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Old 04-24-2017, 09:45 AM   #1
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Where did all the horses go?

Santa Anita had to cancel Thursday because of a lack of entries.

SANTA ANITA!

And looking over the Mountaineer card tonight, FOUR of the NINE races are FIVE horse fields!! Mountaineer used to have pretty decent-sized fields...

Guess that foal shortage is really starting to kick in these days...

Would love to hear from the folks who say we shouldn't be thinking CONSOLIDATION in the racing industry...we need MORE TRACKS!
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Old 04-24-2017, 09:54 AM   #2
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It's incredible. You cannot bet or watch this product. I've seen more 2 and 3 horse races in the past few months than I can ever remember.
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Old 04-24-2017, 09:56 AM   #3
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Apparently they all went to Evangeline Downs
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Old 04-24-2017, 10:11 AM   #4
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Santa Anita had to cancel Thursday because of a lack of entries.

SANTA ANITA!

And looking over the Mountaineer card tonight, FOUR of the NINE races are FIVE horse fields!! Mountaineer used to have pretty decent-sized fields...

Guess that foal shortage is really starting to kick in these days...

Would love to hear from the folks who say we shouldn't be thinking CONSOLIDATION in the racing industry...we need MORE TRACKS!
And Mountaineer just cut days and still can't put even a mediocre card out.
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Old 04-24-2017, 10:33 AM   #5
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as small as these fields are they will only get smaller with contraction. when you have to close up tracks all you have is a very unhealthy game that will eventually go kaput.

if you get rid of the smaller tracks you won't have any place to go with the horses that don't make the bigger circuits. if you have no place to go then people will stop buying horses, if they stop buying horses then the breeders will stop breeding them.

this is really a vicious circle that seems to be ending up in a death spiral .

40 years ago there were 25k people at a race track on a weekday afternoon and that was with a population 1/3 rd of what it is today. with all source marketing now in racing you have about 1/3rd the amount of people interested in the game.
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Old 04-24-2017, 10:43 AM   #6
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At some point track management, the CHRB, and the TOC will have to face reality.

THEY created this.

It started in 2009 when the above named entities lobbied the CA Legislature and Governor for a bill that (as a trial balloon) brought 24.02% exacta takeout to Los Al and the Cal Fair circuit.

During the first six months of that (first) takeout increase ON TRACK handle at Los Al dropped 27% vs. the prior year.

And when I pointed that out to the above named entities:

They said the drop in on track handle didn't matter and that "We're doing just fine."

And based on the words that I quoted ("We're doing just fine.") which were spoken by Los Al track management to the Commissioners of the CHRB during a public CHRB meeting: The Commissioners of the CHRB voted 7 to 0 to make the takeout increase at Los Al and the Cal Fairs permanent.

The following year the above named entities (track management, the CHRB, and the TOC) doubled down on the idea that the customer doesn't matter.

They lobbied the CA Legislature and Governor for a bill (SB1072) that brought 22.68% exacta takeout to Santa Anita, now closed Hollywood Park, Golden Gate Fields, and Del Mar.

When the SB1072 takeout increase went into effect on Jan 01, 2011 the result was predictable:

Handle fell.

Purses went down (not up as promised.)

Total revenue for tracks fell. (To the point that hundreds of jobs were cut.)

Demand for Cal Breds has fallen.

At this point it's painfully obvious.

SB1072 has been a colossal failure.

You see THEY (track management, the CHRB, and the TOC) are still operating under the belief system that the customer doesn't matter and that it's ok to raise prices in the face of falling demand.

At some point track management, the CHRB, and the TOC will have to face reality.

You see the number of horses bred each year is a function of demand.

As in total customer spend and demand for your racing product.

Ignore that, and you get where Cal Racing finds itself today.


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Old 04-24-2017, 10:59 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by lamboguy View Post
as small as these fields are they will only get smaller with contraction. when you have to close up tracks all you have is a very unhealthy game that will eventually go kaput.

if you get rid of the smaller tracks you won't have any place to go with the horses that don't make the bigger circuits. if you have no place to go then people will stop buying horses, if they stop buying horses then the breeders will stop breeding them.

this is really a vicious circle that seems to be ending up in a death spiral .

