23 Dec 2005 15:53:18
Mustang5
Horse Racing

Newbie question: Why do you think horse racing isn't more popular? Why
isn't it covered more in the sports section of the newspaper. (At least not
in ours.) Why doesn't television cover it as a sport? Does racing have any
lobbyists or publicity agents? It is such an exciting sport and the horses
are so gorgeous and such athletes.





23 Dec 2005 08:43:35
Re: Horse Racing

There is a National Thoroughbred Racing Association (http://ntra.com/),
but it is a relatively new organization.



23 Dec 2005 12:37:35
wolfagain
Re: Horse Racing

A very good Q. Probably only 5-6% of the public actually go to race
tracks. But then only about 10% in THIS country go to Hockey arenas.
What we need is a NATIONAL Race like they have in Ireland, Australia,
and Spain. Make wagering available in every city 3-6 months before the
race. It would take in maybe 2-3 BILLION $$$$S! Of course our National
Race would be the Kentucky Derby. BUT Lotto intrests would throw a FIT!
But do it anyway!



23 Dec 2005 23:28:46
Mustang5
Re: Horse Racing


<[email protected] > wrote in message
news:[email protected]
> There is a National Thoroughbred Racing Association (http://ntra.com/),
> but it is a relatively new organization.

I hope they come up with some kind of a great national publicity campaign so
that race tracks don't go out of business. Last year I was able to go to
Keeneland for the first time and had the time of my life. (I live in
California.) Seeing the famous jockeys and horses run was wonderful and
exciting. Being able to go see and touch Smarty Jones, Ghostzapper, and
others was a high point. Somehow the jockeys and horses need to be made
stars that people look up to and want to follow.





24 Dec 2005 00:20:51
Mustang5
Re: Horse Racing


wolfagain <[email protected] > wrote in message
news:[email protected]
> A very good Q. Probably only 5-6% of the public actually go to race
> tracks. But then only about 10% in THIS country go to Hockey arenas.
> What we need is a NATIONAL Race like they have in Ireland, Australia,
> and Spain. Make wagering available in every city 3-6 months before the
> race. It would take in maybe 2-3 BILLION $$$$S! Of course our National
> Race would be the Kentucky Derby. BUT Lotto intrests would throw a FIT!
> But do it anyway!


Here's part of an article from the Los Angeles Daily News:

"An ESPN poll shows horse racing is the ninth most-popular sport among
Americans, ahead of golf and boxing, with a 19.1 percent increase in
"interest" in racing since 1999.

No comment. I'd hate to spoil the holiday mood."

---
Kevin Modesti is a Daily News columnist. His horse racing column appears on
Friday. He can be reached at [email protected]




24 Dec 2005 00:44:57
Re: Horse Racing

Mustang5 wrote:
> Newbie question: Why do you think horse racing isn't more popular? Why
> isn't it covered more in the sports section of the newspaper. (At least not
> in ours.) Why doesn't television cover it as a sport? Does racing have any
> lobbyists or publicity agents? It is such an exciting sport and the horses
> are so gorgeous and such athletes.
>
>
>
The sport fails to keep up with the times or publicize itself.
30 years ago the only legal wagering was in Nevada and at the
track.Now you can play the lottery at the corner store.
Go to a track and there is little in the way of help for a first timer.
The track never educates you on the odds/payout advantage it has over
the lottery.
30 years ago ever paper in the Bay Area has their own handicapper. Now
they all use the track handicapper. KCBS aired stretch calls of each
race and Ch. 2 had the feature race on the news. All gone.
When the lottery has a big jackpot it is on billboards. The only
place you see a P6 is in agate type in the paper.
Most people are unaware of account wagering as the only ads are at
the rack and in the Form.
--


24 Dec 2005 00:44:39
Lescor
Re: Horse Racing


"Mustang5" <[email protected] > wrote in message
news:[email protected]
> Newbie question: Why do you think horse racing isn't more popular? Why
> isn't it covered more in the sports section of the newspaper. (At least
> not
> in ours.) Why doesn't television cover it as a sport? Does racing have
> any
> lobbyists or publicity agents? It is such an exciting sport and the
> horses
> are so gorgeous and such athletes.

Some question, and many reasons. Viewing from a few thousand miles away
- which may or may not be an advantage - I think the major reason is that
the
product is drab and uninteresting because of the uniformity in the tracks
and
the race distances. Fine for those only interested in racing as a betting
medium,
but not very affective in bringing in the new support you suggest possible.

You are correct about the horses. They are the most amazing athletes so why
not let the public see them as such? It is a pity that the headgear the are
obliged
to wear, because of the muck they mostly run on, prevents them from beings
seen
at their best as individuals, but there is no reason that they should not be
seen
cantering free to the start rather than being led like robotic racers. It is
effficient
but it just also another case of the fuctional over the spectacle.

The uniformity of tracks and the race distances -which have all been
established
to suite the needs of bettors only at the expense of those who have,or could
have, a wider interest in racing - is a massive handicap to overcome and
probably impossible.

I speak as one who started as a gambler in the UK and was won over to
becoming
a horse lover by, not only the speed, but the courage and stamina of these
animals
when they were tried over long distances. A recent poster here said that
staying
races are "boring" but needed for the sake of the bloodlines. I agree with
his
plea for the need, but the suggestion that they are boring is nonsense. They
might
be seen as such by the US public and this refects the problem. The US
public
have been bred away from any chance of appreciating the types of alternative
races, which would add some colour to their meetings ,as quickly as the
quality to
stay is being bred out of their horses.



