Try Something New

by Ed Meyer

posted on September 21, 2009 in General Discussion | No Comments >>

To work at a track is the best job in the world. I never complain, but finding new and innovative wagers and contests can be tough.

I never take credit. It sucks, and this once I will too. I was working at a track which shall remain nameless. They were progressive, and having a good run. They were enjoying the success of hard work and innovation.

There was a track at Caymanas Park that did a little wager. It was called the “Hi-Five.” I saw this, and took it to my boss. I begged and pleaded. He cringed and bellowed. He thought nobody would bite. I have to give full credit to the track trying to create lottery size carryovers. For those that doubt me, I have the word document saved with date stamp and many tears all over it.

OK… Now learn my lesson… The wager had not taken hold, or ever been put in place. I tried it again at the second track in my work history. Once again, doubt ruled the floor… But, they did present it at a commission meeting and another track ran with it. They put their own little twist on it, with the poker craze ruling the land. They called it the “royal flush.” Well, the wager never caught on, and it was not a marketable item. It was hard to play this with rule changes, and a twist or two. One meet later, it was gone the way of the dinosaur.

Santa Anita rolled it out, and tracks around the nation followed suit. It was never about getting a patent on an idea, but rather finding something new for the game. The players can get bored, and it is up to us to keep them happy. Sound easy? Well, it is not… You not only face uppers that hate to try something new, but what if the public doesn’t like it?

This was not the case. If you look back at every blog written, you will not see a time where I was looking for the limelight. I only wanted to serve the players. I am one of them, and if I can answer a question with “I would like that.” Many players like me would as well….

Imagine bringing your track some attention. Imagine your track bringing your players a new wager. Think about the handle jump as the wager begins… The ideas get better and better. Oh well, back to the drawing board… I have won three steak dinners from other track marketing managers by emailing this document to show proof. It was never my idea, it was Caymanas Park and I saw the genius in the play. They were ahead of the game, and I am glad the wager lives to allow players the chance to win big. It was only on Breeders’ Cup Day when I saw the powers that be adopt this wager that I wished our track would have been first out of the gate.