Damned If You Do…

by Ed Meyer

posted on August 18, 2009 in General Discussion | No Comments >>

I was chatting with a friend of mine. He has worked in racing his entire life. With the economy, and the dying nature of racing, many things are on his mind. Add in the fact that casinos are on the way, and he has even more questions. I think the cure has not been found.

The belief is that casinos will change the landscape of the racing world.  For the large end, it will. But, there are many questions that are popping up with long time employees and horsemen alike. The question on the long-timers’ minds is: will they make the next cut? Will they in fact have to re-apply for the job they have held for twenty or so years? The horsemen also have many questions. When will purse allocations kick in gear, and do you think this will put them out of business?

So, the damned if you do and damned if you don’t equation rules the day. For the employees of the racing world, it may be a great game indeed. But, you may not be a part of what you have fought for all of these years. Remember when mom used to tell you: be careful what you wish for? Well, it is true….. New owners have new directions they want to pursue. The game may be revived off of life support for the good news, and the bad is that you may not be here to see it flourish. It is kinda like playing for the Cubs forever, and the year you are traded, they win the World Series.

Horsemen have always felt that the casino industry would be a band-aid and not a cure-all. This is the truth. The game cannot survive on slots. It must be marketed to the new generations to come.

The flip-side of the coin is that if there is an increase in purses, that it will draw new bigger training outfits into the track. Just like the employees at the track, they will have fought for something that may not benefit them. So, what to do? If the status quo held sway, there would have been no racing. This new model at least allows them to get a piece of the pie. Maybe things will be better. Who knows? It does fall into the category of damned if you do. Just ask the many states that have no gaming. They are preparing to shut doors.

The moral of the story is just wait and see. Nothing is ever as bad as we envision in our head. Will it be bad? Just wait and see…….