I have no doubt that the main quality which attracts the public to racing is
courage.
It is found most often in races where horses are tested to the full and
that neglected
quality of stamina is vital. Flat races over 6 to 10 fulongs will produce
great winners,
Stayers produce heroes.

For an example of the enthusiasm horses can produce in the public it is
worth
visiting www.racingpost.co.uk get yourself a free password and click on
the frontpage
panel " How good was Arkle" to view some of the past runnings of the King
George
which is run on the 26th Dec every year. OK, it's a steeplechase, but it
still serves
as an example of what the public find it easy to associate with. All the
races are from
the free TV coverage.

They will all be there in a couple of days time even if it's freezing. They
will come
in the 10's of thousands and cheer the winners even though holding losing
tickets.
and it is just one of many similar meetings in the UK winter game.

This is the sort of following these amazing animals are capable of when
shown
at their best. You will never win the hearts of newcomers with that
succession
of turgid races, left handed around two or three bends.

US racing needs variety, colour, romance. What is seems to offer right now
can be found at a greyhound track.

Great pity.

LC











23 Dec 2005 17:55:35
Re: Horse Racing

A very thoughtful post Lescor. Thank you.
As I was reading it I realized I never saw 'Jumps', if I may call
steeplechases and such, live.
I think I would like to see and bet them live.
I HATE the post parades where some track employee grabs the bridle of
an entrant and walks the entrant around.
Let me see the horse and jockey canter, or dismount the jockey while
heading to, or running away, from the post.
"Turgid" is the word for many races.
Joe



24 Dec 2005 02:26:36
Mustang5
Re: Horse Racing


<[email protected] > wrote in message
news:[email protected]
> Mustang5 wrote:
> > Newbie question: Why do you think horse racing isn't more popular? Why
> > isn't it covered more in the sports section of the newspaper. (At least
not
> > in ours.) Why doesn't television cover it as a sport? Does racing have
any
> > lobbyists or publicity agents? It is such an exciting sport and the
horses
> > are so gorgeous and such athletes.
> >
> >
> >
> The sport fails to keep up with the times or publicize itself.
> 30 years ago the only legal wagering was in Nevada and at the
> track.Now you can play the lottery at the corner store.
> Go to a track and there is little in the way of help for a first timer.
> The track never educates you on the odds/payout advantage it has over
> the lottery.
> 30 years ago ever paper in the Bay Area has their own handicapper. Now
> they all use the track handicapper. KCBS aired stretch calls of each
> race and Ch. 2 had the feature race on the news. All gone.
> When the lottery has a big jackpot it is on billboards. The only
> place you see a P6 is in agate type in the paper.
> Most people are unaware of account wagering as the only ads are at
> the rack and in the Form.
> --
I know you all have been around this and know so much more about it that I
do (even though I am not a youngster) so maybe I am naive. Doesn't it seem
like someone or some organization with brains, money and enthusiasm could
find a way to drum up interest and passion about this sport? I have always
been a lover of horses from afar, but Smarty Jones did the trick with me.
Then Afleet Alex. These horses are amazing creatures and the jockeys are
athletic, strong and interesting. I know if they were "packaged" correctly,
many of the public could not help but be attracted to racing. It would take
a lot of money at first, but don't you think it could be done? It got me to
Kentucky from California, just to go see Smarty Jones. Ghostzapper was an
extra added attraction because he had not been retired when I was making my
plans to go.




24 Dec 2005 02:40:55
Re: Horse Racing

Mustang5 wrote:
>> --
> I know you all have been around this and know so much more about it that I
> do (even though I am not a youngster) so maybe I am naive. Doesn't it seem
> like someone or some organization with brains, money and enthusiasm could
> find a way to drum up interest and passion about this sport? I have always
> been a lover of horses from afar, but Smarty Jones did the trick with me.
> Then Afleet Alex. These horses are amazing creatures and the jockeys are
> athletic, strong and interesting. I know if they were "packaged" correctly,
> many of the public could not help but be attracted to racing. It would take
> a lot of money at first, but don't you think it could be done? It got me to
> Kentucky from California, just to go see Smarty Jones. Ghostzapper was an
> extra added attraction because he had not been retired when I was making my
> plans to go.
>
>
They tried a did a rotten job. Million of dollars resulted in the "go
Baby Go" ads.
The National Best 7 is a good example. It was hyped as a 50 cent bet
on the 7 top races each Saturday. The reality:

Wanting to get in on ESPN2 (few viewers at the time) it was really the
top 7 races in one hour.
Since all the money went to the NTRA the tracks never promoted it.
Often it was hard to find a monitor showing it at the track.
It was never advertised.


23 Dec 2005 23:42:18
Nile
Re: Horse Racing

Mustang5 wrote:

>>>Newbie question: Why do you think horse racing isn't more popular?

Actually, that's not a newbie question at all. NTRA has been trying to
figure that out for years. I think there are three main problems:

First, the tracks are, basically, in competition with each other; that's
getting better, mostly because of consolidation, but generally they
don't work together. Contrast football, baseball, etc., that have to
work with competing teams for the game to survive; Churchill doesn't
care what happens at Tampa Bay. There's no incentive to do so.

Second, advertising, or more correctly, lack of advertising. Someone
mentioned the National Best 7; I never once saw it advertised anywhere
outside of the Daily Racing Form or a passing track announcement.
Oaklawn is my nearest track. Now, Oaklawn is not a good example becaue
it does a very good business; it's almost always packed, young and old,
and the national daily attendance leader when it's in session. But I'm
not sure that I have ever seen an advertisement for Oaklawn Park. You
can't swing a dead cat here without hitting a casino billboard.