40 years ago there were 25k people at a race track on a weekday afternoon and that was with a population 1/3 rd of what it is today. with all source marketing now in racing you have about 1/3rd the amount of people interested in the game.
Who said anything about getting rid of just smaller tracks?
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Old 04-24-2017, 11:06 AM   #8
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Jeff's right but takeout is only scratching the surface. if you want to cut down the interest in this sport this game sure has found the way. 3 breeders cups ago 1/3rd of the races were won by either Chad Brown, Bob Baffert and Wesley Ward.

the biggest asset this sport had was that the star of the sport was the horse, today its the trainer and only a few of them. people want to handicap horses, not trainers, the game got it in reverse these days.

one would have thought that the internet and computers could only help grow the game. so everyone tried computerized numbers that included pace and statistics. today those numbers mean squat, its the trainers that rule this game now not the numbers that people like to see. add in the takeout and the breakage and you have a real disaster.

this is the perfect way for this game to die a slow painful death.
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Old 04-24-2017, 11:08 AM   #9
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Who said anything about getting rid of just smaller tracks?
for every 1 good horse there is probably something like 300 bad ones. the bad ones got to go somewhere and not to the killers.
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Old 04-24-2017, 11:12 AM   #10
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for every 1 good horse there is probably something like 300 bad ones. the bad ones got to go somewhere and not to the killers.
Things can't remain the same. Some tracks have gotta go...no two ways about it.

It's cold, hard, business fact.
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Old 04-24-2017, 11:15 AM   #11
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Jeff's right but takeout is only scratching the surface. if you want to cut down the interest in this sport this game sure has found the way. 3 breeders cups ago 1/3rd of the races were won by either Chad Brown, Bob Baffert and Wesley Ward.

the biggest asset this sport had was that the star of the sport was the horse, today its the trainer and only a few of them. people want to handicap horses, not trainers, the game got it in reverse these days.

one would have thought that the internet and computers could only help grow the game. so everyone tried computerized numbers that included pace and statistics. today those numbers mean squat, its the trainers that rule this game now not the numbers that people like to see. add in the takeout and the breakage and you have a real disaster.

this is the perfect way for this game to die a slow painful death.
Well said. I feel like the next 5-10 years will be a pivotal time frame for the industry, especially if decoupling happens which is a real possibility. It is hard to be optimistic given the current climate of the industry, but I always view things in a positive light.
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Old 04-24-2017, 11:34 AM   #12
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Things can't remain the same. Some tracks have gotta go...no two ways about it.

It's cold, hard, business fact.
This.

Plus remaining tracks and players have to be OK with writing races for the horse population that's left. That means no more complaining from horseplayers when an A-level track cards a bunch of cheap claiming races on a frequent basis.
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Old 04-24-2017, 11:44 AM   #13
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Things can't remain the same. Some tracks have gotta go...no two ways about it.

It's cold, hard, business fact.
opposite way around, you need more people interested in the game from lower levels to keep this game alive. football and basketball get their players from colleges, major league baseball gets theirs from colleges and the minor leagues. often times people rather watch the college games before the professional ones. spring training and minor league baseball has plenty of interest in it these days and that is specifically what keeps that game ticking.
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Old 04-24-2017, 11:48 AM   #14
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It's just too bad that the cure for short fields seems to be to eliminate more active participants, both human and equine, because that is what happens. I'm really surprised that this gets argued in a strictly 'for or against' proposition since the game can stand to lose tracks, but not the participants. That's the tough eye to thread, retaining the population so that it does actually shift to other locations rather than just giving up altogether.
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Old 04-24-2017, 12:02 PM   #15
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And Mountaineer just cut days and still can't put even a mediocre card out.
Our numbers will pick up now that Mahoning Valley has closed. And turf racing resumes May 1. We are the only track in this part of the country with a turf course. That's our ace in the hole.
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