Friday, November 21, 2008

Ohio: Racedates Lost and Racing in Peril

Today the thoroughbred times reports that in Ohio a massive racedate loss for 2009 is in the works:

The Ohio State Racing Commission on Friday approved a 2009 schedule that includes no live Thoroughbred racing dates at River Downs and 60 days of Thoroughbred racing at Beulah Park.

Both tracks, which will conduct Quarter Horse racing next year, were seeking substantial decreases in the total number of live dates offered because of difficult economic times created in part by competition. River Downs offered 105 live racing dates this year while Beulah was approved for 119.

A request by Jack Hanessian, the president and general manager of River Downs, to run two live days of Thoroughbred racing in 2009 was denied by the commission, which approved a request for Beulah’s live dates. Thistledown previously was approved for a 91-day meeting next year.

“The handle has been going down by 10% to 12% a year for the last five years,” said John Izzo, the Ohio State Racing Commission’s deputy director. “This is just something else we’re going to have to overcome if we want to keep going forward.”

During this time we have seen the shutting out of signals with horseman holding out for a bigger split:

Wagering on live racing at Beulah is not offered by major advance deposit wagering providers TVG, HRTV,, and because horsemen have not approved the track signals to be sent to ADW outlets. Horsemen are negotiating an increase in the percentage of ADW handle committed to purses.

I think the above news today suggests this was not a good policy.

At HANA we have said countless times: We think that taking more money from ADW and the player, and using a pre-internet pricing formula for ADW, while constantly fighting will result in a loss for the business. Purses will not go up, they will go down. It is time to fight for one thing: Handles and the sport. If not, we feel headlines like the above will become commonplace in our sport.

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