Old Dogs / New Tricks

by Ed Meyer

posted on June 11, 2010 in General Discussion | No Comments >>

Churchill Downs used to be the “old boys club” that was packed with old money and didn’t care about the problems of the sport. The canned answer was that they were “The Home of the Kentucky Derby. The Home of the Twin Spires.” Until now….

Churchill has gotten into the groove. If you read, they just upped the purses 10%. This is not a “good boy” gift. It is because they have done well during Derby time. This will not cure the hurt, but it will help the horsemen a bit. Good move….

I thought when CD put up temporary lights, it was silly, and made no sense. Who would come? After all, this is the “Home of the Twin Spires.”

The temp lights worked so well that it became an idea. The idea became a plan, and the plan became action… Attendance was so good, and the idea so big, that the dates are being advertised as big doings. They have themed the nights, and the races are as hot as the Georgia asphalt. It is big time, and the dates will be huge. They will add this to the coffers that overflow during Derby week.

When did CD become cool? I’ll tell you… It was horsemen conflicts, six-horse fields, and lackluster attendance. The Twin Spires meant nothing anymore. They had to take it to another level. The first night of action kicks off this week. I’ll bet that when we read the results on Saturday, we will think there is hope.

VLT’s (slots) are a long way off, that is, if at all.  In the meantime, there may be a few casualties as business is tough, and neighboring states have put the smack down on the runners. Horsemen hurt, the tracks are hemorrhaging money, and jobs are being lost or being sought in other states. So, sometimes the gamble is worth it. Go ahead and put a new face on the historic Downs. It won’t hurt as bad as you think. It sure beats the alternative, and after Monmouth this summer, I think we will drop back with dates to save money.

So, don’t think old dogs can’t learn new tricks. This dog has went from laying on the porch out of the sun to dancing in the lights of the evening and looking good doing it. Good luck, Churchill… Just as New Jersey is showing the country that less is more, you are leading the pack by utilizing your facility to the fullest.