PAULICK TO EQUIBASE AND NTRA: STOP BEING SO NEGATIVE
By Ray Paulick
What the hell is wrong with Equibase, the industry’s official database, and the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, horse racing’s down and almost out league office?
Each month, Equibase compiles and the NTRA dutifully distributes a report called “Thoroughbred Racing Economic Indicators.” The report is very simple—in fact, it’s too simple. It is a month to month and year-to-year comparison of handle, purses, and racing days for North American Thoroughbred racing. Each month, as handle and purses decline, Equibase and the NTRA continue to send out this gloom and doom report without sharing the fact that the news really isn’t all bad.
We have learned from Monmouth Park’s 2010 meeting that less is more. The New Jersey track dramatically cut back on racing days; handle and purses per day soared. Nationally, the same is holding true, though to a lesser degree.
The most recent Equibase report for August shows an 8.03% decline in total handle, a 7.92% decline in total purses, and a 13.23% decline in racing days. NEGATIVE, NEGATIVE, NEGATIVE. Gee, I thought that was the media’s job, to be negative about this industry.
Doesn’t anyone at Equibase or the NTRA have a calculator? If they did, they might use it to insert an additional statistical line with a very positive piece of news on this monthly report, namely that average handle per racing day in August INCREASED by 6.0% and average purses per day INCREASED by 6.1%
(FYI, Bloodhorse.com ran the story with a headline reading: “Indicators: Handle Off $100 Million in August,” while Frank Angst wrote a story for Thoroughbred Times.com headlined by: “Wagering, Purse Figures Show Some Encouraging Trends.”)
Maybe Equibase and the NTRA don’t want to get involved in spin. Just the facts.
Well, this isn’t spin. The fact is pari-mutuel handle on Thoroughbred racing, not only in August, but for several other months since the Paulick Report first pointed this out in March, has increased for each racing day.
C’mon Equibase and NTRA. Stop being so negative.