Come Together, Right Now!

by Ed Meyer

posted on November 11, 2008 in General Discussion, News | No Comments >>

Churchill Downs announced Friday that it will cut overnight purses by 10 percent for the rest of its Fall Meet, and reduce purses for two of the meet’s major stakes races.

In making the announcement, the track cited “soft business levels stemming from the nation’s economic slowdown and the unresolved negotiations with horsemen over distribution of the Churchill Downs simulcast signal to national advance deposit wagering outlets.”

The cut in overnight purses will take effect Wednesday. In addition, the Grade II Clark Handicap purse will be reduced by $100,000 to $400,000-added, and the Falls City will be dropped by $50,000 to $150,000-added.

The reduction in stakes purses for the Oct. 26-Nov. 29 meet is the second reduction. A reduction of some stakes purses and the cancellation of two stakes events was announced Aug. 29.

For the people who don’t believe there is a problem in racing, you need to look no further than the home of the Kentucky Derby. When a track of this size and importance makes decisions that darken the future of the sport, we have something wrong.

The horsemen and tracks need to get together now. Not next year, now. This needs a resolution. I am trying to stay neutral with my thoughts. The horsemen are represented by THG (Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Group). They want more money from ADW’s account wagering. There has been no cost incurred by the horsemen for: salaries, advertising, marketing, promotion, support, customer service and software development. They just get a 20% piece of the pie for agreeing to run. Now they want 33%. You would first look and say “hey that is 13% more.” Look a little closer. That is a 65% increase overall. Try asking you boss for a 65% increase……

All tracks across the nation are showing double digit declines. Isn’t this a time when we need unity instead of divisive tactics? Don’t we need to save our game? Don’t they know they are the only entity asking for more? Enough is enough. If there is nothing done soon, you will see smaller tracks start closing their doors, and then it will make the trek to the marquee tracks. It will get out of hand and then what? Come together now, before it is too late….