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Old 01-19-2008, 12:18 PM   #1
Teach
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"Is Harness Racing In Trouble?"

I pose this question: "Is harness racing in trouble?"
When I go to the track (I live closest to Plainridge in Plainfield, MA), I see fewer and fewer patrons. The ones I do see are the "regulars." The same faces; the same places. I realize that in this day and age alot of harness racing fans stay at home and bet the races through an off-track service.
Yet, having said that, there just doesn't seem to be any infusion of new blood.

Further, the purses at the so-called second-tier tracks seem to be locked in a time warp. It was if "The Time Machine" had suddenly broken down and stopped two decades ago.

Is the solution: "Racino or Die?" I hope not. But that's what seems to be the only way to infuse much needed capital into purse accounts. Just take a look at tracks like Monticello, Chester and Yonkers (there are others). Their purses, particulary at Chester and Yonkers, are appreciably higher than comparable tracks like Freehold.

In addition, there just seems to be so much more competition for the betting dollar: casinos, lotteries, and a veritable potpourri of other forms of gambling.
Here in Massachusetts there will likely be, before too long, two or three casinos. One appears destined for Middleboro, MA, not far from Cape Cod.

Can anything be done to infuse life into harness racing, besides the racino approach? Or, is that the answer? Another question: "Will the racinos drive out the non-racino tracks?

Over the years, many different strategies have been tried. Yet, with the exception of bringing slots and gaming to the harness track, nothing else has seemed to have made much of an impact. I ask you: "Is Harness Racing In Trouble?" If so, is there an answer?
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Old 01-19-2008, 01:27 PM   #2
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Simple answer to your question is YES! When a major track like the Meadowlands allows a confirmed cheater, Eric Ledford, back into the driving colony after less than 2 years.

Even more than race fixing, this guy was part of drugging horses that improved their times up to 4 seconds! FOUR SECONDS! He obviously cashed a whole lot of bets, had plenty of money to pay his fines and lived large during his time off.

Now he comes back as an example to other drivers that fixing races and drugging horses is not only allowed, but very rewarding!

If the Harness bettors wanted to send a message to racing, they would not bet a single dime on ANY race Ledford was a part of!

Jim
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Old 01-19-2008, 05:36 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Teach
I pose this question: "Is harness racing in trouble?"
When I go to the track (I live closest to Plainridge in Plainfield, MA), I see fewer and fewer patrons. The ones I do see are the "regulars." The same faces; the same places. I realize that in this day and age alot of harness racing fans stay at home and bet the races through an off-track service.
Yet, having said that, there just doesn't seem to be any infusion of new blood.
Hey Walt,
All racing is in trouble and has been for nearly 100-years, in spite of a boom in the 1960's and 70's.
The facilities have not placed programs in effect (i. e., customer service and effective marketing techniques) that would assure their success for future generations.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Teach
Further, the purses at the so-called second-tier tracks seem to be locked in a time warp. It was if "The Time Machine" had suddenly broken down and stopped two decades ago.
Purses at B, C. D tracks have not increased their purses anything close to the rate of inflation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Teach
Is the solution: "Racino or Die?" I hope not. But that's what seems to be the only way to infuse much needed capital into purse accounts. Just take a look at tracks like Monticello, Chester and Yonkers (there are others). Their purses, particulary at Chester and Yonkers, are appreciably higher than comparable tracks like Freehold.
SLOTS was never intended to be a permanent solution, rather a step along the way.
Unfortuantley, the rewards of slots (rather than designating a major share towards marketing) have gone directly into the pockets of tracks and purses.
That farce of solution neither saves or improves anything.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Teach
In addition, there just seems to be so much more competition for the betting dollar: casinos, lotteries, and a veritable potpourri of other forms of gambling.
Here in Massachusetts there will likely be, before too long, two or three casinos. One appears destined for Middleboro, MA, not far from Cape Cod.

Can anything be done to infuse life into harness racing, besides the racino approach? Or, is that the answer? Another question: "Will the racinos drive out the non-racino tracks?

Over the years, many different strategies have been tried. Yet, with the exception of bringing slots and gaming to the harness track, nothing else has seemed to have made much of an impact. I ask you: "Is Harness Racing In Trouble?" If so, is there an answer?
"Trouble' is an understatement!

No answer!

John Campbell was interviewd at the 2007 Little Brown Jug.
Many folks believe that harness racing needs a commisioner across all jurisdictions and the one man for the job's success "would be", John Campbell.

