Saturday, October 11, 2008

Declaration of Horseplayer Independence

This editorial by Cary Fotias, who we recently announced has joined our Advisory Board here at HANA, was written around June of 2007 and has appeared in various places. You can help make a difference. Please join HANA today!

Declaration of Horseplayer Independence

When in the course of thoroughbred events, it becomes necessary for horseplayers to dissolve the financial bands which have connected them to insensitive racetrack owners and short-sighted state legislatures, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the rightful station to which they are entitled, they should declare the causes which impel them to action.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all horseplayers are endowed with certain unalienable rights, that among these are market-driven takeout rates, sterner drug policies, the integrity of the wagering pools and the embracing of new technologies that could make it easy to bet on any race, anywhere, at anytime.

At my urging, Ron Geary has started a revolution in Henderson Kentucky. Paul Revere is riding once again, and the Ellis Park 4% Pick-4 is catching on like wildfire. Although Sunday's Pick-4 was canceled due to a lightning-induced power outage, Saturday's Pick-4 wagering was over $65,000 - a remarkable achievement, given that only the twin gorillas of Belmont and Hollywood handled more.

Please continue to support this bet as often as you can and for as much as you can. This Pick-4 isn't just about Ellis Park, it's about the future of the game. If we all band together and SEND IT IN, the residual effects down the road will be very beneficial. Other tracks will start losing Pick-4 handle to Ellis and will be motivated to lower rates themselves. Maybe then, politicians and racetrack owners will finally realize that LOWER TAKEOUT RATES are actually GOOD FOR BUSINESS. I chose the Pick-4 as a launching pad as it wasn't handling very much. If Ron and I had tried to lower WPS to 8%, where it probably belongs, the resistance would have been overwhelming. As guerillas, we have to choose our battles wisely.

In 1971, I was a student at the University of Michigan. John Sinclair, manager of the band MC5 and former leader of the White Panther Party, had been sentenced two years earlier to a 10-year jail term after giving two "joints" to an undercover narcotics officer. It was outrageous - the police, with consent from the Nixon administration were conducting all kinds of illegal searches ( I got pulled over many times just because I had long hair). On December 10th, the worm finally turned. John Lennon, Yoko Ono, and several other 60's activists like Abby Hoffman and Jerry Rubin staged a rally for John Sinclair at Crisler Arena.

Lo and behold, marijuana's status was changed from a narcotic to a controlled substance, Sinclair was a free man within a week, and the citizens of Ann Arbor got the local legislature to reduce the penalty for marijuana possession to $5 for an ounce or less. After a while, I guess "the authorities" just didn't know how to deal with 40,000 people getting high on the diag at the annual April Fool's Day Hash Bash.

So, you see, the system does work. You just have to get involved, fellow horseplayers.

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