule racing days to maximize the available horse population.  Hmmm, maybe ending the Faraldo-Gural feud is easier.


Blaine said...

Slots at every racetrack so pari-mutuel wagering can compete with electronic device gaming and that the playing field can truly be level...

Anonymous said...

Blaine - how about LESS slot tracks, so the "weak sisters" can be weeded out, and the GAME itself can survive? We need to REDUCE the number of tracks (and number of races) so that racing "get healthy". Having a zillion tracks handling NO money just isn't a sustainable business model.