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Anthony MacDonald's Blog


It can't be us against the world

Published: October 10, 2016 2:49 pm ET

Last Comment: October 15, 2016 6:45 pm ET | 26 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

I took a long overdue trip to Lexington, Kentucky this past week. What a beautiful city.

A university town as polite as my own right here in Guelph.

The pinnacle of grand circuit racing on one of the most famed tracks in North America.

You should also try to make the time to visit the Kentucky Horse Park; the home and resting place of some of the most beautiful horses to grace us with their presence.

Unfortunately for me, I couldn't see everything as I was in Lexington looking for yearlings for For those of you that have been to the Fasig-Tipton Sales Pavilion, you know how overwhelming it is and how long the days are.

I compared notes with people I respect, had the odd drink and slept when the sale book pages began to blur.

On Saturday I had to meet a client, so I asked to meet at the Red Mile.
He said he couldn't, because he was going to be at Keeneland for opening weekend and asked if I could join him there?

I had never been to Keeneland but heard it was something to see, so I agreed to meet him at 3:00 p.m., but first headed to the Red Mile to watch some Grand Circuit races.

I arrived later at Keeneland and was amazed.

I took some pictures of the enormous crowd that was predominantly young people.
How did they do this? How did they get so many young people to the track?

Well, it turns out the university works with this thoroughbred track to get young people out to the facility, and it is unbelievable. There were 30,000 screaming fans at Keeneland, which was shocking because there was also a Kentucky Wildcats football game starting and it had 45,000 screaming fans in attendance.

An obvious question popped into my head immediately, why are we racing against these two events?

I believe everyone in our industry is well aware some of the biggest industry questions are: how do we get young people out to the track? How do we grow our fan base?

A sunny day at one of our greatest tracks with our greatest horses and drivers competing should be a good way, correct?

Why would you run our races when the very clients we are so desperately trying to attract are absolutely guaranteed to be elsewhere?

When I inquired, people told me it was scheduling problems, but I'm certain Keeneland didn't decide on a whim to open that weekend.

I'm equally sure the Kentucky Wildcats made it aware to everyone on earth that they would be hosting Vanderbilt that specific Saturday.

I was told by a very respected person that me being at Keeneland was embarrassing because I should support our industry. The embarrassment is people attempting to make an argument for why this happened at all.

Why does our industry continue to make errors and be oblivious to what in the general public is likely up to on a Saturday in October?

It can't continue to be us against the world.

We are losing a fight we don't have to be in.

For the people that know me, you know I am political, I try to stay on as many people's good side as I can (new leaf), but from time to time you need to speak up.

We are in no position to go head-to-head with a university football team and Keeneland Race Course on any weekend, let alone opening weekend.

How are we ever going to build a fan base like that?

Just so we are all clear, we are a subsidized industry, and both our countries run debts and deficits.

If we can't grow our membership lists, our industry investment, and our fan base, how can we possibly put together anything resembling a business plan?

Eventually "we deserve money" won't cut it, and we will lose it all.

Quebec was destroyed, Ontario run over, Pennsylvania warned, and losses were seen in Michigan, Illinois and New Brunswick.

We cannot afford to continue to make poor business decisions.

It's not hard to silence one person, I will eventually go away, but where are the rest of you?

This isn't about Ontario, Kentucky or Pennsylvania.
This is about families, children, horses, and all our futures.

I enjoyed every second I was in Lexington, Kentucky and I'm only writing this because I'd like it to be around long enough to enjoy it with my kids.

Anthony MacDonald

The views presented in Trot Blogs are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Standardbred Canada.

October 15, 2016 - 6:45 pmWell said Norm. You are bang

Carolyn Rae SAID...

Well said Norm. You are bang on!

October 15, 2016 - 6:41 pmAnthony, Very well said!

Carolyn Rae SAID...

