Wednesday, November 11, 2009

HANA Newsletter Fall 2009

HANANews Volume 2 Edition 3

Welcome to this edition of HANANews – the Newsletter of the Horseplayers Association of North America

We have been busy here at HANA, blogging, meeting, organizing survey’s…… and it took us awhile to get this quarter’s newsletter out; but here is hoping it’s better late than never!

In this edition –

HANA Meetings at Yavapai

HANA Featured in Thoroughbred Daily News

HANA Welcomes Charlie Davis to the Board and John Pricci to the Advisory Board

HANA & Equibase, Working Together on Late Scratches

Cary Fotias - Pulling No Punches

The Maloney Report - Past Posting at Golden Gate? And Kentucky closing pools early

Survey, Survey and Survey

Tell a Friend & Shameless Plugs!

Arizona Bound – Twice!

In early August Jeff Platt was invited to Yavapai Downs by new Director of Racing Greg “Boomer”Wry. Boomer is a horseplayer and handicapping author and he wanted input from Jeff and all HANA members about racing in Arizona and what Yavapai could do to make it a better place for horseplayers. With a few HANA members in tow, the meeting took place in early August. Discussed at the meeting were the following, as Jeff stated on the HANABlog: “The topic of discussion will be horseplayer concerns: takeout, signal availability, pool integrity, drugs, quality of the product, and AZ's ADW law. HANA will be presenting suggestions for improving each of these critical areas. Track management and horsemen have promised us they will be listening.”

Jeff reported back that the dialogue was good and the track and horsemen did in fact listen. Jeff was invited back in late September and he hopped back into the car and headed there. He reported this next meeting was equally productive and both Yavapai and their horsemen are eager to work on some horseplayer-centric changes detailed by Jeff and crew. Jeff will have a full-report and more news as he receives it.

Bob Evans, Alex Waldrop, other heavy hitters…… and HANA?

HANA was contacted by ESPN’s Bill Finley in late July for a encompassing piece in the Thoroughbred Times entitled “A Prescription for Racing”. Jeff was interviewed along with Bob Evans, Steve Crist, Alex Waldrop, Charles Hayward among others. In the interview Jeff stressed the HANA vision of growing racing by being more receptive to lower prices, bigger fields, better choice and more interesting racing. If you get your hands on a copy or click this link (free registration required) I think you will enjoy the read.

Charlie Davis and John Pricci Join the Group!

Charlie Davis of Seattle Washington was named to HANA’s Board of Directors. Charlie, being a twenty-something horseplayer, brings a slightly different perspective to the HANA group, who have all been playing racing since they were old enough to bet. He has only been playing the races for five years, after being a sports bettor. We think that is a tremendous asset, as fresh new ideas from a newer generation is paramount to racings success, and it is a cornerstone of the HANA mission statement.

The duty of a HANA board member involves attending weekly meetings, championing new areas to expand the group, offering new ideas, member interaction, attending conferences as well as general duties. As board member Bill likes to say sometimes, "the pay is nothing, and you will probably get yelled at now and again". Despite that, Charlie agreed to help out. We are very fortunate to have him aboard.

We were so happy to have John Pricci join us as well in an advisory capacity. John is well-known in the racing industry. He spent 18 years at New York Newsday as an award winning journalist. He is currently the executive editor of Horse Race Insider, a popular website. John joins horseplayer's Cary Fotias, Barry Meadow, Dr. William Ziemba and Nick Mordin on the HANA Advisory Board

Mr. Pricci has been a member of HANA since almost its inception in late 2008, and was happy to join the organization in this advisory role: "It's become clear in a very short time that HANA, as a horseplayer's organization, is a serious handicapper's last best hope for their future, and the industry's!"

HANA & Equibase

In April, 2009 while we were in Lexington, Ky., for the first HANA Day at the Races at Keeneland, we met with Equibase CEO Hank Zeitlin and his management team. We talked about several issues that are critical to racing and we were given a tour of the Equibase facility.

When the subject of scratches and changes came up, everyone in the room admitted the current system in place was lacking. Reporting of scratches and changes had always been a point of player frustration. More so for players following and wagering multiple tracks online than for players following a single track while wagering at the track live.

While chatting with Hank that morning we let him know just how strongly we felt that there needed to be a reliable web-based source for scratches and changes information. While sitting at the table in one of Equibase’s conference rooms, I "white boarded" a design for a web-based system capable of getting the job done on a legal pad and showed it to Hank. I even volunteered to stay on in Lexington for the next several weeks (or the entire summer if necessary) to do software development work on the project for free.

