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HRU Feedback (2018-02-04)

February 4, 2018

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Powers that be put customers at bottom of their to-do list

In the January 28 HRU – Sal Guagliardo bemoaned the problems with horses not making it to the start of the race, and pushed for a refund for anyone who bet on such horses. His timing was excellent. Not only does it reflect on money lost on his example, RECEIVERSHIP, but it coincides with the suggestion made by John Campbell to the USTA rules committee. Please correct me if I’m wrong, but my interpretation of what I read is that Campbell suggested it — and it was RE-JECTED! Once again, the powers-that-be showed that customer satisfaction is that bottom of their to-do list.

Speaking of RECEIVERSHIP , here’s a fun fact. Despite costing horseplayers thousands of dollars with his pre-start antics in two consecutive starts, RECEIVERSHIP was allowed to race at Freehold, WITHOUT HAVING TO QUALIFY! Needless to say, the players who lost thousands on him in his previous two start were not interesting in wagering on him despite racing in the lowest class at Freehold. With a handle approximately 1/10th of the money bet on him at the Meadowlands, he went off at 9-5. He won by 20 (not a typo) lengths.

Speaking of John Campbell, he made another great suggestion that was rejected. It involved incorporating wind speed and direction factors in to the racing program. I thought it was a great idea and WOULD HAVE BEEN a great asset to players (aka, customers), but refer back to my previous comment on the powers-that-be.

I’m OK with bringing recalls back.

— Gil Winston / Manalapan, NJ

Two letters everyone should read

In the “Feedback” section of last week’s Harness Racing Update (2018-01-28 HRU Feedback) were two letters that I would urge every single person who professes to care about the sport and its future read!

Both were written by two racetrack “lifers,” who make excellent points — particularly, the second letter about the cost of purchasing multiple programs at Pompano.
There is one steadfast tenet for EVERY business: Giving the public more of a product for which there is little demand, is a remedy to go broke.

I often read many thoughts and ideas on social media from “insiders” — those who claim they can save harness racing — most dealing with making on-track changes, varying race distances, lowering takeout, et al.

Nice ideas all, but, in my view, akin to rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.
The simple, irrefutable fact, is that harness racing has not been on the general public’s radar screen since its virtual monopoly ended nearly two generations ago — when fathers routinely brought their kids to the racetrack to indulge in the pleasures of pari-mutuel wagering — who, in turn, brought their kids for “a taste.”

In my view, harness racing MUST reinvent itself. Social media has created a false illusion that because so many “harness people” comment on harness matters, that harness matters.

Sizzle must be created! We must figure out a way to convey a message to the general public, that if you’re not into harness racing, then you’re missing a ton o’ fun — and easy money, too!

That, of course, would require a concerted effort — getting everyone on the same page and backing a solid plan to bring the sport back into the public’s consciousness. That would mean that the pervasive, well-documented, bickering that takes place regularly between warring factions, must cease immediately!

Hmmmmm….. on second thought, never mind.

— Steve Ross / Medford, NJ

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