Third, emphasis on the horse instead of the jockey. Horses come and go,
jockeys stay for years. Just about the time the public began learning
the name Smarty Jones, he was already retired. Same with Holy Bull, Go
for Gin ... just pick a name. From his two-year career, Smarty shows
up 229,000 times on a Google search:

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&ie=ISO-8859-1&q=%22Smarty+Jones%22

Consider on the other hand Calvin Borel, for example: a very good
jockey who I've seen at four different tracks in three states in the
last ten years.

He gets 1600 hits:

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&ie=ISO-8859-1&q=%22Calvin+Borel%22




24 Dec 2005 07:01:24
Mustang5
Re: Horse Racing


Nile <[email protected] > wrote in message
news:[email protected]
> Mustang5 wrote:
>
> >>>Newbie question: Why do you think horse racing isn't more popular?
>
> Actually, that's not a newbie question at all. NTRA has been trying to
> figure that out for years. I think there are three main problems:
>
> First, the tracks are, basically, in competition with each other; that's
> getting better, mostly because of consolidation, but generally they
> don't work together. Contrast football, baseball, etc., that have to
> work with competing teams for the game to survive; Churchill doesn't
> care what happens at Tampa Bay. There's no incentive to do so.
>
> Second, advertising, or more correctly, lack of advertising. Someone
> mentioned the National Best 7; I never once saw it advertised anywhere
> outside of the Daily Racing Form or a passing track announcement.
> Oaklawn is my nearest track. Now, Oaklawn is not a good example becaue
> it does a very good business; it's almost always packed, young and old,
> and the national daily attendance leader when it's in session. But I'm
> not sure that I have ever seen an advertisement for Oaklawn Park. You
> can't swing a dead cat here without hitting a casino billboard.
>
> Third, emphasis on the horse instead of the jockey. Horses come and go,
> jockeys stay for years. Just about the time the public began learning
> the name Smarty Jones, he was already retired. Same with Holy Bull, Go
> for Gin ... just pick a name. From his two-year career, Smarty shows
> up 229,000 times on a Google search:
>
> http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&ie=ISO-8859-1&q=%22Smarty+Jones%22
>
> Consider on the other hand Calvin Borel, for example: a very good
> jockey who I've seen at four different tracks in three states in the
> last ten years.
>
> He gets 1600 hits:
>
> http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&ie=ISO-8859-1&q=%22Calvin+Borel%22
>
> If the people on this newsgroup can think of these things, why isn't
someone "in charge" doing these things? Track meets should have ads on
television prior to the opening dates and during the meets. They should talk
up the jockeys and horses, have their pictures on TV and billboards. When I
was in Lexington, businesses had big billboards telling of their attributes,
and a famous horse on the board with it. Somebody should be getting
newspapers to carry racing news, racing results. I wrote to my local
newspaper asking them to carry more racing news, and I'm lucky if I see
something at the bottom of a page that's about 1/2 inch long. They play up
the Triple Crown races, but that's about all.




24 Dec 2005 04:18:33
olrailbird
Re: Horse Racing

Lescor wrote: (Mostly about uniformity)

I appreciate your point of view but I disagree.

Many sports thrive on uniformity.

Football (US, though same uniformity for soccer)
has a 100 yard field, only turf or fake turf.

Baseball has 90ft between bases, 60ft 6 inches
mound to plate. Lines vary but not that much
on whole.

Basketball has indentical courts.

Water polo? Track and field? All same...

Golf varies courses, of course -- but where does
that rank???

Bowling. Dah...

I don't think it is *sameness* that kills racing, there
are too many more popular sports that suffer as
much or more *sameness*.

I really think the problem is *lack* of sameness.

Americans want things categorized. They want
definite boundaries of competition. Racing is
too damned random -- random drug laws,
random distances, random this and random that!

What we need is uniform rules and uniform
distances. We want sprinters that sprint and
routers that route and fairness within the groups.

Americans are territorial and will root for locals.

We need racing ideas that make the fan a part
of the game. Maybe city team racing...

I will admit that Americans are silly in their
team/local/uniform approach to sports. I will
even admit that your idea of more random
distances and surfaces is probably more
interesting...

Unfortunately, Americans have a thing about
equal competition and level playing fields.
They also like a local team interest. All the
major sports play on these terms...

We are a nation of statistics. We want to
compare Babe Ruth to Barry Bonds and
we're a little pissed when we can't.

Give racing common rules and common
distances with a little variation of surface
and track layout and you have something
close to other popular sports.

Add in some national standings and
local rankings and then you have something
that will excite the typical American moron.

In American, everything is about comptetion.
The playing field must be more or less even
so that the "market forces" play out.

May the best man/horse win...

Disclaimer: I don't agree with what I just
wrote. I wish Americans could appreciate
racing for racing's sake and the innate beauty
of the sport. It's just that I know my people
and I know what they prefer. They prefer
defined rules on a standard playing field
and tend to root for local heroes.

--
Good Luck,
olrailbird
www.stevenberry.com




24 Dec 2005 04:25:29
olrailbird
Re: Horse Racing

It would be nice if someone on NTRA monitored
this group.

We have a lot of good ideas but they are ignored.

In all of usenet -- alt.sport.horse-racing is the best
group for monitoring true fans of US racing. There
aren't many of us here, but we are the true
believers.

This is an untapped gold vein...

