Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Temperature Gets Turned Up on Churchill Downs Inc.

In the week or weeks before the Derby there is usually a news story from someone, somewhere, to try and forward their cause. Derby week is the one week that the world pays attention. In past year's we might've seen a New York Times story, or a story on steroid use. This year it appears there is a grassroots movement happening right as we speak.

Horseplayer Andy Asaro in HRI today:

"The boycott isn't only about the egregious takeout increase. This is about an industry that refuses to listen intently to what their customers are saying. It happens time and again.
This is about an industry that's still stuck in the 1980s when it comes to eliminating breakage, or timing races more meaningfully and upgrading coding of the tote system so that the information you see is what you get in real time and not after a race has begun.

Horse Racing 2014 style is still being played on eight-track cassettes, as if there were no such thing as the digital age. Haven’t you had enough?

There will be no official leader of this grassroots action. It will be led by the collective “we,’ all of us. The boycott will consist of fans, bettors and other practitioners of the sport.

It’s up to each individual conscience, and every outlet, to do their utmost to spread the word. If we allow this moment in time pass without a strong response, we deserve the industry we get."

Customers, not Joe Drape, or an activist group are involved this year.  Just customers.

If this was all there was the heat might not be turned up too hot - maybe just a pleasant sweat. However, it's not.

In an HRI column:

"Churchill Downs is a treasure. However, its parent company, Churchill Downs Inc., has done more to undermine the sport than any PETA video could ever do.

And more here.

It's not even Derby week yet where we see these headlines (and you know they're coming from other places), but from almost everyone we read, or listen to, Derby week has arrived early this year.

Industry analyst Dan Needham: "This is the most awkward and uncomfortable run-up to the Kentucky Derby that I have ever experienced."

Yes indeed.

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