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Author Topic: Where are we going?  (Read 1557 times)
APCD Dan
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« on: September 22, 2010, 02:18:57 PM »

I really do not want to bring up the old topic of the future of horse racing, but I get tired of the Ztards vs the Rachelroids battles that seem to make their way into every thread.

I would like to throw out some points for consideration.

1.  The pool of horse handicappers is small and getting smaller.  First, we lost the straight gamblers to the lottery and casinos.  Now, the younger people who would be handicappers are going to football betting, fantasy leagues, and poker.  There are not enough of us dedicated handicappers and future handicappers to make up a profitable market for the future.

2.  Look at the track web sites.  Any track that has slots will have a home page full of casino pictures showing people having fun gambling under the bright lights of the casino.  If you look hard enough, you will see a link for "and horse racing" toward the bottom of the page.

3.  As I have mentioned before, Churchill Downs, the premier traditional track operator has spent 138 million on a small casino to get their foot more into the mainstream of the gaming industry.  They are trying to join the brotherhood of pure casino operators.  Except for the Derby, I see horse racing being downgraded in that operation.

4.  Alternative entertainment venues for the tracks.  Churchill is pushing this more and more at their home base with their festivals and concerts.  Arlington is going with the Idol winner as the big last promotion.  Just look at their web site to see that there is not a push on the last week of the racing season, just a big concert promotion.  Entertainment at the tracks is not really working out that well either.

5.  I do not see any type of marketing really doing the job for racing.  Maybe the short, elite meets will work, but what will you do with the expensive racetrack property the rest of the year.  Forget lower takeout, most people don't give a damn about that.  The push to entice families experiment has had 20 years to build upon at Arlington and has not helped, except to slow the decline of attendance.

6.  Mike Campbell thinks we have been promised slots by the politians and they will deliver after the elections.  Both candidates for Governor have been avoiding answering this question like the plague.  You can find vague answers about gambling not being the answer to the state's debt problem, but you will not find any endorsement from either candidate.

7.  Unfortunately, the horse has not been the center of the horse industry.  I believe if we had horse heros to follow again, we may gather some strength, at least from females.  But such things as breeding for speed, not only on the track, but speed to the breeding shed have made horse legends invisible and nothing but numbers.

8.  Drugs in racing have not helped, but I do not think they affect opinion as much as we think.  With the micro testing going on right now, I do not see that as that great of a negative factor for the general public and bettors.

9  The lack of a national racing authority and uniform racing rules around the country is hurting badly.  I do not know if that would save racing, but it would sure help its survival chances.

Every so often, I have to vent on my view of the bigger picture.  Right now I see racing as vacation destinations to a few tracks if you want to see and bet live or setting at your computer viewing and betting from the various racing platforms.  We will be lucky if that situation is what we have left to us.  Sorry for taking up your time.

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fuzzypants
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« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2010, 02:49:26 PM »

Dan this is an excellent post and as a owner and a great passion for this sport I will just keep on trying to do the best I can always for my horse.
I would love to see a one governing board in all types of racing.
I would love to see better retirement for these wonderfull animals.
I would also like to see all drugs band.
I would also like to see all whips band.
I would also like to see off shore wagering band.
I would also like to see all OTB betting in one pool.
I would also like to see bad characters band permanently from racing.
I would like to see all owners and trainers and Jockeys be an ambassador for the sport.
I want to see racing stand on its own.
I would also want fans that appreciate what owners and trainers produce for their wagering choices.

I am just a small time owner with a big dream.
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sporthorse
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« Reply #2 on: September 22, 2010, 03:16:36 PM »

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Great post Dan and Im in total agreement with a lot of what you say.
The vast majority of the gambling public is not interested at handicapping a race trying to predict the outcome and wagering . They would much rather pull a handle, have a hand dealt to them or get into a football pool rather than use their brains. Handicapping the races is an art. It is for the thinking person and for the lover of the sport.
Uniformity of drugs in racing is essential and there is no denying that those that have crossed the line have given the sport a black eye.
To think that we can race in a "drug free" environment in the world of racing is a fallacy. There are trainers out there who do nothing but try to stay one step ahead of the test barn.
Even the great horses of old were "treated". Dont ever kid yourselves into thinking that those horses werent given pain killers,steroids, etc. to keep up with their grueling schedules. Yes the old fashioned "ice and rubbing" were used but even the old timers always found ways to enhance the performance of those horses.
Zero tolerance is one of the last nails in the coffin for the horse racing industry. Im not endorsing the use of the chem lab but I am in favor of uniform policies of the use of anti inflammatories, pulmonary enhancers and holistic medications.
Pre race and post race testing needs to be done to insure everyone is on the same playing field.
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NYRA 792
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« Reply #3 on: September 22, 2010, 03:24:30 PM »

