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Old 09-20-2023, 02:39 PM   #61
VeryOldMan
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There is no level of consolidation that will make racing flourish.
We disagree profoundly, but I can't argue about the ultimate trajectory of this sport. I'm in the camp of consolidating back to a handful of jurisdictions, with some boutique meets thrown in.

But one of my "handful" is California, given Santa Anita as such a logical Breeders Cup venue, but I sense from this board that I may be whistling past the graveyard re California.
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Old 09-20-2023, 03:31 PM   #62
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We disagree profoundly, but I can't argue about the ultimate trajectory of this sport. I'm in the camp of consolidating back to a handful of jurisdictions, with some boutique meets thrown in.

But one of my "handful" is California, given Santa Anita as such a logical Breeders Cup venue, but I sense from this board that I may be whistling past the graveyard re California.
Our costs are too high, our real estate too valuable, our land too far away from other horse racing centers, our culture too opposed to subsidies.

We're probably going away (except maybe a boutique Del Mar meet).
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Old 09-20-2023, 03:54 PM   #63
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There is no level of consolidation that will make racing flourish.
IMO we aren't talking about flourishing.

IMO we are talking about surviving.

The industry needs the cash to pay for the cost of operating the remaining tracks, to have purses high enough to keep owners other than the super rich buying horses, and to have a track take that keeps gamblers interested. IMO, it has to do that independent of casino money or it will always be under threat of having the plug pulled.

There are only two ways to generate free cash.

1. Raise revenue

2. Reduce costs

There are a few ideas for attracting new gamblers that might work that Jeff and others have tossed out from time to time, but IMO they all involve long term thinking and accepting larger short term losses to hopefully gain long term (but they may not even work). No one in this industry (or governments) seems capable of thinking past the current meet and moving rapidly. So I can't see anything working except a rapid contraction of tracks and an all out effort to at least keep handle relatively stable within that smaller number of tracks and lower cost structure. I hope I'm very wrong. I really do. But so far the inevitable looks more inevitable.
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Old 09-20-2023, 05:10 PM   #64
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Sad, counting the defunct 4 legged and 4 wheeled racing venues I have been to is getting really, really, old. I will have to sit and count but on a wild guess 75% of them no longer exist. I must be bad luck to any venue that holds racing I set foot in.
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Old 09-20-2023, 05:48 PM   #65
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IMO we aren't talking about flourishing.

IMO we are talking about surviving.

The industry needs the cash to pay for the cost of operating the remaining tracks, to have purses high enough to keep owners other than the super rich buying horses, and to have a track take that keeps gamblers interested. IMO, it has to do that independent of casino money or it will always be under threat of having the plug pulled.

There are only two ways to generate free cash.

1. Raise revenue

2. Reduce costs

There are a few ideas for attracting new gamblers that might work that Jeff and others have tossed out from time to time, but IMO they all involve long term thinking and accepting larger short term losses to hopefully gain long term (but they may not even work). No one in this industry (or governments) seems capable of thinking past the current meet and moving rapidly. So I can't see anything working except a rapid contraction of tracks and an all out effort to at least keep handle relatively stable within that smaller number of tracks and lower cost structure. I hope I'm very wrong. I really do. But so far the inevitable looks more inevitable.

I can understand from a business perspective a small track closing because they cannot generate enough revenue to pay their expenses. What I can't understand is how closing the small tracks will help the large tracks survive. The handle from the small tracks, if moved to the large tracks, is hardly enough to make any difference. Also, what could be done, realistically, to meaningfully lower the cost structure for the remaining tracks?
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Old 09-20-2023, 06:26 PM   #66
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I can understand from a business perspective a small track closing because they cannot generate enough revenue to pay their expenses. What I can't understand is how closing the small tracks will help the large tracks survive. The handle from the small tracks, if moved to the large tracks, is hardly enough to make any difference. Also, what could be done, realistically, to meaningfully lower the cost structure for the remaining tracks?
I don't see a lot of C-type tracks running as an issue that's plaguing the game.That's not It.I would try to teach people that you don't have to necessarily only bet the boutique/elite meets...you don't get style points for losing at them.It's still a horse race even at a small track.
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Old 09-20-2023, 11:43 PM   #67
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I don't see a lot of C-type tracks running as an issue that's plaguing the game.That's not It.I would try to teach people that you don't have to necessarily only bet the boutique/elite meets...you don't get style points for losing at them.It's still a horse race even at a small track.

I have to credit Andrew Beyer for the term, I love the leaky roof circuit tracks. If I had not been on the disabled list for damn near a month and unable to work I probably would pop for the $8 a piece or what they cost lifetime PP's on a horse to make sure I am not suffering from bad recall.


Once I place a wager on a horse and watch the race, you are my horse and I do not care if you are What's Your Bag at 6-5 in a $3200 starter allowance going 1-9/16 miles at Pomona or Flying Paster at 7-2 going against Spectacular Bid in the Big Cap at Santa Anita. The thrill of watching and hopefully cashing is the same.