Anthony, Very well said! Let's hope not just some, but many horsemen are listening to you. This is very well written, to the point, and you nailed it! We have been saying for years now, why on earth is the Red Mile running it's biggest races on opening day at Keeneland. But to take it one step closer to home Anthony, why are tracks here in Ontario competing on the same days, now that the number of tracks have been drastically reduced, and for a few of the B tracks still open, the number of days cut to a ridiculously low number. One way to ensure the small B tracks fail, is to have several tracks in the same vicinity, competing on the same days, which drastically reduces the number of entries, ultimately resulting in some classes not filling and hence not running for weeks at a time. For example, our business, gives a beautiful new facility like Georgian Downs, a few days in the summer, and we are now hearing through the rumour mill, that number may be cut to approximately 13 days racing next year at Georgian Downs, due to some complaints from Western Ontario, that it is too far to drive to race. Horsemen from Western Ontario shouldn't have to drive to Georgian Downs to race. There should be a track open in Western Ontario for them to race at the same time, as Georgian is Open in Central Ontario, and likewise, Kawartha Downs in South Central and Rideau in Eastern Ontario.

October 14, 2016 - 6:55 pmIf I was in charge of

If I was in charge of scheduling, Woodbine would race Thursday, Saturday, Sunday at 1pm and Friday night during the winter months. Monday nights would be scrapped.

Those of us from the Greenwood and early Woodbine days know the kinds of crowds the afternoons used to bring in. There was a buzz that has long vanished. Instead of the track having a good crowd that can only bet thoroughbred simulcasting on those afternoons, why not give them live racing too. Many who would travel to watch the races live would prefer to do it during the afternoon in the winter months. Understandably, Thursdays afternoon crowd would consist of mainly locals who attend the simulcast but I still believe it would work a lot better than Thursday nights.

All trot races could be written for Thursdays with the exception of the Open Trots.

Fridays could be ladies night (might even be able to promote that)

Saturdays could have
Open Pace for the boys
Open Pace for the fillies and mares
Open Trot for the boys
Open Trot for fillies and mares

Sunday could be the day for the younger horses and claimers

October 13, 2016 - 8:04 pmWill, your comments are spot

Will, your comments are spot on. Horse racing needs a commissioner that can market the sport, make the necessary changes, and to do this we need a marketing fund.

October 13, 2016 - 8:35 amLet's stop the chatter about

Let's stop the chatter about Thoroughbreds. They are here to stay and will always do better than harness racing. There are some good ideas posted here. Anthony started by asking the question 'how can we get more younger people attending live racing. Here are some logical and simple changes we can make, many of them already mentioned below.
-earlier post times. Young parents can bring toddlers. Young adults can attend other events after. Older people absolutely do not like driving after dark. Many people don't like dining after 7. Post times on Saturday and Sunday at 1 p.m. or even 4 p.m. would do much better. Horsemen would like it too. Weekdays could be 5 or 5:30 post time. People would go straight from work and more would use the food services available.
--it is true that first time attendees and infrequent attendees think that drivers cheat. I've been asked about that dozens of times. Horsemen and regular attendees get it but hundreds don't. I don't have a solution for this because I have never driven a horse. I'm just saying it is a very real issue.
-- Knock on 100 doors in any sub division and ask about harness racing, 97 won't give a tinkers damn and the other three will mention doping. We have to, absolutely MUST clean up our act.
I have many other comments but am out of space and time.

October 12, 2016 - 11:18 amI'm in full agreement with

Darcy MANN SAID...

I'm in full agreement with John Jackson about the post times of some tracks. Gone are the days from 40 years ago, when you didn't mind driving back to Toronto from Garden City or Mohawk after midnight. Traffic was not bad long ago. My family and friends looked forward to every afternoon racing dates they had. We always had a full car driving to Orangeville for Sundays at 1pm. The high-lite of the year was the Confederation Cup at Flamboro in August, Sunday at 1pm. We held a family reunion there every August up until they switched the post time to 6pm. When they raced at Greenwood on Saturday afternoon, we never missed a day during the winter. Then you had dinner after the track before the Leafs played hockey Sat night. When the harness moved to Woodbine, our family never missed a Sunday afternoon at the track betting the harness races. I still go down to Greenwood Champions every Tuesday afternoon and bet Yonkers, because it has a 1pm post. (and Scott Zeron & Mark Macdonald drive there) Bring back afternoon harness racing and I'll be there 3-4 times a week like a betting fool. #1 rule " Nobody over 60 wants to drive late at night in the dark anymore!"

October 12, 2016 - 10:00 amSame old same old. Very few

Ted Decker SAID...