--
Good Luck,
olrailbird
www.stevenberry.com




24 Dec 2005 15:49:54
Uber_Micro
Re: Horse Racing



"Mustang5" <[email protected] > writes:

> Newbie question: Why do you think horse racing isn't more popular?
>

> Why isn't it covered more in the sports section of the
> newspaper. (At least not in ours.) Why doesn't television cover it
> as a sport? It is such an exciting sport and the horses are so
> gorgeous and such athletes.
>



A few reasons

- Its takes brains to cap *pats everyone on the back*

- Jokeys are short, (people generally wont idelize them, like they can
a football player or hockey player, who are big and strong and get
lots of girls)

- Very few people get a chance to ride let along own a horse, and come
to a real understanding of what it is to make the lovely things do
anything interesting. Most people don't have a close connection with
a horse or know enough of them to really be in awe. People hear how
much horse power an formula car has and there eyes open wide, they
hear that papa was Cigar and they go "heh? Cigars smell i don't want
that horse."

- Too many of the small tracks are filled with people who arn't very
"nice looking." This isn't for the big tracks which have famous
people visiting and everything else.

- There is too much waiting in horse racing for the none capper, no
one knows what to do with this time.

- You don't get free drinks, cheap food, strip clubs or many of the
other perkes that come with going to a Casino.

in summary

- To much time when you are supposed to think
- Not enough sex appeal.


/uber_micro

--
3.6 billion Years of Natural Selection Can't be Wrong


24 Dec 2005 17:18:19
Lescor
Re: Horse Racing


"olrailbird" <[email protected] > wrote in message
news:[email protected]
> Lescor wrote: (Mostly about uniformity)
>
> I appreciate your point of view but I disagree.
>
> Many sports thrive on uniformity.
>
> Football (US, though same uniformity for soccer)
> has a 100 yard field, only turf or fake turf.
>
> Baseball has 90ft between bases, 60ft 6 inches
> mound to plate. Lines vary but not that much
> on whole.
>
> Basketball has indentical courts.
>
> Water polo? Track and field? All same...
>
> Golf varies courses, of course -- but where does
> that rank???
>
> Bowling. Dah...
>
> I don't think it is *sameness* that kills racing, there
> are too many more popular sports that suffer as
> much or more *sameness*.
>
> I really think the problem is *lack* of sameness.
>
> Americans want things categorized. They want
> definite boundaries of competition. Racing is
> too damned random -- random drug laws,
> random distances, random this and random that!
>
> What we need is uniform rules and uniform
> distances. We want sprinters that sprint and
> routers that route and fairness within the groups.
>
> Americans are territorial and will root for locals.
>
> We need racing ideas that make the fan a part
> of the game. Maybe city team racing...
>
> I will admit that Americans are silly in their
> team/local/uniform approach to sports. I will
> even admit that your idea of more random
> distances and surfaces is probably more
> interesting...
>
> Unfortunately, Americans have a thing about
> equal competition and level playing fields.
> They also like a local team interest. All the
> major sports play on these terms...
>
> We are a nation of statistics. We want to
> compare Babe Ruth to Barry Bonds and
> we're a little pissed when we can't.
>
> Give racing common rules and common
> distances with a little variation of surface
> and track layout and you have something
> close to other popular sports.
>
> Add in some national standings and
> local rankings and then you have something
> that will excite the typical American moron.
>
> In American, everything is about comptetion.
> The playing field must be more or less even
> so that the "market forces" play out.
>
> May the best man/horse win...
>
> Disclaimer: I don't agree with what I just
> wrote. I wish Americans could appreciate
> racing for racing's sake and the innate beauty
> of the sport. It's just that I know my people
> and I know what they prefer. They prefer
> defined rules on a standard playing field
> and tend to root for local heroes.
>
> --
> Good Luck,
> olrailbird
> www.stevenberry.com


Very interesting point of view, and being closer to the scene, possibly
more accurate than mine. But I am not sure that your comments
about the things which attract support for most sporting events is the same
for racing? The uniformity I mentioned is not really about a level playing
field. All contestants of any race get that as they all have to cover the
same
ground in the same conditions. It really relates to what the casual or first
time racegoer gets out of their visit apart from leaving a few dollars
behind.

US racing hardly presents their stars at their best. Being led and escorted
to the start misses a great opportunity to allow the public to see their
fancies in their paces before having a bet. I can only speak for the UK
fans,
but I know how important it is to them to see this pre - race run to the
start.
There is something awe inspiring about a thoroughbred moving at a fast
canter and the way it covers ground without effort. It is worth seeing. It
adds
to the enjoyment and even newcomers are impressed.

But this is just minor missed opportunity to add to the attractions of a day
at the races. The courses will always be flat and left handed and close to
identical and , although I wonder ,I have no right to doubt that you are
correct
when you say Americans prefer it that way. I see the scene from a long way
off and I am guessing to a degree. although I am certain about one thing
concerning race enthusiasts here.

Of all the qualities the racehorse offers the most endearing, sometimes tear
inducing, and often heartbreaking, is to be found when horses are tested
over,
what the US sees as extreme distances. It is no coincidence that in a poll
taken
here to find the most popular horses the stayer will come out on top. Many
will be jumpers, but I fancy that this has more to do with the fact that
guts and
courage are the needed qualities rather than the fact that fences are
jumped.

And that is what my comments about uniformity were aimed at. New clients
will see little difference in 6 7 8 or 9 furlong races but they might find
racing
more interesting when they can occasionally see their choice passing the
stand 3 times? I could be way out, but I still feel the uniformity of the
racecard, although fine for the gambler, will do little to attract new blood
into the game. Hype it as much as you like, but in the end the product has
to
be right to sustain interest and support.

