Coffee Break

by Ed Meyer

posted on March 7, 2011 in General Discussion, Horse Racing | No Comments >>

Coffee CupI met a friend in the backstretch kitchen as he guzzled three cups of coffee in ten minutes. Me, I couldn’t drink it if a $100 bill was attached at the bottom of the cup. But, the ten minutes we shared were solid. Both of us have been industry folk in racing. He is about ready to get a big bump up, and he wanted to see what I thought about some issues in the game…..

He said he was going to be having his meeting in a half an hour. It was time to talk like we used to, and he wanted to be ready. I surely don’t know everything, but most of my life has been spent at the track. I wanted to give him all the ammo I could in this short window.

First – I said folks are more online. You need to really emphasize the idea of having an archived library on your site, where people could learn about the races, just like they learned the game of poker in their underwear in front of the screen. Make it easy for them to educate themselves, and this generation will surprise you!

Second – The main form of wagering info, the DRF, is in trouble in my opinion. They have big overhead, and eventually they will be an online product. This is where the track will offer an area with 10 or so computers that can print (at a nominal fee) the information players desire. This will allow players to seek all sorts of handicapping data. There is not just one flavor of ice cream, and you should make it easy for players to walk in and print down the needed data, and they could even drop by and check work emails while Mr. Smith thinks they are stuck in traffic.

Third – We have seen the big Monmouth experiment, and now know that fewer days and bigger purses benefited all. I said more than ever, you can put away the clown giving away t-shirts, and dig deeper. Drop the takeout a point or so, and then educate the people about what a bonus they have betting your product over others. Nothing hits home like money, and by allowing the players to keep more money in their pockets, it only makes sense. If you don’t know what all takeouts are at your favorite track, go ahead and educate yourself. You may be surprised….

Fourth – The basics are needed. Just because we have sophisticated tools at hand, don’t miss out on getting out to speak with the public. Let them see ALL management, and moreover let them see you pick up trash, and spend time answering all questions. You will be surprised to know that people understand that all of their wishes cannot come true, but give them time. They are more important than any radio commercial, or any TV ad that can be run. Just good old fashioned walking around and being present. It will go miles….

Well, he wanted a fourth cup but had to go. He appreciated our time, and said that he felt more in tune. He knows the racing end, but needed to find out what he should bring to the table for the complete management job…..

Good luck in your new position my friend…. He starts Monday, and I hope he can help Kentucky racing…