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Poll: What is Racing's Biggest Problem?
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What is Racing's Biggest Problem?

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Old 11-04-2008, 06:30 AM   #1
Hajck Hillstrom
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What is Racing's biggest problem?

My short list, and I'm curious as to your response. Please feel free to elaborate on your perspective.

Last edited by Hajck Hillstrom; 11-04-2008 at 06:38 AM.
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Old 11-04-2008, 09:23 AM   #2
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Although there are many, I vote other. My other is small fields!
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Old 11-04-2008, 09:27 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by brdman12
Although there are many, I vote other. My other is small fields!
Seems " too many races" would be connected to your reply. less races = bigger fields, to me.
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Old 11-04-2008, 11:00 AM   #4
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I chose other because I think most of your list is intertwined with the problem. I am not sure there is one clear cut solution.

For me, I would rather see 6 races on a card with fields of 8-10 horses and longer seasons. Of course smaller takeouts would be nice.
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Old 11-04-2008, 11:13 AM   #5
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It's a wonder there's any money left to churn thru the windows!
Say there's a $100,000 Pick-4 pool @ Los AL..
-25% Takeout= $75,000.. bombs win, P-4 pays +$5,300 for $1 to 14 tix
Feds pull 25% out of each winning ticket: +$1,300 withholding tax ...
Out of $100,000 bet, apprx.only $56,800 goes back to winners pockets!
(and that's if your state doesn't also hold onto a chunk on your big hit!)
RE-DICULOUS! Govt. taxes me when I earned the cash; taxed it when I bet it; THEN grabs a quarter of my score(to hold) when I finally do hit it "Big"!
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Old 11-04-2008, 11:16 AM   #6
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Although the list of problems seems very comprehensive, I think there should be absolutely no doubt to the fact that drug use is the biggest and most critical problem, modern horse racing is facing.

As years go by, it is becoming increasingly more difficult for the game to attract young crowds mainly due to the use of drugs that covert the betting pools to a pray for the insiders who posses the juice... If I ever be asked by a young guy who wants to get involved to the gambling scene I will have no hesitation to advice him to stay clear of horse racing and prefer other types of gambling where he might have the potential to actually beat the game (like holdem for example)...

In our era it is common to see a winner coming from a recent dead last performance with absolutely no excuses, who can be accounted only to use of drags and of course fraud.

The worst think though, is that nobody seems to really care about it! A handful of middle aged and retirees who are attending the racing in live is surely not the best audience to protest, the stewards remain silent and the racing press appears extremely tolerant and inactive....

The recently imposed regulation by NYRA regarding drugs looks like a joke, as it restricts ALL THE DRUGS EXCEPT FOUR SPECIFIC STEROIDS that can be used up to a specific period prior to the races. This is a ridiculous ruling that will only perpetuate the juice nightmare allowing trainers to find gazillions ways around itÖ.

Why they just donít totally ban anabolic steroids, enforcing random drug tests for all the horses in training with very strict penalties for the violators? They are so naÔve to believe that the crooked trainers, used to steal the bettors dollar using illegal medication will be discouraged be this wrist slapping ďregulationĒ?
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Old 11-04-2008, 11:51 AM   #7
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Lack of a central governing authority.
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Old 11-04-2008, 01:06 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Hajck Hillstrom
My short list, and I'm curious as to your response. Please feel free to elaborate on your perspective.
The racing information industry.

The prosective new fan is quickly instructed that he should buy a lot of accompanying products in order to increase chances for winning.

The prospective new fan is taught by grandpa's experience with that concept.

He follows in his father's footsteps to the casino.

The racing information industry has never taught the player how to play the game, if it did they would work themselves out of a job.

The racing industry has never taught the player how to play the game either, it needs to start doing so, right now.

