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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Harness Tracks Lower Takeout

In 2003 or 2004 harness racing went through many problems that thoroughbred tracks are now going through. Several keen observers of the sport at that time cautioned thoroughbred racing that harness was a "leading indicator" of sorts - what happens in harness will happen a few years later in thoroughbred racing.

Well, we can all hope that giving their customers respect that we are currently seeing in harness racing is followed swiftly by the runners.

First we had a racing commission step in to fix a signal fight.

I am dismayed and disappointed that the respective parties are so short sighted that they opted to penalize the most important component of their joint business, the customer. Why not find a mutually acceptable means to keep the customer served?............Are racing’s customers in such great supply that it can afford the luxury of turning off the signal? Today, customers have many options on where to spend their “disposable” dollars. They don’t need horse racing, horse racing needs them!

Within two weeks the two jurisdictions this affected were opened up to bettors while the participants worked out their differences.

Next we had the Meadowlands push their 15% takeout pick 4 and increase the pool guarantee.

Now it is announced today that Balmoral park has slashed their takeout on their pick 4 almost in half, to 15%. They have also made some pool variety changes for their 2010 meet.

We at HANA have heard rumblings that harness tracks and jurisdictions are taking lower takeout very seriously. We hope to report more good news as we get it. And we hope it does not take years for thoroughbred racing to follow suit.

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