Monday, August 12, 2013

Jockey Club Round Table Focuses on The Game We Love

Yesterday the annual Jockey Club round table spoke a whole lot about you the betting customer and how you feel about drugs in horse racing. 

A couple of weeks ago, HANA and Jerry Brown at Thorograph were contacted and asked if both of us could distribute the survey to our members. We did and many of you responded, and with the survey being longer than an average one, it was appreciated.

From Ray Paulick who tweeted out the round table yesterday:

— 86% of the biggest bettors avoid certain tracks and states because of concerns over medication/integrity
— 79% of horseplayers factor in illegal drug use when handicapping races at certain tracks
— By a margin of 9 to 1, horseplayers say they bet less, not more, because they have to factor the possibility of illegal drug use
— 91% of horseplayers are “tired of waiting” for medication reform and want it now
— 82% of big bettors want to see all drug testing results published, 79% strongly support out-of-competition testing, and 73% think a horse’s attending veterinarian’s name should be made public.

Your answers mirror much of what you answered in the HANA Survey in 2008. As time goes on, much stays the same.

People may ask why are bettors concerned so much about drugs in horse racing? Don't we just want to cash a ticket and be outta here?

The answer to that is simple.

The art of handicapping, whether we are a small player or a large player, is a life long pursuit. We study pedigree, and pace scenarios and form cycles. We study second off layoffs, turnbacks, surface switches, Tomlinson's and form.

We read books and listen to podcasts. We chat on chat boards about big races and argue about their outcome on twitter or at our local racetrack. We live, breathe and eat horse race handicapping. It's what we love to do.

As Andy Beyer once said, some trainers have sabotaged the art of handicapping, and (sorry to not mince words here) that pisses us off.  Those trainers aren't just sullying the game for owners and others who participate in it, they sully our game. The game we spend hundreds upon hundreds of hours enjoying and studying. The game with memories of learning to handicap with our parent. The game we enjoy to no end.

Handicapping is the greatest gambling game ever invented. It's a puzzle that stretches the mind, keeps us sharp and engaged and it's what we do. It's a part of our lives. With that, why would we expect answers to that survey to be anything what they were? If you attack our great game and the horses who allow us to facilitate it, you are not going to be considered to be anything but a detriment.

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