Everyone Into the Pool!

Cheap racing has been around since Pike’s Peak was a pimple. Real players enjoy the opportunity to lock horns with condition claimers, cheap maidens, and longtime runners at small ovals. Why? The payoffs can get pretty sweet, and if you’re savvy enough to figure out the secret sauce. There’s a bumper payday waiting for you. With the advent of the racinos and casinos around the nation, the public is now coming out to the gaming facilities. Notice I said gaming facilities. There are slot machines, lottery terminals, top-notch restaurants, and some really cool burger joints and cafes. The bar areas serve specials everyday, and with free concerts, sports bars, and a brand new building. This is definitely not your grandpa’s game anymore. I have only one question. How come their not betting the ponies?


With all of the excitement, it has the feel of an adult carnival. The horses are much different, and in my opinion have the one-of-a-kind entertainment value that only a horse race could offer. There are odds to get the best action for your wager, and this is a game of skill rather than random luck. Nothing like betting the races. The first time you nail that pick-four, you’ll be itching to come back and get your bet on. The fans just aren’t playing the local races. Now, before you send me to the corner. I’m fully aware they have the best in simulcast action. But nothing beats the thundering hooves and fast paced excitement that is right in front of you. I think the new guard holds the opinion “build it, and they will come.” Not so fast there, Nelly.


There will be throngs of new fans coming in the doors. Most don’t even know there’s a track running, or when post time would be. I like to prove this when I was having a couple of beers with a good friend who comes on  the “Winning Ponies Internet Show” as a special handicapper, John McDulin. Johnny Mac and I were sitting there drinking ice cold drafts, watching Ohio State, and then we made the worst mistake of the day. John looked over to our server and asked; ” Sir, could we get Santa Anita on the screen that is showing a Sports Center talk show?” You would’ve thought Mac asked the guy if he could date his mother. “No sir. We don’t want to turn this place into a bookie parlor.” Ah-ha. The lights went on, and the answer was written on the wall. All we need to do is break down the barrier and educate. Before we talk to the first patron / guest. We need to have a session where every team member gets to know how they got there in the first place. Racinos were not here before the old time game of horse racing. I was passed an email from a top ranking player. The Host was attempting to explain why they couldn’t have full fledge casino gaming. Here is an example of an uneducated response.  “At this time we’re unable to have poker and blackjack because we have horse racing. But not to worry, we’ll be getting rid of that soon enough.” 😉  – Like I said before, we have a need to educate everyone in house before we speak to the next generation of gamblers. Oh, and the response about horse racing couldn’t have been more wrong if she would had been drinking.


Once we rid of the mist of illusion, the idea that horse racing and casinos can co-exist. Thoroughbred racing should not be the center jewel of the ring. It should be a wonderful part of the entire design. The other day I was visited by a marketing manager. Smart guy, sharp dressed, but didn’t have a clue why they weren’t betting. “I just can’t figure it out, Ed. It’s new, the place is sharp, and we’re ready to serve. Why aren’t they betting more?” I think too many managers watched the movie Field of Dreams. They won’t come if you build it. Racing ruled in the times of the big three. Baseball, Horse Racing, and Boxing. But we’re not there anymore, and the reason racing has stumbled is largely in part to complacency and entitlement. We thought we’ll always be the king of gambling. But, I digress. I looked at the gent, and asked him a question I thought would fit his life. “How about a wager for the new age player. Let’s call it Mutuel Fun. We’ll “sell” shares at $2 each, and the monies will go into a player’s pool.” The money will be used to play the pick-five, pick-four, and final pick-three’s. Any other monies would be used for an all-out place/show parlay. The pool will be seeded the first two weeks, and it will be held on the Friday card. There will be track handicappers who will select the wagers, and pool totals will be shown on every TV and big screen throughout the facility. Every player in the house can tweet, Facebook, and use any other social media form they choose. They already show up in good numbers to drink, eat, and listen to free concerts. Why not allow them to take part in the player’s pool ? They don’t have to know how to handicap, and if there’s a nice score. It may get them interested enough to make it to a free handicapping seminar. I can see pretty people hoisting a glass, and cheering for the ponies.