Greed of the Game

by Ed Meyer

posted on January 7, 2013 in Blogroll, General Discussion, Horse Racing, | No Comments >>

In the racing industry there are many that relish the opportunity to smile in your face, and plan to stab you in the back. Racing is a noble sport, but there are some events that really make me scratch my head…

What is going on in Florida? Has Gulfstream lost their mind? Why in the name of Father Bill Dailey would you want to have two tracks fighting over racing dates? Well, let me restate that last part. One entity (MI Developments) is going to do an end-around and run on top of Calder. Calder had the December dates for 20-years, and the two tracks are less than eight miles apart. Racing head-to-head can be a tough row to hoe. Do you think the horse population will dwindle and cause fewer runners? What about the trained staff who have worked both tracks for decades? How about the horsemen who will have to make a decision where to run? Bottom line, there are no winners in this folly. They will work twice as hard for half as much. Public perception of racing needs a boost, and when we should be working together more than ever. The ugly head of greed is reared once again.

I once knew a manager at a track whose main goal in life was to crush others. Roy was a gentleman who had a slow southern draw. He was from New Orleans, and he walked around like the “mayor of the track.” I watched him go behind the backs of good people and tear apart their lives for his enjoyment. He played the role of the “race track good guy,” and everything he did was for the betterment of the game. He fired or played parts in getting rid of many people. Folks who did a good job but may have offered Roy some competition. This story reminds me of what is going on in Florida. Gulfstream is not content with the status quo, and reaches out their greedy hands to take from the same well they drink.

It is so important to have a circuit for racing. It is a fool’s folly that would make one think a small gain may lead to a long term win. Could they have diminished field sizes next year? Hell, I don’t know… But I love the two tracks, and offer the eternal words of “why can’t we just get along.” The public has choices for their discretionary dollars, and they will grow tired of in-fighting and questionable practices. So, go back to the table and don’t be a “Roy.”  I think there could be an amicable agreement, and it just takes an open mind. I am aware that it is a free market but it is important that we keep our eyes on the future. For if this continues they might as well run 365 days-a-year, and 24-hours a day. They will now be the home of the six-horse field, and ruin a circuit that has been in place for years.