I have learned more about the Kentucky Derby this year than any other year before. I am not talking about the horses and handicapping the field, rather I am talking about the social media scene, journalist in terms of who is for real and who isn’t, and the boat load of pretenders that show up a week or two before the Derby.
I already knew about the “port o potty racing” (search it on youtube) and the chaos in the infield, if you have been there then you know what I am talking about so we won’t get any further into it. But NBC will do a great job about representing the prestigious event with all the history, class and dignity that one can bestow on an event of this magnitude that for whatever reason (lack of televised races not controlled by old guys on golf courses putting in 10hrs a week in the office) has fallen off the avenue of mainstream sports.
By no means am I saying that port o potty racing should be the halftime show or that the equivalent of the Laker girls should get out on the track with the tractors but there are changes that need to be made to this great sport of ours to restore the presence that it not only once had in the entertainment industry but the historic tradition of racing in America.
First of all no one or two parties own information so stats, entries and results should be available to everyone! If you want people to bet and become involved in the sport, how can you expect them to do so if you won’t give them the tools they need unless you say it’s okay Daily Racing Form and Equibase. What is this? Major League Baseball?
Secondly, California, how can you expect people to pay outrageous takeouts on exotics? We all know that the hold (percentage made on people wagering) is roughly 22% because let’s face it, most people simply can’t pick a winner to save their lives and on top of that you increase the takeout percentage on their winnings? That ain’t right! Take a lesson from Hastings Park who have lowered their takeout and watched their wagering volume increase. Thank you Raj Mutti for doing everything you can to cater to the horseplayer, the industry need more people just like you instead of what all the old farts at other tracks are doing in saying the player must cater to us…
Finally, let people watch the races on major networks throughout the entire calendar year. I was recently at a Footlocker buying two new pairs of running shoes since my current ones have run their course and the assistant manager walked me up to the front window to show me all the new gear he had put up to showcase it to me as a prospective buyer. If a product is out of sight it is out of mind; anyone who has even worked in entry level retail knows that you have to put your best products in the store front window all year round, not just a few days here and there throughout the year. I guess the execs at all the major OTB’s and Television Networks should go back and work in entry level retail for a bit, maybe they could learn something?
Social Media – I personally love what Social Media is doing for the sport so I will refrain from saying anything negative here despite my own opinions of their opinions, the fact is right or wrong they are helping build the sport and I applaud anyone and everyone who contributes. Good on you and thank you from me and everyone else who care about the sport. There are some people that I would however like to recognize for doing an outstanding job and strongly suggest you follow them and read their articles.
Claire Novak for ESPN.com
Molly Jo Rosen for FocusedFilly.com
Jennie Rees for The Courier-Journal
Cindy Pierson Dulay for Horse-Races.net and Daily Racing News
Susie Blackmon for about.me/SusieBlackmon
Joe Drape for The New York Times
Ed DeRosa for Thoroughbred Times
Ian Gold for Ianegold.blogspot.com
Brock Sheridan for thebrocktalk.blogspot.com
Jeremy Plonk for ESPN and Daily Racing News
Bill Finley for ESPN and Daily Racing News
Paul Moran for ESPN and Daily Racing News
Jay Cronley for ESPN and Daily Racing News
Andrew Beyer for Washington Post and Daily Racing News