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Old 11-04-2008, 01:26 PM   #9
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The most obvious problem is not amongst the choices. Injuries. The industry is spending millions in rennovating surfaces to prevent them, and is going though its worst public image because of injuries to high profilers like Barbaro and 8 Belles. I cant think of anything that turns the public off to the sport more than seeing horse and rider go down with tragic consequences.
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Old 11-04-2008, 03:03 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by point given
Seems " too many races" would be connected to your reply. less races = bigger fields, to me.
Yes, bigger fields with lower take would attract more money being bet.
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Old 11-04-2008, 03:09 PM   #11
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It's Obvious

I think everyone whoís posted to this thread has a very valid opinion. Itís clear by the responses that racing has many problems and all need to be addressed.

However, in my opinion, racingís biggest, most immediate, and most serious problem is the ADW issue. I think itís fairly obvious. Even if one could waive a magic wand and cure all of the other problems mentioned in this thread it wouldnít amount to a hill of beans if the general public canít get down a bet. Itís the gambling dollar that fuels the industry and without it the industry is dead in the water.

From my personal experience I can tell you that my own handle is down significantly over the past two years. Iím a big fan of the pick-4 and the pick-6 and I used to greatly enjoy playing the guaranteed pools in California. Letís look at some facts.

Iíll begin by pointing out that Iím a New York resident, not exactly a cultural or technological backwater. Since opening my very first ADW account with TVG years ago Iíve had to deal with:

-My TVG account being closed against my will due to some agreement between TVG and New York authorities banning TVG from offering services to New York residents.

-Having to open separate accounts with YouBet and xPressBet (due to exclusivity) in order to be able to have coverage for most major racing circuits.

-Having to throw my handicapping skills out the window when dirt tracks were replaced with synthetics in California and Kentucky.

-Currently being unable to bet California, Kentucky, and Florida due to ADW disputes.

-Currently being unable to access any online live video for any New York tracks.

Is it a shock to anyone that my wagering dollar remains in my pocket? The powers that be have gone to every effort to make it impossible and unenjoyable to bet and near unattainable to win. It defies common sense to be in the business of selling a product and then making it as difficult as possible for the customer to spend his dollar on your product. As handles decline and purses are cut the industry fiddles while Rome burns.

The solution is simple. Find a way to allow all ADWs to have access to all tracks and the ability to show all video signals in all states. That would, in a sense, fully open all spigots thereby allowing every horseplayer access to every track. That would fully maximize handle by removing all handcuffs from every player. Then it will be up to the customer as to whether he prefers to go to the track, go to an OTB, or to play online. If he can watch the video of every track online it can then be a personal decision as to which ADW site he prefers. A free market system will be established and it will force the ADW sites to innovate in terms of features and service. Personally I think YouBet is by far the most superior site on the Internet. Their interface is slick and aesthetically appealing, their Wager Pad makes entering bets very easy, and, as far as I can tell, they are the only online site that actually shows ďwill paysĒ for pick-4s and pick-6s, which I find astonishing. They are the only site that seems to implement upgrades and enhanced features from time-to-time and itís sad to see their business suffer as it has.

Once that issue is resolved and handle stabilizes and possibly increases, then and only then can the other important issues such as drugs and integrity be addressed. If it were up to me Iíd the tab synthetic surfaces as the second most relevant issue and focus on stopping the spread of synthetics and working toward getting the current synthetic tracks replaced with safe traditional dirt. US racing was founded on dirt races and the current population was bred for dirt. The move to unilaterally do away with and replace something as fundamental as the surface on which the game is played was reckless and poorly thought out. It threw under the bus both handicapper and horseman alike. Itís no shock to see Keeneland handle suffer when handicapping that surface is like throwing darts. California racing has now become two things; turf racing and synthetic racing that favors turf horses. The American dirt horse is left out in the cold, as clearly evidenced by results of this yearís Breeders Cup. Iím still waiting for any proponent of synthetic racing to explain how thatís a positive thing.

