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Thursday, July 03, 2008

In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, Baby...

- Breeders' Cup Challenge Races Are Off And Running reads the email I got from the BC folks, and I got excited when I saw PLAYING FOR A $1 MILLION PURSE – A FANTASY COME TRUE. I know that Handride is all hepped up about the proposed Sovereign Series in the UK, which would create a point based series of ten major stakes with a big cash award to the winner. And I'm all for this kind of series over here, with the standings and the incentive for racing that it would create. It would be a great start.

However, I still don't believe that you're going to attract new fans unless you give them a stake in the races in order to get them involved. There's a big difference between team sports, in which fans have allegiances to their favorite teams, and horse races. Just because horses are listed in order of their standings isn't necessarily going to mean anything to anyone not involved.

So when I saw that blurb, I was thinking that the Breeders' Cup is getting it, and awarding cash prizes to fans who compile the best record of picking the 56 (!) Challenge races. But alas, it's merely for a chance to go the finals of the $1 million DRF/NTRA Handicapping Championship. Seems to me that anyone who would be attracted by that prospect is already invested in these races in some way. So I don't really see the upside in this case, in terms of using the Challenge races to market the sport; which is what I thought was supposed to be the point of them.

Even worse, when I click on the links in the email, I get a warning that I'm accessing a website with a non-standard address which may contain harmful viruses. "We recommend you use extreme caution." So a bad job all around there.

While we're on the subject of bad jobs, the duplicity of wagering platforms in New York State remains a problem, though one which the new initiatives on OTB will hopefully be tackling. I was over at OTB, and made a deposit into my phone account. I'd love to close it out and just go exclusively with my NYRA account, but the arcane racing laws still in effect prohibit NYRA from taking harness tracks. So I maintain the two accounts, so that I can bet both breeds, but still support NYRA by making my thoroughbred bets on their system.

While I was there, I saw Gadda da Vida edge out Baffert's 7-10 Miss Bodine in the 2nd; and sure enough, I heard a lucky winner whistling the classic epic from which the horse presumably derived its name. But I guess there's not that many Iron Butterfly-loving hunch bettors out there, since the horse paid $32.20. Ride With the Herd was a half length back in third at 11-1.

Sean Avery scratched from the 4th; look for him to run at Lone Star instead.


Anonymous said...

Does anyone comprehend why NYRA is going with the Sunset Friday thing on the 4th of July???

For God's sake, they dont even let you barbeque in the yard even if you were inclined to spend Independence Day at Belmont.

And talk about pissing off your employees and the horsemen.

I fully intended to go to simulast today for a few hours, play some races and watch the big game, then head to the bbq's.

Never even considered that they might do the 3pm start thing today until I opened the DRF this morning. Guess I will be playing Monmouth.

Happy Independence Day to all.

Anonymous said...

Hi Alan - nice quip about Lone Star. I can't understand why the Rangers let Avery go. They are a sub .500 team without him. Enjoy the weekend.

Bob from NJ

Anonymous said...

Oh yeah, almost forgot, good point about the contest Alan, just goes to prove they no one in this industry has a clue.

Simple contests, cash prizes, attract novices and create new fans. Not some long drawn out game of skill with no clear reward at the end.

Whoever wins will most likely be a professional contest player, not a new casual fan.

What they should do is tie the races to some sort of lottery like prize on a weekly basis.

More free marketing advice, shame no one that actually gets paid to do this stuff can come up with anything worthy.

Anonymous said...

This is on the right track, so to speak. I think a series of races like this- not called Breeders Cup Challenge- with a point award system would be a a big step in the right direction. The point system would also be tied to purse amounts just like NASCAR, the incentive being to win, or finish close to the winner, in as many races as possible.

This does many things not least of which is to draw more fans to different tracks around the country, "the circuit", and eliminating Breeders Cup Syndrome wherein at present the division leaders have more incentive to race lightly up to the Breeders Cup and then go "all in". The point system would theoretically make it possible to win the most $$$ an an Eclipse Award without winning a BC race.

I think owners and trainers might like this system as they can plan a campaign for the year and still have flexibility for interruptions in training. Late bloomers can be brought along when ready rather than be pushed before they are ready. I've long been in favor of this type of arrangement; I know it's been tried before and the naysayers, i.e., mainly the BC people, will poo poo it. But that was then and this is now. /S/Green Mtn Punter