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Room for Growth
#1
https://harnessracing228.com/2017/02/10/174/
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#2
Very good article. Quoting from your article, this could have been me:
Quote:I have always followed harness racing, meaning I knew where the tracks were, knew about The Hambletonian and The Little Brown Jug and some of the other events that the sport offers.  I never ignored it, but I didn’t follow it on a regular basis.

Last summer, I really dove in and became enthralled with the sport. Events like Hambletonian Day with its 10 stakes races, the International Trot at Yonkers and the Breeders Crown brought me in.  I am a feature race guy.  Sure, I like the small purse races, but I look for the features and keep my eye on them at the big tracks.  I think harness racing offers plenty, both for bettors and those who love sport for sport.

Specifically the bolded parts. I really enjoy watching the horses/drivers race for the sport. I'm one of those people that could go watch harness racing without betting. I think it's one of the most interesting sports because you have the raw power of the animal being aided by the wisdom/skill of the human driver. Sometimes when I am at the track, I think they've lost the art of the sport. They need to play up the athletic accomplishment of the race rather than JUST the gambling outcome.
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#3
(02-11-2017, 04:39 AM)Admin Wrote: Very good article. Quoting from your article, this could have been me:
Quote:I have always followed harness racing, meaning I knew where the tracks were, knew about The Hambletonian and The Little Brown Jug and some of the other events that the sport offers.  I never ignored it, but I didn’t follow it on a regular basis.

Last summer, I really dove in and became enthralled with the sport. Events like Hambletonian Day with its 10 stakes races, the International Trot at Yonkers and the Breeders Crown brought me in.  I am a feature race guy.  Sure, I like the small purse races, but I look for the features and keep my eye on them at the big tracks.  I think harness racing offers plenty, both for bettors and those who love sport for sport.

Specifically the bolded parts. I really enjoy watching the horses/drivers race for the sport. I'm one of those people that could go watch harness racing without betting. I think it's one of the most interesting sports because you have the raw power of the animal being aided by the wisdom/skill of the human driver. Sometimes when I am at the track, I think they've lost the art of the sport. They need to play up the athletic accomplishment of the race rather than JUST the gambling outcome.

Appreciate the comments----they need the gambling as we know---guys like us and the sport goes bankrupt.  The key is to get more casual fans interested in coming out and betting once in a while.

(02-11-2017, 04:39 AM)Admin Wrote: Very good article. Quoting from your article, this could have been me:
Quote:I have always followed harness racing, meaning I knew where the tracks were, knew about The Hambletonian and The Little Brown Jug and some of the other events that the sport offers.  I never ignored it, but I didn’t follow it on a regular basis.

Last summer, I really dove in and became enthralled with the sport. Events like Hambletonian Day with its 10 stakes races, the International Trot at Yonkers and the Breeders Crown brought me in.  I am a feature race guy.  Sure, I like the small purse races, but I look for the features and keep my eye on them at the big tracks.  I think harness racing offers plenty, both for bettors and those who love sport for sport.

Specifically the bolded parts. I really enjoy watching the horses/drivers race for the sport. I'm one of those people that could go watch harness racing without betting. I think it's one of the most interesting sports because you have the raw power of the animal being aided by the wisdom/skill of the human driver. Sometimes when I am at the track, I think they've lost the art of the sport. They need to play up the athletic accomplishment of the race rather than JUST the gambling outcome.

Thanks for the nice words----if only guys like us went to the tracks, the sport would be bankrupt. The key is to get new people in so they can have fun with some $2 and $5 bets----have some fun, win some money, but more importantly, become a fan and keep coming back.

Love seeing Yonkers with three $50K races this weekend----that's what intrigues me.

Appreciate the comments----they need the gambling as we know---guys like us and the sport goes bankrupt.  The key is to get more casual fans interested in coming out and betting once in a while.

Get new fans out----let them wager $5 a race and have some fun.  If they won, they might come back and more importantly, become a fan of the sport.

I am having trouble posting correctly.....lol
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#4
(02-11-2017, 05:57 AM)Johnny 228 Wrote: Appreciate the comments----they need the gambling as we know---guys like us and the sport goes bankrupt.  The key is to get more casual fans interested in coming out and betting once in a while.

Get new fans out----let them wager $5 a race and have some fun.  If they won, they might come back and more importantly, become a fan of the sport.

Agreed. I live close to a couple decent sized Universities. I wish they made an effort to draw these kids in to make a night of it. That is how my first time at the track was a long time ago.