I guess Hank must have seen how passionate we were about the need for the industry to do a better job in this one area. He agreed to a follow-up meeting which was held a few days later. From that beginning the idea of Scratches and Changes in Real Time became a reality.

In the end that is exactly what occurred. Equibase worked on it and achieved this for horseplayers. If you have not checked out the new system and want to you can at

Also, the above was taken from a feature story on the Paulick Report. Jeff wrote out exactly what happened, and how the system is to be used. You can read the entire piece on Paulick here

Cary Fotias – No Punches

HANA Advisory Board member Cary Fotias was recently interviewed in the Saratogian and it was quite a read. An example:

For a person such as yourself, what is the first thing you would correct, or effect, if you had the power?

“Lower the takeout, dramatically! The game will never grow without a lower takeout. And anyone who doesn’t understand that didn’t pass Economics 101. This industry has never been run in a free-market environment. The politicians and bureaucrats that are stifling this game have no idea where the laws of supply and demand meet to maximize profit for owners, trainers, the state and local government. They don’t have a clue. They just don’t get it, and the people who do get it don’t have the power to make it change.”

To read the whole story click here

The Maloney Report

HANA VP Mike Maloney has been following two stories - the potential past posting incident at Golden Gate, and the discussions surrounding closing the betting when the first horse enters the gate in Kentucky.

On Golden Gate: Here

"HANA's sources have confirmed that betting continued at least 40 seconds into the race in question. We've also learned that Golden Gate Fields, the CHRB, and the TRPB were unaware of the past-posting until it was reported by a player TEN DAYS after the race."

"Do racing leaders really believe that handle will grow under this level of security and oversight? "

On Kentucky Mike is sitting in on meetings where this is discussed. For background, click this blog piece.

If you have questions or comments on either of these two issues Mike will read them, so please email!

Survey, Survey, Survey!

Thank you all!

As you know, we recently sent out a link to our first ever member survey, and boy did you respond. Because we are horseplayers and we follow the sport, your emails, stories on industry sites and betting magazines, and chat boards, we have a good idea what we face and what issues are important. But nothing can be a substitute for hearing from you directly.

In August, at the behest of a member (thanks Dan) who does surveying as part of his job, it was relayed that we have reached critical mass and a member survey would have to be done. We constructed the questions over the next two months, and with Dan’s help and your support it was a success.

We are currently compiling the data, but right now be sure that you have spoken loud and clear and there are definitive themes that you all share. We’ll be updating you more and more on this, and we'll be continuing to structure policy based on your concerns.

Tell a Friend and Shameless Plugs

We asked you this once before and many of you helped, but we need you again. Please, if you all told one friend, just one, to sign up with your horseplayer group we will double our size. Those who have already done this, thanks, but can we ask those who have not to give it a try? Without monetary resources our only chance to grow is from you. We need your help!

In addition we are thrilled that some of you have helped out with donations and are wearing your HANA Member Pins. For those that have not and wish to help you can donate $20 or more and you receive your pin. They are pretty cool and we get comments on them all the time. You can get yours right here.

Bonus offer: The first twenty members who donate $20 or more, we will throw in a HANA Highlighter with your pin. It's perfect for marking up a racing form or program. Mine does not pick winners, unfortunately, because apparently you have to be a decent horseplayer for it to work.

Of course the HANA Store is always open. Hats, shirts and much more right here.

These are our two main areas to raise money for the group. In the next quarter we would like to run DRF ads, for example, and the cost at over $600 for a small ad is not cheap. We hope you can hit a tri or a super, think of HANA and maybe get yourself a pin or some HANA Gear to allow us to do more for HANA.

Want to Get Involved?

Contact Information:

Email:, or any of our first names followed by





Please visit us at our blog. We update that virtually every day and we love your feedback.

Thanks again to everyone for reading, and good luck and good racing. We’ll see you again soon.

Your HANA Team

Thank you John!

Original HANA member John Swetye recently, with life getting in the way, has left the HANA board. His work on getting this organization off the ground, attending meetings (for example, John who is from Connecticut actually came to Arizona to the Yavapai meetings!) and much, much more are appreciated by everyone. We would not be where we currently are without the hard work of John and we can not thank him enough for that.

Good luck John.


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