The Industry Will Be Televised

by Ed Meyer

posted on March 8, 2010 in General Discussion | No Comments >>

No, the big race is already on. Just take a look at which station will cover the action. I am talking about the reality based “Undercover Boss.”

I love this show. Forget about islands that don’t exist, where a bunch of guys like me sweat it out and live on monkey island with a trainer, chef, and doctor. Hell, if I had all of that, I may drop a few lbs… But this show is brilliant….

Not because we are going to focus on racing, but because we all love to see the boss sweating it out. getting an earful. It is like “Boxing Day” on screen. Go ahead, and just look it up on the calendar for a full explanation, if you have not heard of that last one.

Bill Carstanjen from Churchill Downs Inc. is getting the inside look at racing. He holds down the chief operating office in this mega business, and for a spell, he will get a taste of what many face daily. I think it not only gives perspective, it gives you ideas when you make it back to the desk in your suit.

He worked for 10 days at Calder and Arlington Park. He mucked stalls, worked for a trainer, wrote press releases, and saddled horses in the paddock. A far cry from the two-hour lunch world, and a little messier.  The show has given the boss and the rest of the world an inner look at what they will really know.

My optimism gives me thoughts that they will go back and think about the industry a little differently. I can only hope that insight rules out, and they grow from this experience. The other side of the coin will be that they won’t get the real taste. What about when they get canned by one trainer, and ship out with another? What about when they put in 10 years and are followed by a pink slip in their mailbox? Will they do a better job so that these many will not know this fate? Will they pull back the curtain and share the knowledge with all racing execs about what is really happening?  We can only hope so, and so do many fans. The game can go on.  It all depends on how far we are willing to change. But, this is a great start to show the truth.