Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Calling all Players

We had an interesting discussion at Paceadvantage recently about how HANA should tackle issues, and what they should be tackling. This is a worthwhile discussion, so as we do often times when members ask questions or offer suggestions, we blog about it.

Generally, we get a lot of ideas thrown our way. Each board member probably has 200 things that they want to get done, members give their thoughts and that list grows and grows. I am happy to say we do not have a dearth of ideas, but we do have a dearth of help. An idea without help to achieve it, will be stuck in the idea vault, because we are a volunteer organization, and everyone who works daily at HANA has a job and a family.

We truly need to have people championing ideas, because we do not have enough hours in the day, nor the workforce to champion all of them ourselves. But when one champions an idea they become part of making it happen. The NTRA player panel can have ideas thrown their way and they can put their paid staff onto it. We have no paid staff. We have four or five people doing this in their spare time.

As an example, the HANA Pool Party was not Jeff or Theresia's idea, it was Ross Gallo and Mike Mayo's who were HANA members that none of us even knew personally. What they did was emailed us with a blog piece about trying to build a moveable amount of money per week to effect change. They offered to work at it, and wanted to see if it would be something worth pursuing. Ross and Mike, in effect, offered an idea, but most importantly offered to champion that idea. Ross now runs the Handletalks group over at Yahoo and runs the pool parties (with over 100 members, way to go Ross). Without Ross and Mike taking the ball and running with it, this idea never sees the light of day. We are lucky to have members like Ross and Mike at HANA.

This was not unlike another idea that was thrown our way in March, however the end result was completely the opposite. Rich Bauer, god bless him, as he is about as passionate a horseplayer there is, offered out an idea about a handicapping contest. He wanted it to be done at Tampa Bay Downs (a track very player friendly) and he would supply the prize money. It was a fantastic idea that we all loved. We would help promote HANA, and Rich can support us with the prize money. We went to it as it was an awesome idea.

Unfortunately the task needed several things: Software to run the contest, and/or some programming. A contest master. And numerous promotions on the web (we wanted to try and get mentioned everywhere, as at we were already well known). Jeff worked on this for a bit, then life and other issues got in the way. Jeff was programming the website for the track ratings among other items for the site, and working on HANA Day at Keeneland, (he also had a big project for his own job at that time). How about Bill, another board member? He was finishing the track ratings and working on Version 2.0 to be published. This was a huge job. Me? I was working on the HANA Ratings with bloodhorse. We had to edit and re-edit ten pieces of over 12,000 words, not to mention write them. In addition I was tasked with marketing it over the web, and issuing the releases to various entities, answering questions and blogging about it (not to mention hitting all the chat boards to promote it). I had to present at a conference for HANA at the end of the month as well, so that was going to take time. Theresia? She was in charge of HANA Day. It was also tax time at work, so she was working 14 hour days already. She was working on getting quotes from all the HANA tracks as well. John? He works for a TV station and they had a month long project on and he could not help. John was already in charge of another project for HANA anyway, and even if he had the time he could not get this going. Rich was retired and clearly could not champion the idea, and frankly with the amount he offered us for the contest, he in no way should have been expected to run it. It would have been nothing more than a slap in the face to someone who wanted to help, to ask him to find people to run it.

We asked around for some web help for the contest, found none, so we had to put that fantastic idea on the backburner. It was an absolute shame. We had someone wanting to help like Rich, with a great idea and we could not execute it. We were happy Rich gave us a donation anyway. We hope to use that money on polling, database software, webhosting and a few other items.

So I guess that is it in a nutshell: We love ideas, we love the passion, we love members giving us those ideas. But we really need people to champion them - to take the ball and run with it.

If anyone reads anything on the Mission Statement, has an idea, or might even want to add to the mission statement to force change in our sport, here is the best way to go about it:

* Offer out your idea and email it to us at
* Detail what needs to be done to force the change
* Come to a meeting and present it to members
* Offer out ways in which you can help, or if you know a group who will help achieve that goal, by championing that idea.

We have had a couple of you do exactly that, like Ross and Mike, and we can not thank you enough. Right now each board member is flush on each issue that we are working on presently. If something new is added we need the help to get it done. We are calling on players for that help and if you want to offer some, our door is open and we can not thank you enough.

Thanks for reading and thanks to everyone who has helped HANA in the past, and their continued support in the future.


Anonymous said...

I would love to see horse racing try and turn some horseplayers into celebrities, like Poker has done. Horse racing after dark on NBC at 3am is a start.

Where is the Phil Hellmuth of horseracing? Who is he?

One big problem is the image of the horse player. We have to treat horseplayers like NFL QBs and 'glamourize' the position. When i was growing up i had to hide my horseplaying from friends and family because it was looked down upon.

I was looked at like i was a gambler, not a chess master. I never looked at horsebetting as a gamble, it was a great puzzle to me and the industry doesn't ever promote it as such.

Horse race handicapping is the greatest game on earth, lets market this game as an intellectual challenge that has no equal.

Anonymous said...

Lets take theses two hundred ideas and post them and advise what needs to be done to champion them.

HANA said...

The 200 ideas go on at weekly meetings where we complain, gripe and speak like horseplayers. Then we have to get down to real business. :)

Right now, anything on the Mission Statement is fair game. We currently have several things on the go:

1. Wagering Integrity - plans, articles and so on

2. An ADW Ratings System - we need all kinds of help with that, mainly with research.

3. A Harness Track Ratings system - members have suggested that about ten times the last three months. Again a ton more research.

4. ADW contract talks and developing them

5. Youtube commercials for HANA. We need experts on making them.

6. Working on a plan for uniform payouts on adws and on simo screens so each payoff and probable is the same everywhere.

As an aside we are always looking for web and blog help as well.

Thanks for asking!