I remember meeting Dick Duchossois when I worked in the parking lot. Our owner had me drive his Royce over to the airport to pick him up. He told me not to be late, and this was a big fish… Little did he know, I was not picking up the fish, I was bringing Mr. D to dine on a fish……
Mr. D., as he liked to be called, was a gent. He spoke with a confidence that your principal had when you were in his office (or as I heard that is how it goes).
Mr. D. could see around corners. He was a visionary…..The owner of our track was courting him to be a partner in a deal. Little did he know that Mr. D. was doing the leading while they danced.
When he didn’t get slots, he shut the doors at Arlington. No bull, he just said stick it…. He opened back up, and what a day that was … Mr. D. has jewels that could can fit in the back of a dump truck. This came back to mind as I was reading the Chicago Daily Herald article. Some people just leave an impression….
In a nutshell:
- He feels that more than half of the current tracks will be gone in the next three to four years.
- Slots ARE essential to survive if you want racing.
- Racing will die off in the next year or so, and it will revive with better management, focus, and a rededication of effort.
- 10 years ago, 90% of the wagering was done on track. Now, 91% is conducted off-track. You have to give the people a reason to come out and have fun….He just invested $6 million in renovations for the track. He wants it fresh and lively….
For an 88-year-old man, he is on the cutting edge. He knows what people want, and Arlington knows how to serve it up. It is a first class place, and if you ever get the chance to go, I would say get on your horse and ride. It is worth any cost to see the show…….
Just watch and listen… I did long ago as a young man driving the owner’s car. This guy is sharp, and we could all learn a thing or two if we had more leadership in the game like this.