This interview some 45 minutes long.
When opening, fast forward to 29 minutes (29:00 and listen to the next ten minutes):

http://easylink.playstream.com/usta/...07092001-1.wax
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Old 01-20-2008, 03:41 PM   #4
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It's in big trouble in Ohio, just a matter of time,the state is surrounded by gambling 360 degrees. The Ohio lottery is making up the difference.
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Old 01-20-2008, 04:07 PM   #5
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Harness is in trouble in ohio!
Ohio needs a casino.
Northfield has got a pretty impressive handle going now (It handles more money than any other half mile track in my opinion.
). But the purses pretty much blow. We have lost a lot of good horses, like Audit and Osbornes Bullet to tracks with bigger purses like the meadows.

But other tracks like Raceway Park.
Horses running for a purse of $1200???
How is that appealing to owners?
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Old 01-21-2008, 09:31 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whyhorseofcourse
Harness is in trouble in ohio!
Ohio needs a casino.
Northfield has got a pretty impressive handle going now (It handles more money than any other half mile track in my opinion.
Not when Maywood is running
Quote:
Originally Posted by whyhorseofcourse
But other tracks like Raceway Park.
Horses running for a purse of $1200??? How is that appealing to owners?
Well, they are $1000 horses. All over the midwest there are farms
with standardbred horses stabled that will race at county fairs for $600 purses.
They will always find a way to race their horses, believe me.

Harness racing will be fine as soon as the current situation passes into the
next critical situation. It's always something with these guys. I tell you,
it's a Hatield and McCoy thing.

Allowing Ledford back makes my stomach hurt. Indiana has adopted more
stringent testing and monitoring rules. The program is known as Integrity '06.

http://www.in.gov/hrc/index.html


The IHRC is meeting Wendsday, and I read somewhere (source unverified)
that they are considering additional rules for anabolic steroid testing. Plus,
I anticipate they will consider more racing dates in the future for both tracks.
Maybe I will post more information here after the IHRC meeting, there might
be some interesting notes to share with folks.

Murph
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Old 01-21-2008, 04:38 PM   #7
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If everyone thinks it is in trouble now, 20 years from now there will be some serious trouble. Being young myself (22), I can say that there is very little appeal to horse racing to my age group. Very few people my age attend the races. They do nothing to target our age group when they should realize that their future is in our hands. I've been going to the races since I was about 13. Why? Because my dad/uncle are regulars over at the OTB and Balmoral out here in IL. If my dad wasn't into horse racing I would guarentee that I never would have gotten into it the way I did. 75% of the people my age couldn't even explain the difference between harness and thoroughbred racing. Tracks need to start targeting younger crowds, whether it be free admission/program/hot dog whatever, they just need something. I've managed to turn a few of my friends onto horse racing, but still most aren't appealed by it.
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Old 01-21-2008, 08:21 PM   #8
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Yes, it is in trouble in Ohio. The state (aka the Columbus Dispatch) views the horse racing industry as something that they would be happy to see die on the vine.

MTR would probably like sell Scioto Downs for a huge loss if there were any takers.

In 10 years I only see Northfield and the county fairs left. The purses at the fairs will be much lower as they are subsidized by the betting at the Tbred tracks who are in similar trouble.
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Old 01-22-2008, 06:06 PM   #9
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You have to hand it to Charlie Hills wife or widow, she knew when to sell, 10 million was'nt bad for a dead drive-in movie, MTR put another 8 million in the gaming bill a couple yrs. ago and took another bath.Down 18 million I wounder who's idea that was,I bet he's not longer with MTR anymore.

It's reported that Ohio is losing 250 million yearly to folks going to outside states to gamble.At least 8 flights a day leave Columbus for Las Vegas.The Ohio lottery has an outlet in every dirt crack in this state and know one has ever understood where all that money's going.Next time your in Wheeling Wv or in Indiana check out the Ohio cars in the parking lot?
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Old 02-07-2008, 01:05 AM   #10
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I think it is complete sheet that Strickland is now suddenly supporting Keno in Ohio. And it apparantely doesn't even need legislative support or a vote. Gambling was a horrible thing when adding slots were on the ballot, and even more horrible when adding the instant gaming machines. Now a complete change...
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Old 02-07-2008, 12:47 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ALostTexan
I think it is complete sheet that Strickland is now suddenly supporting Keno in Ohio. And it apparantely doesn't even need legislative support or a vote. Gambling was a horrible thing when adding slots were on the ballot, and even more horrible when adding the instant gaming machines. Now a complete change...
It was horrible because the VLT amendment money was to be controled by the Ohio Board of Regents for scholarships,The public was completely duped.
Where Strickland comes from Keno is the same thing as Bingo. ...Go Ohio!
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