" Turn out the lights, the party's over"  Don Meredith
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pamwaggy
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« Reply #4 on: September 22, 2010, 03:27:59 PM »

This thread makes such good sense.  There wasn't one sentence I didn't agree with.  

And all said without anger.  
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fuzzypants
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« Reply #5 on: September 22, 2010, 03:45:33 PM »

I do agree sport they will never stop the drug use in horses but you would see better training practices and you would see so many of the trainers with a chemistry set run out of the buisness.
The old timers used a lot of crap that is still used to day only because of them they have a test for it. Now the knew stuff they will develop a test also just time.
So what I would like to see is some sort of Dna screen kept so when the test comes out show the world what sorry SOB they are.
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sporthorse
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« Reply #6 on: September 22, 2010, 03:56:27 PM »

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What I would like to see is a uniform policy in racing. If a trainer uses Lasix,adjunct bleeder meds, bute,banamine,clenbutoral they must submit at time of entry that the horse will be racing with these medications. They must be within a certain level and should they go over or be found to have a drug in them they did not claim then be subjected to serious penalty.The information of meds used can then be passed on to the bettor the same way they are informed of blinkers, wraps, etc.
There are a few professional marathon runners I know and even they are allowed to ice their shins and take 800 mg ibuprofin before they compete.
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OTB
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« Reply #7 on: September 22, 2010, 04:10:22 PM »

The slots/casino issue to me is the most important one facing the sport.  Even more so than drugs.  I can't think of one track operator out there that is truly interested in running strictly a horse race meet.  They all know that the future profits are with slots and they all know that the overhead associated with slots is a fraction of what live racing costs.

Any smart businessman would look in this direction....does it make it right or is it what the fans and horsemen want??  Of course not but with the politicians involved the backroom deals can't be far behind.  The boost that slots gave will soon evaporate because track operators WANT to become casino operators.
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swoopdaddy
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« Reply #8 on: September 22, 2010, 04:12:03 PM »

who pays for this extensive testing?   how do you test for something when there are thousands of new aids drugs, new synthetic cancer drugs for pain that are developed every year. by the time you figure out what it is, a new group of blood enhancers and pain killers are already being developed. it takes years for these drugs to get fda approval. you cant test for something if you dint know what it is.  it all comes down to money. money for testing, money for the owners of the tracks, money for the owners of the horses. do you increase the take out for drug testing? cant see that it already way too high. the track foot the bill, cant see the track itself cutting into its own profits or increasing its already mounting losses. maybe the owners would pay out of their own purses account millions it would take to develop tests that are obsolete in a year. its easy to say zero tolerance. actually putting it in place is  an entirely different story.
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sporthorse
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« Reply #9 on: September 22, 2010, 04:30:02 PM »

who pays for this extensive testing?   how do you test for something when there are thousands of new aids drugs, new synthetic cancer drugs for pain that are developed every year. by the time you figure out what it is, a new group of blood enhancers and pain killers are already being developed. it takes years for these drugs to get fda approval. you cant test for something if you dint know what it is.  it all comes down to money. money for testing, money for the owners of the tracks, money for the owners of the horses. do you increase the take out for drug testing? cant see that it already way too high. the track foot the bill, cant see the track itself cutting into its own profits or increasing its already mounting losses. maybe the owners would pay out of their own purses account millions it would take to develop tests that are obsolete in a year. its easy to say zero tolerance. actually putting it in place is  an entirely different story.
                                               horse
Thats my point Swoop. The cheaters are always going to cheat. Those racing at higher levels will have the money to cheat that much more.
So I say level the field and allow certain drugs to be used on race day. If someone gets caught they will be subjected to serious penalties and possible termination of their license.
In all reality the testing facilities will never be able to keep up with the drug evolution in racing. With a uniform policy it might just level the field.
Take a look at Pletcher , for example. He wins races everywhere and yet his record at the big races (KD, Breeders Cup, etc,) is less than admirable. Its because they pre race test and post race test.
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CLOCKERTERRY
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« Reply #10 on: September 22, 2010, 04:36:01 PM »

Take a look at Pletcher , for example. He wins races everywhere and yet his record at the big races (KD, Breeders Cup, etc,) is less than admirable. Its because they pre race test and post race test.

