Fun In The Sun

by Ed Meyer

posted on May 22, 2010 in General Discussion | No Comments >>

I have it on my bucket list of tracks to go and see. Monmouth Park has always been attractive, as the little track at the ocean.. I couldn’t wait, and the past few years it seemed like the little track was going to go the way of the dinosaur. Until now…..

The 65th season will kick off a brand new day. One that will attract the attention of every track in America. If you are a fan, you will have your answer as to where racing is going. It doesn’t matter if slots are in the plans or not. What will take place in these next few months will be a beacon.

There will be 50 days and a purse structure of $1 million dollars per day. They will outweigh Saratoga, Del Mar, and Keeneland. They will run Friday through Sunday, and will have some holiday Monday cards sprinkled in. They will end on November 21st, with the Honeybee Stakes. This will tell our future. This is like going to Madam Zelda and getting your palm read, and no matter what, the answer will resonate through the industry.

A few months ago, Bob Elliston from Turfway Park was on our Internet show. He talked about Turfway Park going from five days a week to three. It was at this time, when I asked him if less was more. He wasn’t sure at the time, but remained optimistic for help from the legislature. That boat sailed, and he will have to come up with a new idea this fall…..

Horsemen can bitch til’ the cows come home… Players don’t want to bet on six horse fields.. Just look at the Churchill Downs racing meet going on right now.. I am glancing at the overnight for the track I work, and when I saw the three races that had twelve horse fields, I truly was amazed. Who would have thought that cheap claimers at a small oval would get full fields.

Here it is.. This is yours and my palm being read. I am about to offer a suggestion, and if you don’t like it, just jot down some other answers, and I will send it on to track executives. We are in times when everyone should have a voice.  After all, it is your game…

Here goes: The NTRA will die… Don’t worry, as we will have a super-type watchdog… We will have smaller meets with fewer days. The “big brother” will be in charge of what tracks are going to run when. This will lead to bigger fields and better handle, as tracks will not run on top of each other.

OK, if you have not fainted, here is more… No tracks will be going out of business. There will be some small tracks who will buck the system, but will not get simulcast time. The agreement will benefit the large and small tracks. TVG and HRTV will be charged fees, just like the NFL – TV rights… All tracks will be thrown in the mix, and there will be a central programming network. They decide who runs at what time, and when. So far, so good?

Monmouth Park will show us that people will follow the money. Saratoga and Del Mar will be long meetings of the past… During the day, we will bet smaller tracks on the East c0ast, Midwest, and Florida during the Sunday, Monday, Tuesday time slots… Wednesday through Saturday will have marquee tracks running in time slots that will not conflict. The evenings will be Texas and West coast tracks. It will still be round the clock action, but measured allotted product. This is the way of the future. For the tracks that get alternative gaming, go with God ….. For the ovals that have troubles, this may be your answer until you get a break…. Before you thumb it down, think about things. Racing is dying, and the less is more campaign will save us from over-saturation with a high overhead….. You will get plenty of action, and we will be able to better market the plan. For the first time, we will all be on the same playing field. There will be no more us and them. There will be a collective we, and things will survive for the future….

So, there it is… The addtional area will be taken up by harness action, which will benefit, and dog racing and Jai-Alai, where it is legal. The survival plan is an idea. I have had the honor of being around some mangers who have seen the future, and others who could not find their own car in the parking lot. Survival is key, and we can live to fight another day. Let’s pass on the sport to future generations just like grandpa did for us…….Or, as a wiseman once told me: “If you do what you always did, you’ll get what you always got.”