HRU Feedback (2018-04-29)

April 29, 2018

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Agreeing with Kaniuk

I agree with a recent comment by John Kaniuk. (full story here)

”For starters, someone up top in harness racing needs to contact TVG about how they mishandle harness racing. They do an awful job and no one says a thing?” Why?

Why do Pocono and Meadowlands live races seem to go off at the same time? Even after each track has the horses on track several minutes past the scheduled race post times the races seem to be raced at the same times. Is this done on purpose or has no one in management noticed?

— Edward Richardson / Ocean City, MD

RE: Towers and the 5 per cent marketing plan

With all due respect to Mr. Towers (full story here) he, in my opinion, has not addressed the fundamental issues with marketing and harness racing. There are several. First, you must understand that regardless of what the outside world thinks and what common sense would dictate: If the patient neither wants treatment or believes they are sick, then no amount of pushing, prodding or common sense will convince them otherwise. Secondly, the harness racing world with few exceptions rejects change and it is impossible to drive a square peg in a round hole. I fear that the requisite changes needed will not begin until there is turnover at the management levels within the various major tracks, corporations and entities or transparency clarifies all financial motives.

To date, the money still continues into the coffers and it will be “Business as Usual” until such a time the CFO raises the red flag at the corporate level. Because the majority of the racetrack bureaucracies refute outside interference, the end game could be to allow the tracks to shutter. If the racinos across this country and Canada have a net profit margin of 5-6 per cent from racing revenues compared to 25 per cent from casino revenues, a Harvard degree is not required to understand the dynamics and anticipate the changes.

My guess is that if we were to use Yonkers as an example and they were to roll-out their business model for us to see, I’m guessing their five (5) year forecast or perhaps the ten (10) year version would have the doors shutting on the track and an expansion in the casino end because, after all, they have still got their casino license.

In business, it is impossible to understand the moves and motives without a clear understanding of the dynamics.

— David Perry / Dearborn, MI

RE: Scratches in horizontal wagers.

(In response to story 1 and story 2)

I have an idea. In the event of a late scratch (after the betting period for said wager is concluded) why has the idea of making this an “ALL” race not been entertained?

Yes, in small pool where a Pick 4 pool may be a few thousand dollars, an ALL race can make the payoffs pretty thin. BUT…it’s better than tearing them up.

I have been victimized by the “must have post time favorite” rule and, to date, have NEVER cashed a single horizontal ticket on one of these “here, you get this horse.”

However, I have been fortunate to have never had a single on my ticket scratch. So I haven’t been burned too badly.

— Ken Young / Indian Trail, NC

Love to bet amateur races

Regarding amateur driver races (full story here) — I love to bet these! It’s better than having to factor in which ‘driver buddies’ are going to let their friend in instead of parking them to a 54 half. Those amateur drivers are ruthless and most are pretty darn good.

— Dave Miller / Ocala, FL

More on amateur races vs. Yonkers stakes

I found the article on handle at the Meadowlands and Yonkers tracks interesting. (full story here) That being said you did not indicate why an amateur race would out perform a stakes race. The reason is two fold. First and foremost amateur races provide an opportunity for a nice payout. There are some amateur drivers who are better than others and if you can pair them with a live horse the payout potential is far above what a payout would be on a Levy final. It’s all about potential return. Betting short-priced, stakes-quality races just does not provide the return to get the blood going even in exotics. The second obvious reason is just the average win price on a half-mile track is below what it is on a mile track. A horse that draws the 6-7-8 hole at a half-mile is at a large disadvantage. Those same posts on a mile track and less so which spreads out the odds accordingly.

— Steve Todaro / Staten Island, NY

GSY amateur club gives thanks

I help run the GSY Club. Thank you for writing about us. (full story here)

No doubt there are differences between our races and pros (no give and go, no holes in the first turn, unpredictable happenings, horses getting “back-doored” at the start, everyone drives like every race is the Hambletonian). I could go on.

We acknowledge that driving in an amateur race is much different than a pro race and that there is a big difference between the drivers in our club and professional drivers.

That said, it is not an accident that this has been successful. If bettors didn’t like our product we would not be racing at the Meadowlands.

What creates our handle is the unpredictability of our races. A 3-5 shot in an amateur race is a much different bet than in a pro race.

We are on the card weekly because the bettors have spoken with their money and put us there. If we were handling $60,000 per race I do not think we’d be lucky enough to get to race at the Meadowlands every week. I believe that our record handle on a race is about $295,000.

— David Glasser / co-manager, GSY Club

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