Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Guest Post - Standing Together

A guest post from two HANA Members for your perusal: Mike Mayo and Ross Gallo.

March 1, 2009

Dear fellow Horseplayer,

A few weeks ago I was driving along and came up with an idea about how we could possibly start to fix this great game we love so much. I will not bore you with details of all of the things that are wrong with our sport. Most all of us, as customers of this game already know the many things that are wrong. Instead, I would like to focus on the positive, which as we all know has NOT been the mood of the industry as of late.

Last weekend at the Horseplayer World Series I had dinner with Ross Gallo (who most all of you know) and Scott Carson of Public During our dinner , I conveyed this idea to both of my dinner companions and they seemed very interested. As the evening progressed, I could see my friend Ross, all of the sudden get very excited about this idea. The wheels started really turning in his head. As the weekend progressed, we both continued to discuss this plan and how we could actually make it work. So here goes the idea.

We all know (as horseplayers and customers of the game) the only control we really have is how, where, and when we actually bet our dollars. Many of us have a comfort zone on how much we wager. Individually, most of us do not bet enough to really influence the pool totals at most racetracks. However, if 300, 500, or even 1000 of us got together and collectively bet our money, we could certainly make a noticeable difference. An example would go like this. Each week a race is selected at a certain track during the middle of the week. Our group would bet a predetermined amount of money (say $50-100 per person) into the pool of the selected race. You could bet this money any way you wanted into the pools of that race. You could also bet it from any venue you choose (ADW account, OTB, or at the track itself if that is feasible) just as long as the money went into the pools of that selected race. You can easily do the math here. Let’s say 300 of us bet $100 each into the fourth race at Turfway Park on a Wednesday afternoon. That would be an extra $30,000 that hit their pool and they never saw it coming. The next week we do the same thing at Beulah or Turf Paradise. We start with the small tracks first to be able to track our money and the impact it has. As our numbers grow, we then move to the larger tracks. We envision eventually having 3 to 5 thousand members at some point as this venture grows. That would then allow us to perhaps cut down the amount of our individual wager to perhaps the $25 to $30 range. All of you can see that as a united group we can really make an impact as our very large block of money lands when and where we see fit. As this impact becomes more and more noticeable (to track management, the horseman’s groups, the ADW’s and even some State regulatory agencies) we then begin to have a voice. After all, we (the customers) are the life blood of this industry and our voice can now be heard. We will then be in a position to use our large block of “wagering dollars” to influence some of the decisions that are made in our industry.

As is mentioned previously, it is important that we keep things in a positive light at first. We simply and quietly bet our money each week at the selected track. We do this for several months and follow the results each week. This is easy to do. As our block of dollars grow, track management will certainly start to notice and wonder where this is coming from. What is going on here? At that point we then lay out our plan to track management and other industry leaders. We will then have the data and information to prove the impact we are making. At that point they will have to take notice. It will be fun to see them guess and wonder where our large block of money will land this week. As our block of money grows from 50 to 100 to 500k and hopefully over a million each week, we are making a positive impact on the industry. We also will be helping some of the smaller tracks survive.

Now, let us look at how our group could then use our influence to perhaps help settle some of the many disputes that have become reality over the past year or so. I will use the recent Tracknet Media and Las Vegas signal dispute as an example. We all know the whole dispute started with Tracknet wanting to raise their signal fees to the Vegas hub. They soon realized they need Vegas way more than Vegas needed them. Their handle plummeted as it always seems to do when these types of disputes occur. Now our large block of money and our united group influence enters into the picture. We inform those that we will boycott all tracks involved in the dispute until it is settled. This boycott would not only involve our group dollars but we would ask that you not bet these tracks with your money outside of our group. You can all see what a huge impact this could have. All industry leaders would FINALLY have to pay attention to US, THEIR CUSTOMERS.

You are probably asking yourself what is the catch here. There is absolutely NONE. The only requirement to be a part of this plan is that you agree to provide an email or and have access to a computer. There are no dues or fees. All that is asked is that you bet the selected race each week in the amount determined. That is it. Our plan is to have a website to distribute information and use as a vehicle to contact each of you on a weekly basis. Our goal is start this plan in motion no later than April 1. We obviously need a large participation to get started. If you have received this letter, then we have your current email. We would also ask that you forward this on to as many horseplayer friends that you know. Feedback is always welcome.

We all know the saying “United We Stand”. Let us all get together and take back our sport.

Mike Mayo and Ross Gallo

If you'd like to join us at HANA please click here and signup. It is free and you will be helping us build a better game.


Anonymous said...

I'm in. Let's get going.

Anonymous said...

An interesting concept to come out of retirement for.

HANA said...

Wow Hajck. We'd have to hire you for a "Why I came back to racing" series :)

Anonymous said...

I like the idea. Something along those lines was tried on a smaller scale last year or the year before. I think the main obstacle, the thing that will require attention and careful thought, is to put together a coherent and cohesive plan or strategy for picking the tracks to play.