When I was a kid, they would have the results from the races the previous night in the paper. I didn't think anything of it when I was a teenager or younger, but I was definitely aware of it because of the amount of space it took up in the paper each morning. That is something they need to replicate. They need to put their sport in front of youngsters so that they are aware of it. Then when they are ready, they can make a night of it at the races with their friends. Hopefully it would be a good experience and they would come back a few times a year.
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#5
(02-11-2017, 05:57 AM)Johnny 228 Wrote: I am having trouble posting correctly.....lol

Don't worry, this software is kind of new to me too. I just disabled the feature that forced your posts together. It should make it a little easier.
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#6
That is so true---I am 48, I remember looking at Buffalo Raceway and Batavia Downs results in The Buffalo News (you could probably guess I grew up near Buffalo).  My dad never took me to Buffalo Raceway and I have only been there a few times (I now live in Albany).  

There used to be a sports show called Free Form Sports on WBEN 930 AM hosted by Buffalo broadcasting legend Stan Barron.  He was on from 6 to 11 each night and always gave a recap of Buffalo Raceway results.  The 11 pm sportscast used to give and tell you the DD at the end of their sportscast.  I remember hearing Ed Kilgore saying the daily double of 4 and 7 paid $15.40.  It planted a seed, it made you want to check out the paper.  

We can't rely on newspapers anymore----they may never dye, but box scores are being eliminated, so if that is happening, there will be no space for harness or horse racing in the papers.  Everybody says go online, but going online is very specialized.  Runners go to running websites; harness racing fans go to harness racing websites and curling fans go to curling sites.  

I see Yonkers had two $50,000 races tonight--one for pacers and one for trotters.  That's a pretty serious pot of dough for a Saturday night at Yonkers.  Can't the NY Post and the NY papers put four sentences together.  Does the raceway send the results to the papers?  If they don;t shame on them.  Maybe they do, but they know that the newspapers won;t find space for them.

I live in Albany now---there are four local papers that send reporters to the Saratoga meet.  The Times Union sends a a reporter for all 40 days, but The Daily Gazette, The Post-Star and The Record/Saratogian have scaled back and usually send reporters Thursday-Sunday. Still, it gets major league coverage.    We have the Saratoga Harness track right there, too, and only The Record/Saratogian biother to cover it and the only reason they do is that track announcer Mike Sardella pens a weekly column.  Last year, Wiggle It Jiggleit showed up and the papers barely covered his arrival and subsequent win in the $250,000 Jim Gerrity Memorial.  

Heck, the facility is now called Saratoga Casino Hotel.   They care so much about harness racing that they donlt even have the name in it. It used to be Saratoga Raceway and then Saratoga Gaming and Raceway when VGM were added.  Why could't they called Saratoga Downs Casino? 

I am a realist----today's outlets cover football, baseball and basketball.  Hockey is neglected and so, too, is Major League Soccer, which continues to sell its stadiums out, yet can't get any mainstream media coverage.   

I think there is a chance because today's "kids" are not glued to the TV---they are not watching football and other sports like we used to at their age.  They have many more diversions and distractions.  NFL ratings are down because young people do not turn the set on and invest 6 hours every Sunday.  They can go to You Tube and get highlight of every game in 5 minutes per game.  Why should they watch the entire game?  Except for the Super Bowl and the conference title games, there is no need to.

I think young people like events more than we did and that is where harness racing can come in and recruit them.  But, you have to try.  The tracks should be going to colleges and grabbing them!
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#7
(02-12-2017, 06:09 AM)Johnny 228 Wrote: I think young people like events more than we did and that is where harness racing can come in and recruit them.  But, you have to try.  The tracks should be going to colleges and grabbing them!

This is the part that I'm not sure the tracks are even making an effort. Bringing in the college students is good for everyone. The tracks will make more money, the crowds will be bigger, and the gamblers will have better odds on their bets.

The worst thing that can happen at a track is for all the bettors to be professionals and bet down the favorites to such small numbers that it isn't worth it anymore. Having those rookie bettors throwing money at the longshots for the fun of it will make those favorites payoff a little better.
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#8
That's why Saratoga thoroughbred is good----the novices, the guys with the searsuckers and the hotties with their sundresses just bet names and faces and the odds are fair.  You always get good odds at the KY Derby because of that.
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#9
Since it is pooled betting, we want more foolish bets to offset those that understand the system. Best nights to bet are date nights but those are mostly from a different era.
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#10
Date night!.   I was telling my friend about Buffalo Raceway and Casino and he said that "that sounds like a fun place to take a date."  

Next Sunday, Saratoga Casino Hotel opens season 76!!!!!  44 and sunny is the forecast..
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#11
I saw this article and thought it related well to this thread:

Quote:Gural responds to Katz and Segal
Let me begin by making it perfectly clear that I have the utmost respect for George Segal and Marvin Katz and consider them friends. On the issue of the “Gural Rule” (February 5) and (February 10) we simply do not agree.

