The Right Idea

by Ed Meyer

posted on April 6, 2009 in General Discussion | 1 Comment >>

This past Saturday was a typical spring day in Lexington. The crowd was huge – college kids, weekend fans – and some of the bets racing in the country. But we’ll never know how many were there. But that is a good thing.

I have worked at tracks in a few states in my career. I also have seen some of the boneheaded moves that chase away fans, and a few that really make them happy. This weekend at Keeneland, the focus was on the fans.

With the weather getting better, and some of the best horses and riders in the country, it is hard to not have Keeneland on your list of places to visit. Track President Nick Nicholson is a man on the move. He doesn’t sit in the lofting heights and watch the toteboard grow. He can be found out and about with the fans. This is rare nowadays. He even greets people by name. These are the little things things that make you the #1 track by H.A.N.A (Horse Players Association of North America).

On this day, the fans were lining up to get through the turnstiles. When Nick saw this, only one thing came to mind: open the gates, and let them in.” Forget the $3 per person, and give the fans an opportunity to come in and see the races. Now, that is what the fans want. In the days of ever increasing competition, the little things go a long way in pleasing the fans.

So, on Saturday, I not only saw some of the best racing of the year from around the country, but I saw what we are lacking as a sport: the simple caretaking of the fans. This goes further than a cold beer and bowl of burgoo. Well, maybe not that far. But you get the idea, and so does Keeneland.