Breeders’ Cup – The Aftermath – Time for a Long Winter Nap

by Ed Meyer

posted on November 6, 2018 in Blogroll, Breeders Cup, General Discussion, Horse Racing, | No Comments >>

The Breeders’ Cup is in the books, and the fans have gone home. – The only reminder is piles of discarded programs and a floor full of tickets. As the big weekend lived up to the hype, I’m left with only one question. – “How do we get people involved all year round?” – The question may be one without an easy answer, or at least one that takes great dedication to the sport. – The industry as a whole goes to sleep after the Breeders’ Cup. Don’t discard this thought as it’s true. No more big races for a while, and it’s going to be a bit of time before the next round of Derby preps hit the calendar. So what’s a track to do?

The average track won’t have a million dollar race on the docket, and if there are a handful of small stakes you are lucky. – But we have to make do with what we have to offer. – The part that eludes me is there is no celebration of other tracks big races. – Think of it like this. They put up the money, the show, and all of the work. Other tracks can ride on the party wagon with free seating, a handicapping seminar, a free handicapping contest, or free program for the target track that offers up the next big races. – You aren’t going to fill the place to capacity but you’ll get 40-50 more bettors through the doors. Multiply that 100 times a year, and you have another 4,000 – 5,000 customers coming in your doors to showcase your facility.

We are all guilty of the “build it and they will come.”  – Tracks aren’t going to partner with everyone except those with the same ownership. – But there is no reason why we can’t celebrate the Thoroughbred all year long. – Simulcast times aren’t as lucrative as live racing, but there’s no harm in trying to keep the handle churning. – It is the little things that make all the difference to horseplayers.

Free seating should be in effect every day. This excludes your restaurant area of course. – You may charge for your marquee race days, the Triple Crown, and Breeders’ Cup. – The rest should be free. – Don’t be the only game in town to charge someone to make a bet and have a seat. Let them get comfy and stay awhile.

Clean and ready. – This is your race book manager’s job. They walk the race book an hour before doors. – Lights are on, the betting carrels are clean, TVs are on, and a channel lineup at every station. – Clerks should have a recap book to know what tracks are taken and what time they run. – There should be posted behind glass a monthly schedule, operation times, and future events. – Make it their home and they’ll stay.

Be available. – Simulcast time is a great time for managers to peruse the race book. – During the day each manager is to spend some time walking around and chatting with players. – This is time well spent and they feel served. – Don’t stay too long as they came to gamble not talk.

Buy a soda, bring out a couple programs, a handful of pens, caps with your track logo. – I used to walk around and pass out something a few times a week and it went miles with guests. – When they see you coming they’re more inclined to speak and let you know what’s going on.

Listen. – Sounds easy, but just spend some time before the day gets busy and listen. – Not the same customers every time and give them a person they can contact. – This makes it so much easier during live racing.

On slow days, have food service bring in a cart of hot dogs and fixings. – Let them have a little bite on the house. If you do this during the slow days, I wonder what we can do for the big ones.


Racetrack fans are easy to please. There will always be ones that have every answer and complain you didn’t give them a cap. But you’ll start growing a customer base and begin relations. – It has been many moons ago I worked in this capacity at Turfway Park and River Downs. But when players see me they still want to talk, and most think I still work in that capacity. – Taking the time is worth every second. Get to know your customer base and don’t assume they know you. Sit for a few, shake a few hands and be available. – It’s a little more shoe leather but well worth it.

Breeders’ Cup is the pinnacle event of racing and afterward, we start going to sleep. – A shame I say as it should be year-round communication. Grow your fan base with simple gestures and low-cost ideas. –  It’s not too late and stop thinking about sitting in your office making up for that tough live meet. – Get back out and act like your job depends on it. – In reality, it really does.