Same old same old. Very few within the sport doing anything to promote it. The comment about cutting the trainer driver percentage to 4 percent tells a lot. Greed by the so called big names. Always looking for handouts or someone else to fix the problems. Issues are still the same. Large takeouts, nothing offered to get people to the track. I remember in 1994 the president of Rideau Carleton called a meeting in the paddock one night to ask the horsemen what could be done to boost attendance. People had different ideas. I proposed 4: Stop charging admission. Stop charging for parking. Stop charging for programs. Give the people who attend something for nothing. A hot dog or a soft drink. The response I got from the president was if you don't have anything constructive to say don't say anything. A year later all my propositions were in place. The people in control today have the same mentality as then.

October 11, 2016 - 8:27 pm"but the harness track just

"but the harness track just can't attract that thoroughbred crowd. And it never will."

Ron, why did you choose the word "never" in your comment?
I think Anthony and others are talking about building our own "buzz" - not so much converting gamblers.
Gamblers love t-breds because the pilots are leaning forward and the lines are always flapping. The perception is they are trying.
The task of rebuilding harness racing will be protracted and arduous; yet I believe possible.
Harness racing has wheels and horsepower. I can think of another racing industry with wheels and horsepower that does quite well.

October 11, 2016 - 4:21 pmIf I had a dollar for every

chris bush SAID...

If I had a dollar for every Harness horse person that walked right by the wagering window to the slots and dumped a hundred or so I probably could have bought the sale topper at Lexington many times over. We don't even support our own industry. Most millennials are only interested in useless self absorbed activities. It's too complex for them. You may have to wait to see if they ever mature. Having a big crowd doesn't always translate into big handles either. Witness the crowd size when the Meadowlands had the food trucks with little increase in handle and next to no carry over. It's a niche market that increasingly cannot support itself no matter what. How you get newbies to bet and continue to do so should be the focus. Better treatment of the loyal customer base may also be a good place to start. Feeling appreciated goes a long way.

October 11, 2016 - 1:35 pmInstead of giving a bunch of

John Jackson SAID...

Instead of giving a bunch of reasons why something wont work etc., why not focus on what will work? If you want the business, find a way to make it work.

Here is one I could never understand. I don't know why Mohawk, on the weekends, doesn't run at the same time as Woodbine thoroughbreds? It's not 1984 where people wanting to see the races had to leave after the last at Woodbine and then drive to Mohawk. They just remain on track (well very few remain, most exit after the last at either Woodbine or Belmont). If anything, you have the gamblers there, take advantage of it - if your post times are staggered against Woodbine, I sincerely doubt your handle would go down, but rather go up. Once thoroughbreds close, take their 1 p.m. start time on the weekends.

As well, the younger crowd you are trying to attract is not coming out on a Friday or Saturday at 7:30 until 11:00 p.m. to watch racing (and certainly not at Mohawk unless they live either in Milton or maybe Guelph), but rather getting ready for the club or party they are going to that starts after 11 p.m.

Have a unique contest - for a share in one of the horses (like Anthony's concept), and you need to be in attendance for the draw. Have it for four weeks, whatever.

Lastly, given the unpredictable weather who wants to be driving home at 11:15pm in terrible weather versus during daylight. But hey what do I know?

October 11, 2016 - 12:30 pmAnthony... have you

Anthony... have you considered that maybe we are doing exactly what we need to do to try get newer fans into the business. Millennials are all about technology... Viewing things on their phones... getting instant type results through updates etc. They find out if they won while eating chicken wings at a bar with friends, and we have HPI online catering to this.... the best racing product available which supports ALL racetracks.

So I guess we have to look deeper at issues. Maybe we should keep figuring out ways to improve HPI, lower takeouts and not competing with each other by the staggered post times and doing better promotions on site as well to draw fans of all ages in.

I know being from the Maritimes, compared to Ontario where there are many beautiful updated tracks, the racing here is poor at best. I am a huge fan of live racing but it is terrible down here. We have the oldest drivers (many of them in their 70's+), oldest horses that can't race anywhere else, and they do a lousy job of promotion and haven't really changed anything in 30 years when racing was solid down here. The one exception is PEI but it always has been the exception in reality. There is heart and a belief in the industry there. Years ago the tracks could barely survive and had low purses and needed their two big festival weeks to support their industry. Now they have the casino support and they have by far the nicest 2 tracks, best horses and purses in the Maritimes. Main point is they still have the heart, which has been instilled for generations, as they feel proud of their product.

