O’Meara: New Year’s resolutions for racetracks

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Horse Race Insider’s Brendan O’Meara details his hopes for the sport of racing, and for the horseplayer in a recent column. In addition to curiosity over the ramifications of the inaugural Road to the Kentucky Derby system, O’Meara writes that horseplayers are interested in seeing some changes from racetracks in 2013. Among his suggestions is a list of reader’s ideas for tracks’ resolutions on behalf of their handicappers. 
Included in the list:
“1-Free parking. I paid the gas and tolls to get there. 
2- Free admission. Casinos don’t charge admission. 
3- Free program or DRF. You can put advertising in them to get publishing costs back. 
4- Free hot dog and a beer. At least I’ll eat and be happy going home after a losing day. 
5- Give me a rebate on every dollar I bet. 
6- Lower takeout to a reasonable 10%. It will give me a better chance to turn a profit and make me happy. Besides I can stay in the game longer(maybe stay for the entire card) and you will get it back from my increased handle anyway.”

Horse Race Insider’s Brendan O’Meara details his hopes for the sport of racing, and for the horseplayer in a recent column. In addition to curiosity over the ramifications of the inaugural Road to the Kentucky Derby system, O’Meara writes that horseplayers are interested in seeing some changes from racetracks in 2013. Among his suggestions is a list of reader’s ideas for tracks’ resolutions on behalf of their handicappers. 

Included in the ten-item list, O’Meara writes:

“1-Free parking. I paid the gas and tolls to get there. 

2- Free admission. Casinos don’t charge admission. 

3- Free program or DRF. You can put advertising in them to get publishing costs back. 

4- Free hot dog and a beer. At least I’ll eat and be happy going home after a losing day. 

5- Give me a rebate on every dollar I bet. 

6- Lower takeout to a reasonable 10%. It will give me a better chance to turn a profit and make me happy. Besides I can stay in the game longer(maybe stay for the entire card) and you will get it back from my increased handle anyway.”

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  • http://Bellwether4u.com James Staples

    AMEN!!!…AMEN!!!…& some more AMEN!!!…hope all race track owners READ this & get off their GREEDY A$$E$ so “THE GAME” can get BACK TO THE TOP…Where the HELL IT BELONGS!!!…GREAT ARTICIAL!!!…ty…

  • David

    LOL.  The guys in DC
    are attempting to come up with creative ways to keep its business going by
    assessing its ‘customers’, aka its captive audience.   Tracks impose assessments on its captive audience as well. But,
    unlike the government whose captive audience can (and, by God will) pay more, a
    track’s customer base is betting as much as they fiscally can.  Therefore until and unless additional bodies
    start playing the races, tracks have to have those revenue streams to open the
    doors.  Put another way, racing fans’
    wish list should be epiphanies by more individuals than themselves.

  • Francis Bush

    O’Meara is hopelessly optimistic. Race track people are in the business to make money and not give much in return. He forgot the missing link. We would all be much better if we could keep the vets from robbing us horse owners. Ever receive a vet bill? It borders on the IRS. No chance to end either. Happy New Year

  • Bks

    Nice ideas but lower takeout ?  For whatever reason, this whole industry and all the politicians will never get this concept. it is a simple no brainer that will never fly. Too bad.

  • equinevet

    Start by hiring trainers who don’t sit in the casino all morning or the track kitchen playing cards…I hardly see any trainers under a horse anymore or god forbid teaching a groom how to apply leg wraps or mud or hydrotherapy…much easier to just call in the vet and load em up on nsaids, legend, adequan and useless vitamin and mineral jugs or shots.  Medication and diagnostics have their place in racing but as an ex-track practitioner I can say that the vast majority of the time I was instructed to over-medicate against my advice.  If I didn’t comply with trainer request they’d just get someone else.  Oh, and was I ever asked to bill an Adequan shot when I’d just injected a joint with corticosteroid so the owner wouldn’t know his horse had a joint problem????  Yep, but did not comply with that request – and it cost me business.  

  • Concerned Observer

    I especially like number 8. “Card more distance races.” I believe it would be good for the sport and good for the breed.

  • http://twitter.com/EJXD2 Ed DeRosa

    The vast majority of costs related to producing a program aren’t related to publishing the physical program but rather gathering, maintaining, and presenting the intellectual property contained inside.

  • Charlie Davis

    Agreed, vet bills are ridiculous.  Why then do the owners organizations(I’m looking at you TOC) never address the costs?  They do all that they can to take more and more from the players for purses but never make an effort to lower their cost base.

    Reminds me of our current government.  Tax and spend isn’t sustainable.  

  • Ron Crookham

    Can’t argue with O’Meara, well thought out list :)

  • Steve W

    The one thing I never understood is when the Racino model was introduced it was sold to state legislatures as a way to improve the quality of racing in at the host track.Bigger purses equal better horses.With all due respect it doesn’t seem to be the case. As usual the legs that hold the sport up, the fans, were completely ignored in the racino equation. If the race tracks benifit from Racinos and the horseman benifit why not the fans with a decrease in takeout. If takeout was reduced to flat 10% the fan base would increase exponentially.Most good handicappers lose but over time lose less than the takeout.But based on the greed of race track owners the chances of anything like this ever happening is less than zero.

  • http://twitter.com/BrendanOMeara Brendan O’Meara

    Thanks for all the comments and thanks to Tabasco Cat, a frequent commenter on HRI, who crafted the list. I merely riffed on his ideas. I’ve got to give credit where credit is due.

    Thanks again and happy new year to all!

    B

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