In an interesting blog piece - not overly interesting since the writer touches all the 'inside baseball' stuff that these folks truly believe: Wagering is down because of high gas prices (a curious one since we bet about 12% of handle on track in 2008), the economy, Eight Belles breaking down - but interesting because it shows the chasm between those inside the business and those who pay for it in the comments section.
There is even one fellow on there who thinks that if we suck more money out of the fan and put it into purses so owners can make more money, the sport will grow. Oh my head. Thankfully a player chimed in:
The customers are not "speaking", they are "shouting".The problem is not the economy,as racetracks do well in bad economic times. When people are out of work they go to the track to try and get a few extra dollars to patch a hole in their budget.
All the customers see is one segment of the game trying to get more money from another segment from a shrinking pie instead of putting in programs to grow the fan base,that would raise all boats.
The emphasis on exotics (carryovers) is a band aid for a hole in the bottom line and creates a perception that the mandates for synthetic tracks and race managers can no longer say we do not care who wins,as they prefer longshots.
In Ca.the racing Board is run with a majority of Horsemen, for the benefit of horsemen,no other State will stand for that conflict of interest.
Lower the take out,write races for the customers,not the five horse fields for horsemen that become jockey races,put races in the pick six that can be handicapped with horses with records.
It comes down to a perception of an integrity problem and an unlevel playing field.The customers have said "enough of this".
Respect the customers, give them a voice,level the playing field and racing will find the people still love racing,and the fan base will grow,solving the problem.
We have a long way to go to bridge the gap in letting the inside folks know that we need real change to grow this business. Band aids will not do it. The major hurdle is that the insiders do not even seem to know what the problem is, yet. No worries folks, we'll keep trying to get the message through.
We are trying to give those players in the comments section a voice. But we need help, so please sign up if you have not.