Can’t We All Just Get Along

by Ed Meyer

posted on May 10, 2009 in General Discussion | 3 Comments >>

In the times of short field sizes, and decreased wagering what are tracks to do to attract players’ wagering dollars?

In the old days, and I mean about 15 years ago, tracks seemed to hold their own. Now, all seem to echo the same sentiment of needing alternative gaming as their only savior. But, in fact, there may be a few other ideas until that day arrives for racing.

We used to have “downtime.”  This was when there was no simulcasting, and you had time to re-build your bankroll. But with a full bonanza of races to play, the action is constant and the horseflesh is growing thinner.

Here is an idea. “Less is more.” Less racing days to allow runners not to be spread so thinly; even the tracks which have gaming in their facilities. This would be step one for trainers to allow runners adequate rest. This may also help field size, which also helps wagering. Just cut back the days, and do not allow two tracks in a state to run at the same time.

Players need a breath, and offering too much action can be counter-productive. How about a racing authority which would govern how many tracks could run in one day?  Would this keep the financial focus on those ten to twelve tracks? You bet it would… I work at a course where we run on Tuesdays. There are not many tracks running on that day, and guess what day is our best of the week? It is not Saturday….. Tuesday.. So, less may be more..

Tracks will eventually have gaming to offer alongside slot machines.  Those that do not see the need to compete on a level playing field, will perish into history. This is not just small tracks, as the Kentucky circuit is beginning to feel the pressure. Just take a look at the six horse fields at Churchill Downs.

Cut back dates, and have a governing body which will dictate how many tracks may run on a given day. Let’s give it a try. Handle will respond, and I think players will get back into the game. They will not feel saturated, and enjoy what is going on. It begs the question if we can all get along as an industry. Because if we don’t hang together, we will all hang seperately….