Seems those who manage US racing have deemed that one of the qualities
( to my mind ,the most attractive and marketable one) of the racehorse
is not right for US consumption. I will never understand this reasoning.

To use your examples with other sports. it is like deciding that the Olympic
Marathon can be decided well enough over 13 miles or that The Masters
does not need the test of 72 holes to find a winner,36 will be plenty, and
why
not 2 x 20 minute halves for the Superbowl? I mean, what the hell has
stamina, courage or endurance got to do with sport?

Happy Xmas to all.

LC








24 Dec 2005 15:01:22
MMcC
Re: Horse Racing

On Fri, 23 Dec 2005 23:28:46 GMT, "Mustang5" <[email protected] >
wrote:

>
><[email protected]> wrote in message
>news:[email protected]
>> There is a National Thoroughbred Racing Association (http://ntra.com/),
>> but it is a relatively new organization.
>
>I hope they come up with some kind of a great national publicity campaign so
>that race tracks don't go out of business. Last year I was able to go to
>Keeneland for the first time and had the time of my life. (I live in
>California.) Seeing the famous jockeys and horses run was wonderful and
>exciting. Being able to go see and touch Smarty Jones, Ghostzapper, and
>others was a high point. Somehow the jockeys and horses need to be made
>stars that people look up to and want to follow.

Best Mate, Arkle, Persian Punch, Red Rum, Makybe Diva, John
Henry.......... all stars...... huge stars. The first 5 all stopped
whole nations with their exploits or news of their deaths. Household
names, much loved, frontpage newsgetters. True stars.

What they all had in common is they raced for years, at a high level.
It's hard for a horse that races a year or two to grab the public's
attention in the same way.
The exception to that would be Secretariat, but then he was such a
truly remarkable horse, the likes of who we'll possibly never see
again, 1 in a zillion.

Just from my observations living stateside, the problem the average
Joe Public has with racing in the US is that they find it boring, and
with good reason. As Lescor already pointed out, there is such a
sameness to it all, cookie cutter tracks, the vast majority of races
between 5 and 9f. Unless you're a horse fan or a betting nerd, I can
see where people would not be grabbed by it.

There was an interesting article recently about the Far Hills races in
NJ (steeplechasing, I should see if I can't find the article). But
there was a huge crowd there, many of them young adults. There was no
betting, no gimmicks, no slots, hell not even a grandstand. They all
showed up to watch the spectacle of horses galloping up and down
hills, jumping fences and racing each other to the line. Crowds of
30-40k are not uncommon at some of these meets, whole families,
sometimes even the family dog.... http://tinyurl.com/87w77




25 Dec 2005 09:06:43
Lescor
Re: Horse Racing


"MMcC" <[email protected] > wrote in message
news:[email protected]
> On Fri, 23 Dec 2005 23:28:46 GMT, "Mustang5" <[email protected]>
> wrote:
>
>>
>><[email protected]> wrote in message
>>news:[email protected]
>>> There is a National Thoroughbred Racing Association (http://ntra.com/),
>>> but it is a relatively new organization.
>>
>>I hope they come up with some kind of a great national publicity campaign
>>so
>>that race tracks don't go out of business. Last year I was able to go to
>>Keeneland for the first time and had the time of my life. (I live in
>>California.) Seeing the famous jockeys and horses run was wonderful and
>>exciting. Being able to go see and touch Smarty Jones, Ghostzapper, and
>>others was a high point. Somehow the jockeys and horses need to be made
>>stars that people look up to and want to follow.
>
> Best Mate, Arkle, Persian Punch, Red Rum, Makybe Diva, John
> Henry.......... all stars...... huge stars. The first 5 all stopped
> whole nations with their exploits or news of their deaths. Household
> names, much loved, frontpage newsgetters. True stars.
>
> What they all had in common is they raced for years, at a high level.
> It's hard for a horse that races a year or two to grab the public's
> attention in the same way.
> The exception to that would be Secretariat, but then he was such a
> truly remarkable horse, the likes of who we'll possibly never see
> again, 1 in a zillion.
>
> Just from my observations living stateside, the problem the average
> Joe Public has with racing in the US is that they find it boring, and
> with good reason. As Lescor already pointed out, there is such a
> sameness to it all, cookie cutter tracks, the vast majority of races
> between 5 and 9f. Unless you're a horse fan or a betting nerd, I can
> see where people would not be grabbed by it.
>
> There was an interesting article recently about the Far Hills races in
> NJ (steeplechasing, I should see if I can't find the article). But
> there was a huge crowd there, many of them young adults. There was no
> betting, no gimmicks, no slots, hell not even a grandstand. They all
> showed up to watch the spectacle of horses galloping up and down
> hills, jumping fences and racing each other to the line. Crowds of
> 30-40k are not uncommon at some of these meets, whole families,
> sometimes even the family dog.... http://tinyurl.com/87w77

Agree absolutely. Many suggest better publicity for the betting options
racing provides, and it is obviously an area which needs to be promoted
when there are more and more gambling alternatives. But the future of the
sport is not just in attracting the gamblers. It needs a nucleus of fans
who
enjoy the betting as just part of the entertainment and it is the stars, the
horses, who can provide this if given the chance.

Your example of horses like Best Mate, Arkle, Persian Punch, Red Rum
is spot on. They were all loved, adored might be more descriptive. Three
of them were chasers, but I feel that this is just coincidence. Persian
Punch
was a long distance flat racer who tried to win a group one race without
success for the whole of his career. But despite this, and the opposition
of those Derby winning, classic winning elite and valuable rivals, this old
gelding was voted far ahead of them as the nations most popular horse
and his death, like the others, was headline news in the all the daily
papers
and not just on the racing pages.

