Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Horse Racing Press Gets Moving

There have been several news articles of late that have tried to forward honest discussion on some of the problems in thoroughbred racing.

First, Jack Shinar wrote of the boycott and California racings issues here. Although racing leadership did not comment on Jeff Platt's quotes, the issue was brought to the fore. David Israel of the CHRB did comment, and that was a good thing. Mr. Israel of course has been the scourge of horseplayers for some of his comments regarding the entertainment of horse racing. We at HANA have little quarrel with him for that - if your heart did not skip a beat in the Breeders Cup Classic, or watching Goldikova's athleticism the last sixteenth an hour or so earlier, you should check your pulse. We at HANA simply believe that his ideas are long-term not shorter term. In the short term we should be trying to grow handles, not put policies in place that arithmetically make them sure to shrink.

Regardless, it was a fair article about pricing and horseplayers who think we are moving in the wrong direction to compete and win in modern betting's society.

Second Eric Mitchell wrote similarly a couple of days ago in the same publication:

With all these other issues challenging California racing, raising the takeout this year seemed like an unnecessarily risky move. Raising takeout is actually risky anywhere considering horse racing’s place in the overall world of gambling and entertainment.

As we have said countless times before: California's problems are not simple. They are systemic and structural, and we need big solutions to fix them. This is why HANA and others have put forth the idea (in addition to a change in takeout) of a gambling board to look at wagering scientifically, and a committee to really have a hard look at field size and ownership costs. The point horseplayers are making (and which Mr. Mitchell appears to agree) on this one item, however, is straightforward: Raising takeout moves us farther away from a solution to those problems, it does not help us fix them.

Last up, Jessica Chapel is doing a whale of a job covering the signal dispute in New England. Years ago a lot of this was simply shrugged off, but now there are people out there - virtually everywhere - watching. We'd mention and cover the dispute and its effect on players more here in depth, but when we have people like that to link to it certainly makes our job much easier.

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