The only reason I implemented the rule is because I feel that industry leaders have a moral obligation to insure that the sport has a long-term future. There are hundreds of young people working in the sport, including some of the best drivers like Yannick Gingras, Tim Tetrick, Scott Zeron, Jason Bartlett, Joe Bonjorno, Jimmy Marohn, Jordan Stratton and Matt Kakaley. All of these young people deserve to have a career that lasts longer than another 10 years when, in my opinion, it is very unlikely that we will have a viable industry that would allow these young people to stay employed. We have mistakenly taken all of the slots money and used it for purses and simply assumed that this money will be there forever. Over the next few years, we will see purses at slots tracks increase dramatically as the number of races and race dates slowly decline because of the horse shortage. Unless we find a way to get younger people interested as older people like myself age out, we will reach a point where the handle and the live attendance will be so miniscule that the politicians will have no choice but to pull the plug. The only way I know of that could get younger people interested is to create a better product and to hopefully persuade the horsemen that it is in their best interest to use five per cent of the slots money for marketing and get us on TV on a regular basis and hope that we can duplicate what happened with poker years ago when they suddenly became a TV hit.
Read more:
http://www.harnessracingupdate.com/2017/...017-02-12/

Interesting that your article is on this page too, Johnny 228. Seems a battle is brewing right now to make this sport great again.
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#12
One idea that I would like to see a couple tracks play around with is letting college students "own" part of a horse. And then have that horse race every Saturday night. Even let designated students get a picture with the horse on their night if the horse wins.

I remember a feature like this at Northfield a long time ago but it wasn't targeted at new people, just at the regulars.
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#13
The Gural Rule I go back and forth on.  On one hand, sports is about star power.  On the other, if you own a great horse, shouldn't it be your right when to race him or retire him?   If there is money to be made in breeding after the 3-year old season, should they be required to keep racing?  

I give Gural credit for one thing.  He seems to love the sport and he certainly is a believer in it.  While I tend to agree with him on the relying too much on slots revenues, it must pointed that he owns three tracks---Meadowlands Tioga, and Vernon and two of the three have casinos.  It was a bog blow when NY voters voted against a referendum that would have allowed a casino north of Atlantic City.  But, Tioga Downs in a full-fledged casino with table games, poker and not just a racino full of VGMs.  

Marketing is the key----the sport seems to be on the uptick, but there is more to do.  Again, when I look at websites, I see the casion, the entertainment and the food highlighted and then......the harness racing.   

Why can't they TRY to market the racing more?  That will be the greatest challenge.  Let's hope that they follow Gural's advice and spend some of that money on marketing the sport.
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#14
I've been looking through for some of the websites for the harness racing tracks. It's been disappointing the number of tracks that are very difficult to find. I think every track should have it's domain specifically for the race track. They could be under an umbrella site for all the other activities that are at that location but if you are a racing fan, it should be easy to find.

This reminds me, I've been wanting to start a thread for racetrack websites. Now is as good a time as any.
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#15
I can't remember the last time I saw an ad for a race track. I live in Northeast Ohio and can't remember seeing any ads for Northfield in quite a while. Usually it's just for the casino.
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#16
And....based on your user name, you remember the 1980 AFC Divisional Playoff Game at Cleveland Stadium, too! I was at Cleveland Stadium for the 1989 AFC Divisional Playoff title between the Browns and Bills; a game won by the Browns 34-30, back when both teams actually played playoff games! Those days seem to be gone now!
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#17
Yes, longtime suffering Browns fan. At least we've won an NBA championship, however, nothing would be better than winning a Super Bowl.
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#18
And, don't forget the Lake Erie/Cleveland Monsters---the Calder Cup Champions!!!!!
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#19
Back to the topic. How can you get the younger adults to visit the tracks? Just talking to someone last night that went to the casino and barely knows that there is a racetrack next door. They have all these gamblers within a couple hundred yards but they are doing nothing to get them to come through the doors of the track.

When I go to Disney, after each ride they force me to walk through a gift shop. Can't believe that the tracks aren't trying to take advantage of these captive consumers.
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#20
(02-15-2017, 12:03 AM)Johnny 228 Wrote: And, don't forget the Lake Erie/Cleveland Monsters---the Calder Cup Champions!!!!!

This was a great year for Cleveland/Ohio fans. The Cavs/Indians/Monsters/Blue Jackets/Buckeyes/Youngstown State/Mount Union

Outside of the Browns, football was great in the Buckeye state this year. Maybe we'll get over the hump in the other sports. Can't wait for Draft day. Looks like another hometown hero could be coming home to QB the Browns - Mitch Trubisky from UNC went to High School in Northeast Ohio.
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