Response to Leavitt’s latest on post-time drag
Mr. Leavitt claims that the post time drag is one of the worst situations known in the sports world. This is pure poppycock. Anyone who watches NFL football or NBA basketball is aware that the final two minutes of most games takes about a half an hour to complete. Most of us who bet online bet at the last possible second from the comfort of our homes. The drag is only annoying when we need to make a bathroom visit badly. I’m sure the comfort of home is ample compensation to most bettors. I certainly want to see the track get as high a handle as possible. If that includes a five-minute drag, so be it. I realize that writers tend to exaggerate, making every little thing a crisis. My wife is used to my reaction to the post time drag. “I’ll be down in a couple of minutes” is my normal reaction.
Alan Gatto / Roselle Park, NJ
Pompano Park shuts down
Sturman writes Pompano Park goes out with its head held high and it should (full story here). But wait a minute. Should Pompano be going out at all?
Though I am not privy to the roadmap leading to closure, there is a camp that believes Pompano lost its way with a strategic blunder. As casinos evolved in Florida the notion is Pompano elected to go it alone rather than partner with the more powerful thoroughbred lobby. Under advised, under-lobbied and underfunded, Pompano leadership found itself isolated from legislative powerbrokers while the thoroughbred cartel at Gulfstream Park wrote its own ticket.
The land value of Pompano Park, like that of Hollywood Park where SoFi stadium now sits, is far more valuable than any revenue harness racing could ever bring. So legislative protections were needed. Going in partnership with the thoroughbred lobby could very well have resulted in a different outcome. I recently visited Pompano for fun to watch Gulfstream’s Announcer Pete (Aiello) cruise by Gabe Prewitt in an eye catching stretch drive. Thankfully the excitement of this fundraising match race overshadowed the demise of the track itself. The main grandstand was shuttered, the PA system was not designed to be heard throughout, and not one railbird stood at the finish line (except me). Even there I used my mobile app to wager. And that says it all. What’s the allure to be physically present at the track rather than a wagering den in your own space.
Pompano should have been the “winter racing capitol” of the world. Though most top tier horses shut down over the winter, efforts could have been made to attract stables from Canada and the Midwest. Dave Miller, Tim Tetrick and Dexter Dunn made treks to south Florida this winter and they, with other drivers, trainers and stables, could have further enhanced Pompano racing over the years. Track programs show Ron Burke owned horses in the hands of Devan Miller, for example. As Mike Wilder observed in HRU, wintering in Florida is far better than the Ohio and Pennsylvania cold and snow. Unfortunately it’s too late. It will be interesting to see where Wally Hennessey, Dave Miller, Ricky Macomber, Rick Plano and the others take their winter tack.
Vincent Lee / Fort Lauderdale, FL