The reason? He, like the rest, were stayers. He gave the public so many
moments of hair standing doggedness and courage with his will to win that
it was impossible for them not to take him to their hearts, and he did it
for
season after season. The affection for horses of this type cannot be bought
by employing publicity agents, but it is available far cheaper, by
performance.

Some say that this quality isn't one which will attract Americans. They
worship only champions and (assumed) world beaters. How will we ever
know? It would be far too simplistic to suggest that because ( although
declining in quality maybe?) UK racing is very healthy it is because it
continues to promote stayers and US racing is in decline because it
doesn't. Nevertheless, it is a fact and possibly one which should be noted?

It is an appropriate day to remember that old quiz type joke.

Question. Born in a stable many years ago and adored by his millions
of followers throughout the world. Who is he?

Answer. Red Rum.


And of course true. Starting life as a poor flat horse over 6F and gained
fame by winning that Grand National 4 1/2 mile slog so many times

I have no complete answer to why US racing is not more popular, but
maybe the lack of colour and alternatives the public are offered is one
of them? Maybe a sport where the public is being short changed in the
interests of betting and the deliberate breeding away from what I
and many others see as the greatest of all the thoroughbreds many
qualities?




I think I have done this topic to death now....


LC

















30 Dec 2005 01:59:45
olrailbird
Re: Horse Racing

Lescor,

As always, you've made some astute points.

Americans just seem interested in a quick fix
and a high payoff for very little work. Run
the damned race, pay me off and let's move on...

We love statistics for statistics' sake. Run the
numbers take a shot and move on to the next race!

I don't think we appreciate the beauty of the
sport. Oh, we might enjoy some of the human
interest aspects like Smarty Jones surviving a
blow to the head or Afleet Alex damned near
falling down yet pulling off to win, but in the
end we just like running numbers.

Consider Babe Ruth's 714 home runs compared
to Hank Aarron's 744. Different times, different
game but Hank is on top because he has 744.

We've lost our attention span over here! Three
runs past the grandstand is just boring.

I'm inclined to agree with everything you say
and yet if I don't see the fractional times in the
past performances I feel information I need
to run my numbers is being unfairly witheld.

I don't really know how to *save* horse
racing in America, but I think part of the
problem is a lack of cooperation between
tracks. I think the game needs greater
uniformity in rules, tougher penalties for
cheaters and much better advertising.

Pulling a slot handle is so much easier and
the takeout so much lower that it is
little wonder the Indians are winning back
the country a nickel at a time...

--
Good Luck,
olrailbird
www.stevenberry.com


Lescor wrote:
> "olrailbird" <[email protected]> wrote in message
> news:[email protected]
>> Lescor wrote: (Mostly about uniformity)
>>
>> I appreciate your point of view but I disagree.
>>
>> Many sports thrive on uniformity.
>>
>> Football (US, though same uniformity for soccer)
>> has a 100 yard field, only turf or fake turf.
>>
>> Baseball has 90ft between bases, 60ft 6 inches
>> mound to plate. Lines vary but not that much
>> on whole.
>>
>> Basketball has indentical courts.
>>
>> Water polo? Track and field? All same...
>>
>> Golf varies courses, of course -- but where does
>> that rank???
>>
>> Bowling. Dah...
>>
>> I don't think it is *sameness* that kills racing, there
>> are too many more popular sports that suffer as
>> much or more *sameness*.
>>
>> I really think the problem is *lack* of sameness.
>>
>> Americans want things categorized. They want
>> definite boundaries of competition. Racing is
>> too damned random -- random drug laws,
>> random distances, random this and random that!
>>
>> What we need is uniform rules and uniform
>> distances. We want sprinters that sprint and
>> routers that route and fairness within the groups.
>>
>> Americans are territorial and will root for locals.
>>
>> We need racing ideas that make the fan a part
>> of the game. Maybe city team racing...
>>
>> I will admit that Americans are silly in their
>> team/local/uniform approach to sports. I will
>> even admit that your idea of more random
>> distances and surfaces is probably more
>> interesting...
>>
>> Unfortunately, Americans have a thing about
>> equal competition and level playing fields.
>> They also like a local team interest. All the
>> major sports play on these terms...
>>
>> We are a nation of statistics. We want to
>> compare Babe Ruth to Barry Bonds and
>> we're a little pissed when we can't.
>>
>> Give racing common rules and common
>> distances with a little variation of surface
>> and track layout and you have something
>> close to other popular sports.
>>
>> Add in some national standings and
>> local rankings and then you have something
>> that will excite the typical American moron.
>>
>> In American, everything is about comptetion.
>> The playing field must be more or less even
>> so that the "market forces" play out.
>>
>> May the best man/horse win...
>>
>> Disclaimer: I don't agree with what I just
>> wrote. I wish Americans could appreciate
>> racing for racing's sake and the innate beauty
>> of the sport. It's just that I know my people
>> and I know what they prefer. They prefer
>> defined rules on a standard playing field
>> and tend to root for local heroes.
>>
>> --
>> Good Luck,
>> olrailbird
>> www.stevenberry.com
>
>
> Very interesting point of view, and being closer to the scene,
> possibly more accurate than mine. But I am not sure that your
> comments
> about the things which attract support for most sporting events is
> the same for racing? The uniformity I mentioned is not really about
> a level playing field. All contestants of any race get that as they
> all have to cover the same
> ground in the same conditions. It really relates to what the casual
> or first time racegoer gets out of their visit apart from leaving a
> few dollars behind.
>
> US racing hardly presents their stars at their best. Being led and
> escorted to the start misses a great opportunity to allow the public
> to see their fancies in their paces before having a bet. I can only
> speak for the UK fans,
> but I know how important it is to them to see this pre - race run to
> the start.
> There is something awe inspiring about a thoroughbred moving at a fast
> canter and the way it covers ground without effort. It is worth
> seeing. It adds
> to the enjoyment and even newcomers are impressed.
>
> But this is just minor missed opportunity to add to the attractions
> of a day at the races. The courses will always be flat and left
> handed and close to identical and , although I wonder ,I have no
> right to doubt that you are correct
> when you say Americans prefer it that way. I see the scene from a
> long way off and I am guessing to a degree. although I am certain
> about one thing concerning race enthusiasts here.
>
> Of all the qualities the racehorse offers the most endearing,
> sometimes tear inducing, and often heartbreaking, is to be found when
> horses are tested over,
> what the US sees as extreme distances. It is no coincidence that in
> a poll taken
> here to find the most popular horses the stayer will come out on top.
> Many will be jumpers, but I fancy that this has more to do with the
> fact that guts and
> courage are the needed qualities rather than the fact that fences are
> jumped.
>
> And that is what my comments about uniformity were aimed at. New
> clients will see little difference in 6 7 8 or 9 furlong races but
> they might find racing
> more interesting when they can occasionally see their choice passing
> the stand 3 times? I could be way out, but I still feel the
> uniformity of the racecard, although fine for the gambler, will do
> little to attract new blood into the game. Hype it as much as you
> like, but in the end the product has to
> be right to sustain interest and support.
>
> Seems those who manage US racing have deemed that one of the qualities
> ( to my mind ,the most attractive and marketable one) of the racehorse
> is not right for US consumption. I will never understand this
> reasoning.
>
> To use your examples with other sports. it is like deciding that the
> Olympic Marathon can be decided well enough over 13 miles or that The
> Masters
> does not need the test of 72 holes to find a winner,36 will be
> plenty, and why
> not 2 x 20 minute halves for the Superbowl? I mean, what the hell has
> stamina, courage or endurance got to do with sport?
>
> Happy Xmas to all.
>
> LC




