As horse players, we have always been used to the ever-changing game. Things are always on the improve, and tracks are trying to better prepare to serve the customer.
If this summer has shown us anything, it is that racing is making some big steps. A few for instance are:
Monmouth Park – I think by shortening the meet and making the purses lucrative for the horsemen was genius. The old saying of “less is more” fits the bill. It has allowed the track to keep operational costs down, and jack up the purses to the highest of levels. The tracks win, the players win, and most importantly, the horsemen win. They will be able to prepare for the future, and not worry about making it in the present. New Jersey has taken giant strides, and mark my word that every track in the country is watching. I see neat promotions, and unique contests. The players have a time to breath and regain their balance and especially their bankrolls. Horsemen have full fields, and the handle is climbing. Going to the track is an event again, and you see more fans watching the game.
Kentucky – As the capitol of racing, it is a bad sign when you see Keeneland cutting purses. They have been the gold standard for which many tracks are measured. Racing is a sport where you don’t want to see anyone fold and close their doors. This effects horsemen, and their ability to make a living. Even though Ohio and Kentucky are two different states, and in many ways can be competition, nobody wants to see any track going through the tough stretch. If there is a gain for other tracks at the demise of another, it will be short-lived. It is important that the game is strong across all borders. The sporting world is watching the events unfold.
Alternative Gaming – No matter which state you speak, this is not far from the hot topic at hand. Tracks used to have the upper hand by being the only game around years ago. But, the competition from casino and other forms of gaming is popping up by the minute. I don’t know of any state that would not like to level the playing field and allow their product to prosper. Gaming is another vehicle where Thoroughbred racing can boost purses, create jobs, and plan for the next generation. For the longest time, racing has been put at a disadvantage and forced to fight every moment. There are so many tracks that serve as models of how racing can survive and grow again. I would like to see that day come, and the fans of the greatest sport treated to a revival of hope.
So, what to do? Be optimistic for now, and let your voices be heard. Watch other tracks that are trying other avenues of management, and keep an open mind as racing will go through a time of growth. Things never stay the same, and if they do….they will perish. It is of the most important process that we constantly seek to improve and prepare for the future. Things will never be the same, but that could be a very good thing for racing…..