In last month's Trot magazine - a harness racing publication - a survey of industry insiders and horseplayers occurred. They were asked several questions and asked to elaborate. The fun part was they were asked to give an odds line on something happening, or not happening in racing in terms of the year 2050. It was eye-opening.
Question 1: The Chance that Drugs be Eliminated from Racing by 2050?
Track Executives: 50-1
It seems that the players and the track managers are the ones with a malaise about drug use in the sport and see no end is sight, while insiders believe that the tough task is achievable. This might not be surprising. Tracks want to ban participants with long rap sheets and horseplayers do too. Horseman groups tend to defend them, under the auspices of "due process".
Question 2: Odds that Racing will be Governed by a Single Commissioner by 2050?
Track execs: 30-1
Some consensus there, which I found surprising. Track execs and horsepeople seem to like to call the shots in this game, so them being a little higher is probably not surprising.
Question 3: By 2050 the number of racetracks will be cut in half?
Track execs: 2-1
Every group knows the future looks bleak
Question 4: Harness Racing will be banned in 2050 in at least one jurisdiction due to animal rights issues?
Track execs: 48-1
This is kind of shocking is it not? New Hampshire just banned dog racing and the politicos in Central Park are looking to ban horses. This could happen in 40 years one would think?
Question 5: The Sport will be self-sustaining without slot money by 2050?
Track execs: 50-1
Everyone agrees that slots are not the answer. What I wonder is, why the hell are we not doing something proactive with slots money to grow the demand side of the sport so this does not happen?