30 Dec 2005 03:00:25
olrailbird
Re: Horse Racing

Lescor,

I really don't think it is *sameness* dooming US racing --
slots are basically all the same and they are extrememely
popular and have been for many years.

Here is a list for US racing failure:

1) Large takeout. Racing takes between 15% and 40% of
the money bet. Such take appears to be permissable in
lottery games where the top payout is millions, but it is
apparently subconciously felt as unfair with low payouts.
It's easier for the average person to win money at casino
games than the racetrack -- despite the fact that casino
odds are fixed and track odds are just opinion.

2) Cheating -- Most folks here think the game is fixed and
for good reasons. If racing were as popular as baseball,
Congress would have taken up this issue long ago. It's
past time to hold cheaters responsible for their actions.

3) Dumb Americans with short attention spans.
We don't want to bother learning how to handicap and
have enough problems remembering the "human interest"
stories of our major sport players...Most Americans don't
bother to mark their own spots on the lottery, much less
handicap a race. Just pull the handle...

4) Short Careers -- Horses just don't last long enough for
the public to gain real interest. The game here has evolved
into some kind of elite breeding investment opportunity
rather than racing. "Can I buy the Derby winner?" is
seemingly the only question asked. It doesn't really matter
what distance a horse runs for many years, only that the
horse runs for many years. Americans *do* appreciate
longevity (see Cal Ripken, Jr. for details.)

5) Invisibility -- Go Baby Go? NTRA sucks. The only time
we hear about race results is the Triple Crown and
Breeder's Cup -- even then it's a quickie hardly mentioned.

6) Group Think -- Although Americans appreciate true
individual heroes, we like to think of them as the major
cog in a team machine. Babe Ruth's story would be
seriously demeaned had he stayed a Red Sox instead
of a Yankee. Americans admire individual effort, but
they are more enamored of team play. For example,
Barry Bonds is regarded by most baseball historians
as the greatest player ever, but he will be forever
given an asterisk, not because of steroid accusations,
but because he could never "lead" his team(s) to a
World Series win...

In short, we both want success for this game on both
sides of the pond, Lescor. We have much more upon
which to agree upon than to disagree.

I will admit my compatriots are, for the most part, a
bunch of idiotic, statistics-bound, short-minded,
group-thinking, capitalistic morons who would rather
receive near-term rewards than long-satisfiying
historical memories of great horses.

But, that don't make 'em bad people...

If twelve furlongs is the upper limit for the attention
span on this side of the pond, then so be it. I can live
with that (and pay attention as well.)

I'm interested in fairness and honesty above all else.

The fact is, the takeout on racing is not fair to the
bettors. Couple this with the cheating and it is
obvious why the public would much rather pull
a handle or take their chances on the fall of the cards.

The only reason for the success of lay betting and
rebate shops is the abominable takeout. Fix this
first and the rest will follow...

