Change Is Gonna Come

by Ed Meyer

posted on April 6, 2010 in General Discussion | No Comments >>

We read daily about the ever-changing landscape of racing in America. There are many tracks in the country that will face some tough decisions in this next year. You have read about my insights on the competition facing our sport. This year, for the track where I work, there will be change. It will be not-so-good, or it will be drastically different. Either way, since 1925, that little track that sits along the Ohio river will change.

One way: There will be a vote in November that will go before the people who will decide if there will be alternative gaming at racetracks. They have already passed legislation allowing casinos in Ohio. So, what is the big deal? Some feel it may be too much, and others know it is what is needed for survival. Nick Nicholson from Keeneland said it best in The Courier Journal when he said: “This would not be the answer to all questions, and would not be a complete fix-all.”  I agree… We need to take to educating people on what racing will do with this opportunity. Don’t assume they know.. Tell them, show them, and by all means, let them know…

Two:  The people of Ohio will allow VLT’s to pass. I know, you are saying who cares about Ohio racing? The problem is that there are many states watching what is going on, and they will know their fate possibly. So, if the slots come to the tracks, the ovals will not be a place to watch the ponies. We will become a 24/7 operation. There will be entertainment opportunities, and property will skyrocket. Just think. What once was marginally worthless, will be a megaplex of gaming. The pots will go up, and the runners will come. The racing product will grow, and you can plan for the future for the first time in many years.

Well, there it is… Use this one state as a model. Many others are watching, and they wait with baited breath. Either way, the landscape will change. The track along the river will never be the same after 2010. The doors may be shuttered if nothing happens, or it could be the next major circuit to play in years to come. If you doubt me, just wait two to three years and you will be betting Philly Park over the old major ovals. They may have one of the best purse structures in the country. Watch Monmouth Park this summer, and you will see this as a testing ground of how many dates will be allotted in 2011.  Either way, change is gonna come.