Save Yourself

A horseplayer that still enjoys the game cherishes every minute. There is no such thing as a really bad card of races as value can be found anywhere if you look hard enough. If it is the Breeders’ Cup, or a condition claiming event on the fair circuit. It’s still racing, and it invigorates the soul. After many years, and a closer view of the game this past spring / summer. I have come up with a couple of ideas that may get the ball rolling again. Now, there is no panacea, and this will take time. Just give it a thought, and see if any of this resonates to your inner-fan.

Thoroughbred racing has been painted in a dark light for quite sometime. I was reading an article that gave the sad news of 24 horses dying on the track every week. I have two loves, and they could be noted as 1 and 1A. Football and horse racing. – In the Annual Survey of Football Injury Research Report 2011, there were four direct deaths related to football. Twelve “indirect” fatalities relating to heat stroke, heart problems, and some blood clot issues. It spoke of high school players who died over the course of ten years from lack of proper training, insuffient water and hydration, and concussion related events. But still we enjoy the sport. We have safeguards in place such as proper medical knowledge for coaches, better equipment, and exercises to better strengthen and prepare our athletes.  With all of the daunting knowledge at hand, we still watch in record numbers and the game continues. Why is horse racing getting the bad rap? There will always handful of people who will cut corners to find an edge. In the words of the legendary Jesse James; “As long as the trains run, we’ll continue to lighten their loads.” Many people in every sport, and every facet of life look for a quick return. This has gone on since the beginning of time. Instead of hating the game, how about just hating the bad eggs in the game ?

The takeout rate is the amount of money that is withheld from  every dollar wagered. We’ll use 20% as an easy figure, and see if this makes a difference. Can we bump up the takeout to 21%? Before you stop reading, take this into consideration. There was over $93,000,000 bet on the Kentucky Derby in 2010. If we utilize the new takeout rate and applied it to the marquee races alone. There would be a considerable amount of money that could be used to better police the sport. If there were 1o races a year that yield a $50 million dollar wagering threshold, there would be $5 million that could be allocated to better test for illegal drugs, offer medical education and the latest techniques for trainers, and creating a lottery-size guaranteed pool for pick-four’s and pick-six wagers. The more they bet, the more monies that come into play for this program. With expanded monies, racing could allocate more resources for horse retirement facilities, and new ownership programs.  See, it is a cyclical method where once we get it off the ground, there could be growth for the future. How about John and Jane Q. Public watching the Derby from home when a detailed commercial comes on and informs them about making the sport safer and transparent? I’ll be willing to bet a soda that you’ll be reaching a new demo, and the misunderstanding may start to break down as it is only through open communication that change can take place. Or, if all of this sounds like hogwash, we can just do exactly what we are doing and nothing will change. A slow death will be imminent, and the game with be pronounced dead while it is still breathing.

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