What Did They Say ??

I kept a tally of things said by horse players during the three weeks between the Preakness and the Belmont. They ranged from soup to nuts, but one thing was for sure. No matter who anyone bet, they wouldn’t be disappointed to see the next Triple Crown winner. – That in itself is odd, as gamblers are a fickle sort. It is hard to get three separate players to agree on most anything, much less who would be next to wear the crown. – As the fog settles and American Pharoah is tucked away nicely in his stall. The next round of speculation begins. Before we jump into the next race and where it will be. Here is a sampling of race track players responses to me as I made my way into the race book and started up a conversation about the Triple Crown. Each day I would run upstairs to my booth and write down the conversation. Now, put on your big boy pants as some will amaze. As we drew closer to the event, you’ll see the tide turn many ways.


  •   ” Ed, I don’t care if he’s 10-1, I wouldn’t play American Pharoah with your money !”


  •  Two weeks later – ” Eddie, that guy is a monster. I’ll probably use him in my exotics, and try to catch this thing about 10 times.


  • “American Pharoah is something special. I can’t wait for the Belmont, and his price doesn’t matter.”


  • “Ed, there is no way I’m taking (1-9) on this colt, He’s tired, and the Triple Crown has no chance this year. I’m taking all long shots, and I hope he comes off a step slow.”


  •  “My Dad would have loved to have watched this, and we would have been locked onto the TV to catch every second together. This would have been great if he were here to see this race unfold.”


  • ” Dad would have said f*** this price, this chalk can’t go a mile and half ! – Let’s nail a price and wait for the real big horse next time around.”


  •  ” Wouldn’t it be great for racing ? – I think the sport could use the boost to draw more fans to the races.”


  • Two weeks later – ” Who cares about another chalk ? – His owner is in trouble, and I think karma will deliver a close but no cigar photo again.”


As I’ve always said, gamblers are a fickle bunch. They tend to change their minds more than they change their socks ! – Some started off positive, and switched when they thought about betting a short price going 1 1/2 miles, and others made the big turn around. Either way, it all came true. Funny thing, upon speaking to these folks again on Sunday. they all recalled in great detail how they told me about the big horse etching his name in the history books.


Next on the docket for the court of public opinion is the response ” Racing needs a Triple Crown winner. It will create a new crowd of players and give the sport a needed shot in the arm.” – I’m all for growth and change in the sport, but will we handle this one correctly ? – How many tracks will draw from this and attempt to find new customers. – I fear a short term “high” for the big event, and we’ll watch it fade into the history books. Here are a few ideas and thoughts to get your creative juices flowing. If you like any or none of these. Let your track, OTB, ADW, or betting outlet know your feelings. You are the reason they open the doors, and your voice may be heard for a short window of time. Speak up !


Racing used to be the only game in town. If you wanted casino action you had to fly to lavish Las Vegas, or take your chances going to Atlantic City. Tracks were built and people would flock by the thousands to get their bet in. I remember leaving a race early to beat the traffic to get on the road quicker. You would make a bet, and read it in the paper the next day. If it won, you would have to go to the information window to cash this as the clerk would have to rifle through a giant ledger with all of the payouts and prices. They would then grab their pencil and pad and figure out how much you had coming back. – These were the times when computers had an eraser on the other end, and cell phones were something that was happening on Star Trek. – This is the time we’ve waited for, and if we don’t use this to our best advantage, we may not have to worry about it in the future. – Now tracks should find any and all extra money to promote what is going on at their ovals. Don’t lead with “free popcorn or $1 beer.” Create a festive environment where players and fans are excited about coming again. Just don’t open the doors and expect anything. This is a new frontier and the ball is in our hands. There should be no more blaming anything on competition, and maybe this is the time to cross-promote horse racing with your casino, racino, or new facility.


Churchill Downs presents the 34th running of the Stephen Foster Handicap on June 13, 2015. The race is a (G-1) $500,000 event, and the undercard is worth it’s weight in gold. By all accounts from Darren Rogers / senior director of communications and media services made comment that there is a very good possibility of parading Triple Crown winner American Pharoah on track. – People love history and they love even more to be a part of the event. If this holds true for the Churchill Downs card, you can expect a blowout crowd to watch the biggest star in racing walk under the historic Twin Spires. – Churchill has been talked about in negative light for sometime, but at the end of the day they get it. It is a blessing to have one of the best track management teams in racing, and to bring the champ to the races is a day you’ll want to keep on your calendar. – How many times have you read American Pharoah’s name in the past few days ? – It is everywhere, and it is our job to keep it alive and well.