Sunday, September 21, 2008

Calling Mr. Shapiro

In the recent Bloodhorse article titled "Hollywood, Horsemen Squabble", it appears that the Thoroughbred Horseman's Group is back up to their old tricks.

The dispute was made public during the board's Sept. 18 meeting at the Los Angeles County Fairgrounds in Pomona, in which the CHRB considered Hollywood's license application for the 40-day stand.

The board approved the application, conditioned upon the completion of the horsemen's agreement with the Thoroughbred Owners of California, which is seeking a larger cut of the ADW take in future contracts. The TOC has authorized a national coalition, the Thoroughbred Horsemen's Group, to negotiate on its behalf for a larger percentage of the revenue.

Note to members: "larger cut of ADW revenue" means less to us as horseplayers (check the money spent via ADW on rebates and R and D). Not to mention when money is taken off the front lines it results in a decrease in handles in the sport we all care about. ADW grew at 17% last year because of many of these reinvestment policies.

The good thing is this:

Both Hollywood Park and the TOC agreed to allow the CHRB to intervene.

The CHRB is headed by Richard Shapiro and he has been horseplayer friendly in the past, and he seems to be one of the only people in Californian racing who think that we matter (not to mention perhaps the only person who understands competition, open access and churn). We as horseplayers implore him to get this settled and stop the Thoroughbred Owners of California (e.g. Mr. Couto) from running all over us, like they have for so, so long.

One of HANA's planks is open access. Another is lowering effective takeouts. Mr. Shapiro please work for us to get California racing offered to any ADW who wants it; including places that offer rebates from their ADW share. Work on returning some of the ADW share to the player who can grow our game, and grow our handles, instead of groups who yell the loudest. Players should not have to play over $1M to get more than a toaster back. And we should not have to play offshore either. We all should matter.

The writing has been on the wall for some time now with decreases in handles. The players have been speaking. They are saying that this has to stop.

On HANA's Mission statement we say the following:

H.A.N.A. is a grassroots Non Profit organization made up of horseplayers just like you. Simply put, we are not happy with track management and horsemen's groups. We are less than thrilled with what they are doing to the game that we love.

Instead of promoting awareness of the sport and growing handle they have become bogged down with industry infighting and have completely forgotten something: The importance of the customer.

Every week it seems this mission is ever more apparent. Horseman starting groups to fight tracks over a pie that is shrinking. One day I assume that they will find there is not a pie left. Until then we will keep fighting.

We need your help, so please join HANA if you are interested in helping us make a difference. There is strength in numbers.


Anonymous said...

I suggest that HANA request email support from its "more than 200 members" for a petition to Mr. Shapiro.

Anonymous said...

I think Indulto is right, we need to communicate to Mr. Shapiro so he understands there are more than two parties involved in this matter. Otherwise it is very easy to make the track and the owner happy by picking the horseplayer's pocket, like they did in New York.

HANA said...

I think you are both correct.

In a recent Beyer column Mr. S is quoted as dumbfounded when he tried to watch and wager on a California race.

From AB:

Even industry insiders were discombobulated by the changes. When Richard Shapiro.......... , he declared: "This is stupid. . . . It's ridiculous. . . . It's absurd." Shapiro happens to be chairman of the California Horse Racing Board, and he felt as exasperated as any horseplayer.


I think he is on our side in this.