--
Good Luck,
olrailbird
www.stevenberry.com

Lescor wrote:
> "MMcC" <[email protected]> wrote in message
> news:[email protected]
>> On Fri, 23 Dec 2005 23:28:46 GMT, "Mustang5" <[email protected]>
>> wrote:
>>
>>>
>>> <[email protected]> wrote in message
>>> news:[email protected]
>>>> There is a National Thoroughbred Racing Association
>>>> (http://ntra.com/),but it is a relatively new organization.
>>>
>>> I hope they come up with some kind of a great national publicity
>>> campaign so
>>> that race tracks don't go out of business. Last year I was able to
>>> go to Keeneland for the first time and had the time of my life. (I
>>> live in California.) Seeing the famous jockeys and horses run was
>>> wonderful and exciting. Being able to go see and touch Smarty
>>> Jones, Ghostzapper, and others was a high point. Somehow the
>>> jockeys and horses need to be made stars that people look up to and
>>> want to follow.
>>
>> Best Mate, Arkle, Persian Punch, Red Rum, Makybe Diva, John
>> Henry.......... all stars...... huge stars. The first 5 all stopped
>> whole nations with their exploits or news of their deaths. Household
>> names, much loved, frontpage newsgetters. True stars.
>>
>> What they all had in common is they raced for years, at a high level.
>> It's hard for a horse that races a year or two to grab the public's
>> attention in the same way.
>> The exception to that would be Secretariat, but then he was such a
>> truly remarkable horse, the likes of who we'll possibly never see
>> again, 1 in a zillion.
>>
>> Just from my observations living stateside, the problem the average
>> Joe Public has with racing in the US is that they find it boring, and
>> with good reason. As Lescor already pointed out, there is such a
>> sameness to it all, cookie cutter tracks, the vast majority of races
>> between 5 and 9f. Unless you're a horse fan or a betting nerd, I can
>> see where people would not be grabbed by it.
>>
>> There was an interesting article recently about the Far Hills races
>> in NJ (steeplechasing, I should see if I can't find the article). But
>> there was a huge crowd there, many of them young adults. There was no
>> betting, no gimmicks, no slots, hell not even a grandstand. They all
>> showed up to watch the spectacle of horses galloping up and down
>> hills, jumping fences and racing each other to the line. Crowds of
>> 30-40k are not uncommon at some of these meets, whole families,
>> sometimes even the family dog.... http://tinyurl.com/87w77
>
> Agree absolutely. Many suggest better publicity for the betting
> options racing provides, and it is obviously an area which needs to
> be promoted when there are more and more gambling alternatives. But
> the future of the sport is not just in attracting the gamblers. It
> needs a nucleus of fans who
> enjoy the betting as just part of the entertainment and it is the
> stars, the horses, who can provide this if given the chance.
>
> Your example of horses like Best Mate, Arkle, Persian Punch, Red Rum
> is spot on. They were all loved, adored might be more descriptive.
> Three
> of them were chasers, but I feel that this is just coincidence.
> Persian Punch
> was a long distance flat racer who tried to win a group one race
> without success for the whole of his career. But despite this, and
> the opposition of those Derby winning, classic winning elite and
> valuable rivals, this old gelding was voted far ahead of them as the
> nations most popular horse
> and his death, like the others, was headline news in the all the daily
> papers
> and not just on the racing pages.
>
> The reason? He, like the rest, were stayers. He gave the public so
> many moments of hair standing doggedness and courage with his will to
> win that it was impossible for them not to take him to their hearts,
> and he did it for
> season after season. The affection for horses of this type cannot be
> bought by employing publicity agents, but it is available far
> cheaper, by performance.
>
> Some say that this quality isn't one which will attract Americans.
> They worship only champions and (assumed) world beaters. How will we
> ever
> know? It would be far too simplistic to suggest that because (
> although declining in quality maybe?) UK racing is very healthy it is
> because it continues to promote stayers and US racing is in decline
> because it doesn't. Nevertheless, it is a fact and possibly one which
> should be noted?
>
> It is an appropriate day to remember that old quiz type joke.
>
> Question. Born in a stable many years ago and adored by his millions
> of followers throughout the world. Who is he?
>
> Answer. Red Rum.
>
>
> And of course true. Starting life as a poor flat horse over 6F and
> gained fame by winning that Grand National 4 1/2 mile slog so many
> times
>
> I have no complete answer to why US racing is not more popular, but
> maybe the lack of colour and alternatives the public are offered is
> one
> of them? Maybe a sport where the public is being short changed in the
> interests of betting and the deliberate breeding away from what I
> and many others see as the greatest of all the thoroughbreds many
> qualities?
>
>
>
>
> I think I have done this topic to death now....
>
>
> LC




30 Dec 2005 16:58:13
Uber_Micro
Re: Horse Racing


Its odd to me that people really think "the game" is what brings
people to a sport. At leaste thats the way it is being posted here.

Do you really think baseball is a better game than hockey? Cricket?
American football over football? Its not "the game" that really draws
people to sports more the fact that people know it, played it as kids,
can associate with it or that the game is some how "sexy." The image
of the game. Look at NBA as a way out for inner city kids. Boxing as a
sport just "the boys" understand. People in this thread are
concentrating on the wrong things. Make a horse race track more like a
casino floor with fancy drinks served by beautifull women, with users
wearing tuxes. This is the kinda "high roller" sex appeal that will
bring to life horse racing. People arn't going to be able to associate
so well with horse racing to make it work on the level of other
sports. You might ask why is NASCAR so succesful when it has many of
the pitfalls of the horse track dirty etc, well for one people
understand what it means to be in a fast care, aditionally people can
drink alot of alchol at the car race track and not worry about
gambeling like a idiot for the whole time. After the image is write
with horse racing "the game" will take care of itself.

/uber_micro


--
3.6 billion Years of Natural Selection Can't be Wrong