Solve those two problems and the racing industry, although still diseased, will at least find itself restored to firm footing from where further reforms and progress can be made and hopefully, with some sound decision making, find itself in a healthy growth mode.
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Old 11-04-2008, 05:17 PM   #12
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I've got some bad news for everyone who posted on this thread:

Each of you make good points, the bad news is that it's going to get far worse.
Racing is being controlled and manipulated by a group of elite, well connected and wealthy individuals who want to control the sport (and do) for their own personal gain.
They have reached across state lines to accomplish this and have strategically placed "their" people in prominient racing posts to assure the outcome of their agenda.
Now, with the implementation of slots, the handle becomes less and less of an issue and decline thereof will be countered by infusion of funds from the former.
This makes it even easier for tracks to say "go to hell" to they're supporters, the bettors, and believe me, after dealing with these guys on numerous occasions, those are precisely their words.

The installation of these artificial surfaces is a perfect example of decisions made in this industry without proper research to make an intelligent choice.
Just last week I briefly asked Bill Mott what he thought and he told me what many others are saying: It maybe, maybe, helps in some areas, and is worse in others and clearly not worth racing on it.
He thought that "only for training" might be the way to go.
He also told me of a very prominient jockey (who I wont name) who has complained to him of severe nose bleeds on the evenings when riding on synthetic tracks in the afternoon.
Think anyone bothered to do research regarding possible respiratory issues for jocks when they breathe ground tires and carpet fibers??

Several weeks ago, I posted this "agenda" regarding the banning of toe grabs and mud calks..... I provided NYRA trainers with a study which can be substantiated regarding injury statistics. (I pointed out that the trainers of this elite group that have taken control of the sport dont use toe grabs or mud calks, and they feel they are at a disadvantage to those trainers who do). The study clearly showed what all top trainers knew, the use of toe grabs and/or mud calks have no correlation with injury, in fact in the case of mud calks, horses were less likely to be injured.
I mean realistically, mud calks had been used in racing for over 50 yrs, and if they were excessively dangerous, horses would be snapping their legs with them left and right. I posted a list of the GREAT horses that have raced in them.

So, they ( racing elite )come up with an UNSUBTANTIATED study (probably never thinking in a million years someone would actually have a REAL study) and they implement rules nationwide to control what shoes all horses race in.
When NYRA management was confronted with this ( the REAL STUDY )at a horsemen's meeting, NYRA management were dumbfounded like deer in headlights.

The only way anything is ever going to get accomplished in this sport isn't going to happen.
You need a serious boycott of betting for a good 3 weeks or so.
I applaude HANA and what they are trying to accomplish.... it's a very uphill fight.
For those that think I'm making this "elietist" thing up, well, I'm not alone...
read the following:

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Old 11-04-2008, 05:36 PM   #13
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I didnít vote Doug because I couldnít find the ďall of the aboveĒ selection.

Even though I agree with 90% of what is written above the main issue that drives me insane is pool integrity.

The drugging of defenseless animals (that is actually defrauding the wagering public and should be prosecuted as such.) The ADW debacle, insane tax rates, lack of full disclosure with equipment / medications etcÖall demand immediate attention; but who can overcome some criminal past posting?
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Old 11-04-2008, 05:52 PM   #14
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I agree with Dan, I was looking for all of the above and I would add the
integrity of the jockey colony to your list. What I have seen over the last year has made me feel like I don't truly know this game for what it has become.

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Old 11-04-2008, 05:54 PM   #15
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"All of the above"

"None of the above"

They're the same. Every problem listed is valid, but in reality they aren't problems. They are symptons. The problem is that the industry's refusal to do what is necessary to make horse racing a robust business for everyone concerned over the long haul leaves it mired in a continuum of quick fixes in response to whatever each month's adverse public reaction places on the table. As soon as the clamor subsides it's back to business as usual.

At one time I was naive enough to think that the industry cared about "me" as a customer. Shame on me.
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