This is not necessarily terribly important as a strategy in the beginning in one sense, as you are just trying to get it going, and not trying to make a big initial statement to the tracks per se, but I believe the horse players who we/you are looking to buy into the idea will want to feel their money is rewarding "good" and not "evil" immediately.

So, much like the HANA track ratings, how the tracks are getting picked needs to be transparent and meaningful, a coherent process needs to be put together that people can get they can digest it and say:

"I will do this. I know I will not agree probably that all the tracks that get selected each week are "good", but I understand the reasoning and this is something I want to support, so I will bet all of them."

Anonymous said...

Yeah because Vegas paying nearly nothing for something that everyone else pays a higher price for is fair to everyone involved. Whatever.

Anonymous said...

I would play. It is fun to get together and bet a race with like-minded bettors.

As for Vegas, well shutting off signals for more money when your handle is getting decimated is not what I would call a good strategy. Not to mention with 600-1000 players from all over the country going for a handicapping tournament there at the same time? That statement in a nutshell shows that racing does not seem to care about their customer.

Anonymous said...

I have been a member of HANA for a while and appreciate the work it is doing. I hope to support this idea. I would suggest the tracks chosen are tracks in the upper half of the HANA rankings. Even if it meant using the same track more than once. Those tracks should see the benefit of the increased handle and HANA should put their money where their mouth is.

bcgreg said...


Count me in.

Anonymous said...

I'm In.

I'd like to recommend a large Banner promoting the upcoming race.

Anonymous said...

I suggest the most obvious & dramatic effect would be to "SHOW our strength" by blitzing a SHOW pool on a particular race! Win pools at tracks like Beulah, Suffolk, Turf Paradise, Mountaineer, etc. could be SMALLER than the SHOW POOL! People would instantly wonder "Where is all this action coming from?" It would allow smaller bettors to take part with a larger rate of return to the people making the statement.
I think if this statement money is diluted into 6 or 7 pools, the track would notice, but the general public & media may not. IMHO-Bob

Anonymous said...

If any horseplayer would not kick in $20 or $40 into a pool to help raise awareness they are not the type of horseplayer I know. This is a no brainer. Keep us posted if you people go ahead with this idea.


Anonymous said...

In tell me when


Anonymous said...

Great Idea

When we show the power of our wagering dollar, we WILL get treated as a valuable customer.

I'm in.


Anonymous said...

I think it's a great idea. Count me in as well. I would also support pumping the money into the top ranked HANA tracks.

Anonymous said...

Any reason Why the Paulick Report and Equidaily has not Linked to this?

Just a little curios.


Anonymous said...

Would it be possible to turn this into a tournament as well? That might help players to continue playing each week.

Anonymous said...


Great idea!When do we start? this should be linked to the track ratings with low take out tracks seeing the action.

Anonymous said...

If you really want to make this work then do not pick random tracks and pools. Pick one track and play it every say "Wednesday" at the same exact race for a month or two. Then move the handle.

Doing it in this manner will make a noticeable hit to profits. It will draw attention to your actions, gain others to do the same. Eventually it could come to the point the industry has to respond.

The only action to change this industry is to prove they service the bettors. They know handle is dwindling etc.. They blame it on the times, the sport not being popular etc.. Show them it is their fault, show them the handle is there if they do right by the bettor.

Anonymous said...

JMartin said...
If you really want to make this work then do not pick random tracks and pools. Pick one track and play it every say "Wednesday" at the same exact race for a month or two. Then move the handle.


We have to track the money.

Tom Atwater said...

I am in.

Suggestion: focus on smaller tracks that are high in the ratings at first. Maybe weight the number of times a track is picked by how high it is in the ratings.

Anonymous said...

I am in........let our voices be heard

Anonymous said...

great idea i think you could piggy back this idea into a tournament

Anonymous said...

Let's roll.........

Anonymous said...

Track executives (the ignorant ones) always support high takeout rates by saying lower ones
do not increase handle. Let's prove them wrong.
Pick the track with the lowest takeout in the
country on a specific type of wager, and play
that wager every week for the entire meet.
Right now (in April), Sam Houston has a 12%
Pick 3 takeout. Count me in.

Anonymous said...

The theory sounds exciting. I used to think about stuff like this when I got really stoned, back in the day.
Whatever you do, you would have to have an
Attorney get involved. There's probably rules
about moving money across state lines. Then there are probably tax issues to consider.
I know there are groups that make big bets, we've all seen the odds on a horse go from 5 to 1 to 7/5 or worse right before the bell.
These are investment groups and they do it to
make a profit.
Who would be in charge of the money?
I know Bernie Madoff probably isn't doing much these days.
Whatever you do, best of luck, hope it works

HANA said...

Hi Anon,

This is not done in a collective pot. It is proposed that horseplayers, on their own, join in and bet a pool - one race at one track to be determined. It is done on their own volition.

We will have some updates on this, this week.

Thank you to everyone who commented.


Unknown said...

count me in.just dont target the featured race,target a race least expected to have a huge amout wagered on.then someday we will target the kentucky derby.