I know for a fact What's Your Bag won for me. Against the Bid Flying Paster did not.
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Old 09-20-2023, 11:50 PM   #68
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I could never get a bead on Turf Paradise and quickly abandoned betting there. I did take one trip there and bet, when I lived in SoCal. I don't think I cashed a ticket, but enjoyed the trip, in the same visit we went to the also now defunct Phoenix Greyhound Park. I just sat down and counted, my earlier estimate of the death rate of car, dog and horse racing tracks was over estimated. They are only 60% gone, not 75%, still way too many.
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Old 09-21-2023, 12:11 AM   #69
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I'm hardly going to mourn the loss of TUP but this will keep happening so long as each state sets its own race dates. Racing needs more big days, spread out and across the country, not less. It needs shorter meets that consolidate out of state simulcast for bigger purses to make these big race dates happen.

The long, extended, pointless meets that trainers like for their day rates are a parasite on the industry

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Old 09-21-2023, 08:44 AM   #70
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We disagree profoundly, but I can't argue about the ultimate trajectory of this sport. I'm in the camp of consolidating back to a handful of jurisdictions, with some boutique meets thrown in.

But one of my "handful" is California, given Santa Anita as such a logical Breeders Cup venue, but I sense from this board that I may be whistling past the graveyard re California.
Racing has consolidated 50% in the last 30 years (50% fewer races in a year now than then). Is racing better now than 30 years ago?

The problem with the "handful of jurisdictions" idea is it's impossible, so you can be in that camp, but you can't demand 25 or 50 separate private businesses close down. If we get there via tracks slowly closing and/or cutting racing dates, it will take decades, and racing will continue as it is. Will it be better in 2050 when there are only 10 tracks? Who knows, but only five whales will be left betting by then anyway.
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Old 09-21-2023, 10:29 AM   #71
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Racing will survive in states that have their own farms and a thriving breeding industry. Maryland survived 20 years without purse supplements from our casinos. Every surrounding state had purses 50 to 75% higher than ours. Maryland survived because our farms are the meat and potatoes of every day racing. For the most part states that canít supply a good percentage of horses to fill their races will have a hard time surviving on Kentuckyís throw outs. States that donít have a horse racing industry will find it hard to survive because tracks and betting parlors arenít much different than fanduel and casinos. Fanduel and casinos are the best thing thatís happened to the thoroughbred bred horse. Thoroughbred horses are becoming less and less of a resource for state tax dollars. That takes the pressure off because itís no longer paramount to have races every day all year. Hopefully this will also take care of CAW problem. CAWís are around because states need the handle for taxes. I think the best model going forward will have states that have a horse racing industry behind their tracks. There are lots cable and streaming channels looking for viable afternoon programming. Sell the remaining tracks to these channels for daily programming. That puts racing alongside betting on football baseball etc.
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Old 09-21-2023, 11:16 AM   #72
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Racing has consolidated 50% in the last 30 years (50% fewer races in a year now than then). Is racing better now than 30 years ago?

The problem with the "handful of jurisdictions" idea is it's impossible, so you can be in that camp, but you can't demand 25 or 50 separate private businesses close down. If we get there via tracks slowly closing and/or cutting racing dates, it will take decades, and racing will continue as it is. Will it be better in 2050 when there are only 10 tracks? Who knows, but only five whales will be left betting by then anyway.
The reality is it is going to happen. The logic of simulcasting is everyone ends up betting on whatever circuit offers the most interesting betting products.

Now, if you have a boutique meet that can generate live attendance and hancle (Del Mar, Oaklawn, etc.), you can escape that, but otherwise, not.

It's not a matter as to whether the sport will be "better"-- its that if everyone can bet on everything, a small number of tracks will inevitably monopolize the handle.
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Old 09-21-2023, 11:48 AM   #73
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There are additional sources of revenue. These include subsidies from other businesses and extracting local, federal and state tax monies. Another way to advantage a business is to grant favorable tax collection status.
Any industry can apply for these things. All one needs to do is to convince policy makers that their industry is vital to the general public and is somehow disadvantaged without that help.
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Old 09-21-2023, 03:18 PM   #74
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There are additional sources of revenue. These include subsidies from other businesses and extracting local, federal and state tax monies. Another way to advantage a business is to grant favorable tax collection status.
Any industry can apply for these things. All one needs to do is to convince policy makers that their industry is vital to the general public and is somehow disadvantaged without that help.

If racing has to rely on government subsidies and tax incentives to survive, then there really is no hope.
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Old 09-21-2023, 03:30 PM   #75
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If racing has to rely on government subsidies and tax incentives to survive, then there really is no hope.
bingo

sooner or later those are going to go away, a lot of people need handouts and most agree that is not race tracks.
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