Either that, or at the highest level, he's not the only one who can afford the most expensive veterinary "help".  Wink
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swoopdaddy
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« Reply #11 on: September 22, 2010, 04:51:40 PM »

Either that, or at the highest level, he's not the only one who can afford the most expensive veterinary "help".  Wink
a pre race doesn't need to be expensive. whats a box of arm and hammer cost? the problems come with, if a little is good a lot must be better,  attitude and abuse occurs to the detriment of the animal. 
« Last Edit: September 22, 2010, 04:54:22 PM by swoopdaddy » Report to moderator   Logged
ZENYATTA
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« Reply #12 on: September 22, 2010, 05:04:18 PM »

Dan this is an excellent post and as a owner and a great passion for this sport I will just keep on trying to do the best I can always for my horse.
I would love to see a one governing board in all types of racing.
I would love to see better retirement for these wonderfull animals.
I would also like to see all drugs band.
I would also like to see all whips band.
I would also like to see off shore wagering band.
I would also like to see all OTB betting in one pool.
I would also like to see bad characters band permanently from racing.
I would like to see all owners and trainers and Jockeys be an ambassador for the sport.
I want to see racing stand on its own.
I would also want fans that appreciate what owners and trainers produce for their wagering choices.

I am just a small time owner with a big dream.


How about owners and trainers who appreciate the fans / bettors ?
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ZENYATTA
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« Reply #13 on: September 22, 2010, 05:09:53 PM »

ZERO TOLERANCE FOR DRUGS ON RACE DAY.

There are plenty of horses around the world who never race on lasix until they come for the BC.

Harness racing does not allow it to be used during the biggest trot race in the world " The Hambletonian."
How can they survive and tbreds can't ? Don't give me cuz the tbreds  race faster.
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fuzzypants
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« Reply #14 on: September 22, 2010, 05:13:34 PM »

How about owners and trainers who appreciate the fans / bettors ?

Right on Trosse ! trophy trophy trophy trophy

ZERO TOLERANCE FOR DRUGS ON RACE DAY.

There are plenty of horses around the world who never race on lasix until they come for the BC.

Harness racing does not allow it to be used during the biggest trot race in the world " The Hambletonian."
How can they survive and tbreds can't ? Don't give me cuz the tbreds  race faster.
ZERO TOLERANCE FOR DRUGS ON RACE DAY.

There are plenty of horses around the world who never race on lasix until they come for the BC.

Harness racing does not allow it to be used during the biggest trot race in the world " The Hambletonian."
How can they survive and tbreds can't ? Don't give me cuz the tbreds  race faster.

Yeh and how many times do you see the vet at all the barns race day?Huh
All you have to do to handicap from the backstretch with harness is see what vet is going to what barn and then see what trainer has what horse in from that barn.
I sure wish the fans and bettors were privy to that info!
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swoopdaddy
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« Reply #15 on: September 22, 2010, 05:18:05 PM »

out east in harness racing the backstretch is a thing of the past. no barn area at freehold, no barn area at chester. very few of the bigger stables, stable at the meadowlands. why do you think all the top stables are on farms and not at the track with security walkin around? must be the paddocks. the t breds are headed this way also.
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sporthorse
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« Reply #16 on: September 22, 2010, 05:30:29 PM »

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My very first experiences began with the harness horses. Dont even go there about the purity about the harness industry. Who do you think invented the idea of the "milkshake"?
As I said "ZERO TOLERANCE" is merely a banner that these people are waving around to have it appear as tho everyone is gonna drop their syringes at the mere mention.
Ironically, some of these crusaders for zero tolerance were some of the worst partakers.
Why is it at some of the larger more prestigious barns you can see the vet there at 4 am on any given morning? Is he taking temps?
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sporthorse
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« Reply #17 on: September 22, 2010, 05:42:17 PM »

ZERO TOLERANCE FOR DRUGS ON RACE DAY.

