HRU Feedback (2017-06-18)

Salute to Leavitt

Kudos to Alan Leavitt on his Letter to the Editor on June 11 (full feedback here).

I’m in complete agreement on all his thoughts.

However, one name is conspicuously absent from his recommendations for the first female to be installed in the Harness Racing Living Hall of Fame.

Margaretta Wallenius Kleberg should be at, or very near the top of any persons, male or female to be considered for Harness Racing’s greatest honor.

— The Curmudgeon / Hanover, PA

More Curmudgeon

Before I say anything else, I will admit to my having said many foolish things throughout the blessed life that I’ve lived. However, nothing that I have ever said, in my opinion comes close to trumping what Dean Towers said in his closing paragraph in yesterday’s HRU (full story here).

In it he says that he believes that 3,000 paying customers are of more advantage to the industry than the 8,000 who might otherwise show up.

There are several reasons for my opinion.

1. The 3,000 paying customers will be there in addition to the 5,000 others who are not there. The 3,000 will presumably be betting. Who is there to say that a portion, maybe even a significant portion of the missing 5,000, would not have been helping the handle?

2. He also says that a significant portion of those usually in attendance on NA Cup night will be leaving to go play the slots. From my personal experience on NA Cup night, this is totally untrue. The vast majority of those in attendance usually stay for the card — at the very least until the NA Cup has concluded.

3. What about the families who attend, many of them with young children with them? Will the slot parlor accommodate them? I think not.

4. Even if the loss of attendees is just 1,000 and not the 5,000 that Mr Towers speculates, it is 1,000 people that our sport can little afford to lose. Those 1,000 or 5,000 missing people could translate into 10 or 50 lifelong fans.

I’m of the firm belief that the way to best attract fans is through exposing them to the finest racing that we have. That is usually to be found on North America Cup night.

I write this well before last night’s races. I sincerely hope that WEG’s experiment works well and that not one single fan does not come because of the $10 charge.

Somehow I very much doubt that this will happen.

— The Curmudgeon / Hanover, PA

Gingras a “breath of fresh air”

It is a breath of fresh air to hear top driver Yannick Gingras (full story here) state the correct answer to harness racing’s major lack of exposure problem, i.e a percentage of purse money at every track to go towards marketing the sport. Surely it has been stated before — and my personal key focus the past 10 years — but to have a world-class driver state this is unique.

Actually I’m not surprised hearing Yannick preach a viable plan. He is very bright, perceptive and a trained student in finance and statistics. In his verbiage he infers another key point: That EVERY harness track can create a pool of funding for marketing, regardless of the size of the purse. Taking it one step further, the dollars or pool of marketing dollars MUST be utilized on a local basis by each individual track via a local marketing firm. This should not be a centralized project.

Folks, this isn’t brain surgery! It’s simple logic and to have a driver as well respected as Yannick saying it tells me other horseman may actually listen.

— Jimmy Bernstein / Boynton Beach, FL