Anonymous said...

Lets go!Where and when?

Anonymous said...

Are we trying to influence track or horsemen?

Tracks are losing so much money they aren't going to give a dam if we stay or go!

One would think us staying would benefit them, but it turns out that when they benefit a little bit, the horsemen want to pull the rug out from under them and get more of the cut to themselves.

If tracks don't make money, no one from any group is ever going to be happy. Tracks are never going to have any motivation to promote the game if they don't make money and don't have a reasonable opportunity to grow they amount they make. No industry prospers without the party in charge of leading the industry is making money. No one single industry anywhere.

Anonymous said...

They must tkae notice that with all the competition of our betting money these tracks can't be run like an ole boyz club. It is the 21st century. The customer always wins and in numbers can even chage the rules of the game. Why do you think Circut City went bust and Best Buy going strong....Customer service! the only reason anyone will hang around.

Anonymous said...

Hope this idea works. Tired of losing money, I quit betting some time ago, to try and figure out if there is any way a profit can be consistently obtained. So far does not look good... it's like a slot machine with live horses instead of spinning wheels.

Should I resume, it will be offshore to mitigate the effects of all the takeouts. Only requires a phone call and a friend can make the bets for me.

Anonymous said...

Sorry I can't play on April 1 or after due to living in Purgatory, North Carolina (no ADW'S, no wagering on horses in this town).

But when I travel to Virginia I'll be more than happy to contribute to the featured race track.

Anonymous said...

I wish I had the money to be a part of this, but I like the idea. It would get the most pub if 1) the money were bet to win, because everybody follows the win odds closely, and 2) if the group could agree on one or two horses. The latter may be too much to ask, but if you use basic handicapping principles, you should be able to find a few likely candidates racing somewhere during any given day.

Anonymous said...

Great idea! You might consider avoiding non selected races at the chosen track to make the chosen race stand out more?

Anonymous said...

I don't think I will be able to bet that race we have set for from Woodbine.. will check. if I can I'm in. if not will wait for the next one. good lucky everyone this is a no brainer in helping the cause.

Anonymous said...

Are they going to say "Ouch, I give!" when you punch Will Rogers Downs with your fluffy fist full of dollars? This is a naive waste of time. It is not going to effect the other tracks one little bit in any way that matters. If I were a track executive, I'd be having a nice laugh right now. If you want power, stop candy-assing around and TAKE IT.

Anonymous said...

This idea sounds appealing to horseplayers, but it doesn't have the impact of, say, no one betting on the Kentucky Derby. Putting money into the pool is exactly what the tracks need and the states love. If money is bet only on tracks with the lowest take-outs, that's effective, but only if the handle is demolished on the other tracks, such as NYRA. Without a serious, coordinated action that amounts to millions of dollars of losses for individual venues, there is absolutely no chance of making a meaningful impact.

Horseplayers are an independent bunch. They don't like to coordinate politically. It would take a major effort to coordinate a meaningful action. Betting a few extra thousand dollars at Beulah on a weekday would only be appreciated, not feared. In this business, you don't get rewarded for kindness. Taking the money away from the track and the state would demonstrate strength. Betting money on some random race will look like a group that's having fun.

jagerfury said...

yup. count me in.

Anonymous said...

Betting some crappy races en masse in Lower Bumfuck does not show our power! We must adversely affect the handle of the high takeout tracks and let them know we are doing so directly and specifically.

Anonymous said...

Count us in !

- Proudly wearing our new HANA pins in Upstate NY

Eric said...

I like the idea; here's something to follow it up with: If everybody that participates would commit to moving just a small percentage (10-20% or so) of their Derby Day bankroll into another designated pool like this, it would put a nice exclamation point on the powers that lie in our numbers.

Anonymous said...

an interesting idea..have you thought about putting the word out on At the Races with Steve Byk on Sirus

X-Turnin'Lefter said...

Putting bags of money in will never help anybody but the specified track

Take OUT all the cash somewhere and they may listen to you !

However, the Jocks, Horsemen, and Track Officials will quickly be on to your game and soon figure out who wins places and shows and when they will! remember - - this is now a hi-speed computer age ! !

All you will do is help crooks make more bucks juggling the race that given morning !!!
plus, We will still be out of that inner circle

Anonymous said...

NO one knows what your goal is you need to send a clear message and i can help u do that. we are trying to build LEVERAGE!!! in order to reach the the final goal of a fair and equal playing field for the race bettors. There IS POWER IN NUMBERS AND MONEY IS POWER!!Now that the goal is established how,when and where is not revelant.The who is all the bettors out there. But we have to remember that gamblers want to be anonymous and are negative by nature and the business we are in.I am avail. for hire to translate your plan into plain english in step by step form to show there is NOTHING to lose and everthing to gain. Iwish I could reach out thru this computer and show all what a simple plan this is [just like the commercial says, it is time to stick it to "THE MAN"!!! disabled in h-town [brain cancer]

Unknown said...

Who is pocketing the rebates from this endevor?

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