There are plenty of horses around the world who never race on lasix until they come for the BC.

Harness racing does not allow it to be used during the biggest trot race in the world " The Hambletonian."
How can they survive and tbreds can't ? Don't give me cuz the tbreds  race faster.
                                                    horse
The europeans may not use salix for bleeding. They do, however, use other forms of chemistry be it holistic or chemical to help a horse breath better.
Also take notice several horses coming from Europe opt to run on Lasix....
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swoopdaddy
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« Reply #18 on: September 22, 2010, 05:45:53 PM »

i worked at santa anita and one reason vets were there that early was to give lasix to horses working that day. i was there that early and so were the vets. then it was 40 bucks a lasix shot. id be there early too for that price. on a farm i can give my own lasix for about 2 dollars.
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bjchapin1
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« Reply #19 on: September 22, 2010, 09:33:12 PM »

I understand all of the drug talk and agree with it...however ALL sports are dealing with PED issues. In the long run, that's not horse racing's biggest problem. You can have the cleanest races in the world and will go out of business without customers.

In my mind, the industry needs to focus on facilities to be able to sustain long-term. New fans are not generated by ADW accounts, casino subsities, polytrack vs dirt, or drug issues. New fans are generated by having a fun afternoon at the track, in a clean and comfortable facility, one you can bring the whole family to. I got hooked on the game by going to places in my youth like the new AP, KEE, and the WI and IA dog tracks (which were brand-new and very nice). Too many tracks are decaying. You need to get a younger fan base hooked on the game first, then you can worry about all the industry-specific issues.
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swoopdaddy
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« Reply #20 on: September 22, 2010, 09:43:01 PM »

I understand all of the drug talk and agree with it...however ALL sports are dealing with PED issues. In the long run, that's not horse racing's biggest problem. You can have the cleanest races in the world and will go out of business without customers.

In my mind, the industry needs to focus on facilities to be able to sustain long-term. New fans are not generated by ADW accounts, casino subsities, polytrack vs dirt, or drug issues. New fans are generated by having a fun afternoon at the track, in a clean and comfortable facility, one you can bring the whole family to. I got hooked on the game by going to places in my youth like the new AP, KEE, and the WI and IA dog tracks (which were brand-new and very nice). Too many tracks are decaying. You need to get a younger fan base hooked on the game first, then you can worry about all the industry-specific issues.
without integrity within the product itself, it doesnt matter what kind of a facility you have. if the public preception is one of not being on the level their entertainment dollar will go elsewhere. its all about integrity. casinos tell you the odds before you put your money down, you know the edge is with the house but you put down your money and take your shot because the game itself is on the up and up.  the public cannot put the same confidence in horse racing. its all in the perception of the product and its integrity.
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« Reply #21 on: September 22, 2010, 09:46:05 PM »

Integrity is obviously very important, but it's not keeping the very casual fan away.
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swoopdaddy
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« Reply #22 on: September 22, 2010, 09:52:28 PM »

Integrity is obviously very important, but it's not keeping the very casual fan away.
whats keeping them away then?
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NYRA 792
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« Reply #23 on: September 22, 2010, 10:02:02 PM »

This is a different time, a different era. As an example ,you used to check the boxscores in the morning paper to see how your favorite players did. Sometimes you would have to wait an extra day to get the boxscores from the west coast. Now I can get stats or watch the game on my cellphone. It's  become an instant gratification society.

To get casual fans to come to the track and wait 30+ minutes for an outcome of a race is unrealistic unless it is centered around some type of other "event" like a concert etc.

If people decide they want to "go gambling" for the day, they can walk onto a boat for free, and play Blackjack( is that about 30 hands per hour maybe more) or put money in a slot machine, push a button and get an instant result.


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pamwaggy
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« Reply #24 on: September 22, 2010, 10:04:09 PM »

I think what's keeping the young people away is they are used to games at home and other places.  Fast packed games.   They don't want to have to handicap.  They don't have parents who taught them handicapping and the hassle (to them) is not fun fun fun. 

It's very sad to me they just won't look at a form as a challenge.
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