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Harness Racing Gets Social

Published: September 8, 2012 12:44 pm ET

Last Comment: September 8, 2012 5:40 pm ET | 1 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

Trainers and drivers discuss using social media as a tool to engage with horse racing fans and handicappers in this week's Standardbred Canada video feature.

Industry media, trainers, drivers, owners, and racetrack management are quickly catching on with the popular trend of using Twitter and Facebook to connect fans and handicappers with the world of horse racing. Daily interactions from horse racing’s participants include the sharing of personal and racing related news, photos and videos, promotional details on upcoming events, jokes, conversations, and virtual high-fives for those with an enviable night on the track.

“I think its part of the new age,” said driver Scott Coulter. “We have to get with the times. Horse racing is a little [behind] the times so this is just another step closer to the new age. It’s a great idea. It keeps people current and I like the interaction.”

One of the growing trends for trainers and drivers is to post brief comments about their horses on their public social media profiles before they race in an attempt to give handicappers more insight on the horse’s current form. The goal is to provide more transparency to the betting public with updates on their horses, much like how industry organizations and racetracks conduct interviews on news websites and simulcast shows leading up to and following the races.

“Oh I think it’s great, the more information we can get out to the public the better,” said trainer Tom Durand. “I think we’re largely regarded as a closed community that has a lot of secret information and if we can have our people make the public comfortable with things they’re saying it should bring more customers.”

“Listen, we have to reattach ourselves with the gamblers out there and I’ve said this to many horsemen before,” said driver Anthony MacDonald. “What’s more down to earth than actually talking to the people that are sitting behind the horse or that are training the horse or even in some cases the people that take care of the horses in the morning. People really want to know this stuff. It’s a great game and it’s a super tool to get people involved and keep them informed. A lot of gamblers will stick to handicapping. They see through what a driver says or what a trainer says. Just because I think a horse might be good on a particular night doesn’t really mean that he is. I’m a driver, not a handicapper, so there’s a lot of stuff I miss, but I think it’s a great tool for the handicappers to use and maybe take a look at and see. Maybe they missed something, maybe they didn’t know something.”

For your horse racing updates, get connected by following @trotinsider and @trotmagazine on Twitter and liking Standardbred Canada's Fan Page on Facebook.

September 8, 2012 - 5:40 pmThanks to Billy Davis, Mark

Thanks to Billy Davis, Mark and Anthony MacDonald, three drivers who truly embrace twitter and harness racing fandom. Many others tweet, but give precious little substance to help handicappers at all. Some others are scared off for fear of what they may say, or pressure from owners who want nothing to do with bettors. Casey Coleman tweeted some gems a while ago and helped my handicapping tremendously, but was obviously got a gag order or was scared to give concrete info for fear of repercussion.

Please, please, please respect and embrace the handicappers. Do not ignore and insult them. They build the pools that contribute to purses. It is more important now than ever before.

Insider information that shows up on tote boards nightly are a cancer to racing...when you see a horse that should be 8/1 appear on the board at even money, it only builds on the perception of race fixing. Good handicappers know and understand morning lines and what an entrant's approximate odds should be. It would be nice not only to try to get new customers, but keeping the old ones is also imperative.


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