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Friday, July 4, 2014

Pricci: For July 4th Horseplayers, It’s Morning in America

First of all, Happy Fourth of July to all of our readers in the United States.  Thank you for your continued support and enjoy your holiday with your friends and family (and place a wager or two or several if you feel so inclined).

Second, John Pricci wrote a piece entitled, "For July 4th Horseplayers, It’s Morning in America" for Horse Racing Insider, explaining the clout that all of us as horseplayers have in this era of social media and electronic communication.

An excerpt of John's piece appears below -

"The most encouraging and dramatic sign of progress in the first half of 2014 is a relatively new development; the emergence of the horseplayer as a political force that can affect change, almost at almost warp speed compared to the glacial pace at which progress is usually made in this sport.

Can’t speak for other betting-boycott supporters but I take no comfort from the fact that Churchill Downs Inc. took it on the fiscal chin to the tune of nearly $48-million in handle. That comes to $1.3 million every racing day not named Oaks or Derby. Without those days, business was down approximately 25 percent.

For all the slings and arrows shot its way, none of this would have been possible if it were not for dissenting voices on the Internet and social media. From websites speaking truth to power, to grass roots participation from fans in racing chat rooms, industry organizations took note.

The perfect storm for change turned out to be a disqualification in the final race of the day this winter at Gulfstream Park, allowing a carryover jackpot to continue. The DQ, in and of itself a controversial call, was met with great consternation and suspicion.

The response on the Internet was immediate and forceful, resulting in subsequent dialogue between fans and racetrack executives. The result was policy changes meant to improve the race adjudication process.

The back-and-forth bore fruit in that the response was in the main positive for bettors although, to date, not all promises have been kept. Horseplayers have long memories.

While no pleasure was taken from CDI’s travails, what was gratifying to see is what can happen when a disparate group of gamblers get together in a common cause. Bettors got mad as hell and decided not to take it anymore.  Each passing day, the influence of a grass roots organization such as the Horseplayers Association of North America continues to gain influence and beginning to get invited to sit down at the table.

And, so, as the nation celebrates its freedoms this weekend, there is reason for a very small segment of the American people to feel optimistic optimism about future. We know it won’t happen overnight but it finally looks like we won’t get fooled again."

To read John's piece in full, click here.

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