Latest news is Fredericton is whining and wanting more government money, yet what have they done? Truro will be next. Things have not changed at Truro one bit and they have over a 32% takeout on some pools. That's crazy. Why would I want to bet on Truro with low pools and huge takeout when I can tap into the HPI stream (and still bet on Truro if I ever wanted to) with lower takeouts and lower bets with the 20 cent bets plus better and more consistent racing? Tracks need to look at their own interior model just as any business has to. Businesses and business models change in every industry. The tracks that are in trouble generally haven't changed.

It seems as if all the small tracks keep wanting government bail outs. I know here in the Maritimes the tracks always used the point the overall industry would be affected by a closure and pointed to breeding, farming etc. Our recent Nova Scotia Stake for both 2 year olds and 3 year olds bred by NS breeders had 2 ENTRIES EACH. Yes WOW.... but point being, the industry wont be hurt so much here by a closure anymore and truth is the drivers who want to compete can move 1 hour away to the great tracks in PEI. Other businesses that have to shut down often don't have anywhere near as good of an option. Look at the slow down in the oil industry for example.

I guess the main point is the tracks need to stop whining and look at their own model and ways to improve. Fact is, especially from a millennial view and going forward, IT IS US AGAINST THE WORLD. The same as all other industries need to compete on a global scale.

October 11, 2016 - 12:01 pmC'mon Anthony, you just don't

Mike Adams SAID...

C'mon Anthony, you just don't understand how Lexington works.
You should just keep the status quo.
These are the same BS arguments we always hear from people like Marty and Blair.

The reality is that Keeneland is doing 1000x better than the Red Mile. Harness racing will never be as popular as Thoroughbred racing but that doesn't mean you should just walk around with your head in the sand and try to go head to head with them.

The real issue is that people leading this sport don't actually care about growing handle and increasing the popularity. Oh, sure they claim to care, but then when it's time to make changes they don't actually want to do anything.

Harness racing may be a niche sport but even niche sports have to make smart scheduling decisions. Racing on Saturday afternoon in Lexington against Keeneland's Super Saturday and the football game isn't smart business..... but it's fine if you really don't care about handle and you really don't care about growing your popularity because you are more concerned with making sure that the sale and the horseman get what they want and the status quo stays in tact.

Until harness racing wakes up and realizes that the status quo is the reason the game is failing and makes real changes to their priorities nothing will get fixed.

Right now slots are paying the bills and if harness racing really wants to move to a landscape with increased popularity and increased handle it might be a good idea to make some actual changes to fix these two issues.

If you are happy with the current state then by all means carry on do nothing just as Marty and Blair suggest.

October 11, 2016 - 10:44 amThe first 2 days at Keeneland

Will Yamakva SAID...

The first 2 days at Keeneland broke both attendance and handle records. Must be doing something right.

I have been posting here on this site for many years, and I constantly get told that "t-shirt giveaways" and "promotions at the track aimed at the 20 somethings" is never going to work, and that take out and fixing the classes of the races was the way to go. Strange, here we have Anthony talking about the 20 somethings packing a racetrack. They are getting their feet wet in the world of horse racing. Meadowlands? Same thing, they are having great on track attendance and the money is being spent on beer or dinner or whatever, and that revenue might not translate to huge handles, it eases the loss Gural is suffering.

Hockey fans might hate Bettman, but the owners love the guy. He is making them tons of cash that they were not getting prior to his reign. They went outside of their sport to get a money generator. Sure, he experimented with lots of stuff, but the game has not had this kind of attendance, nor generated the kind of tv ratings and been in as many homes as are now.

I do not want to sound disrespectful, but listening to the comments around here are painful sometimes. It is clear to me the horsemen need to band together as a group, and get someone outside of the sport to lead the sport in the direction it needs to get to the masses. In doing that, they need to accept the changes that they suggest. That person would be able to say "we need to shorten the length of our cards as the 4 hour card clearly isn't working and hasn't worked for many many many years". The horseman need to accept that, and have things ready to go when the minutes to post clock reaches zero. It is TOTALLY not acceptable that up to 8 minutes might roll on after the zero minutes to post.

This person needs to be able to take the drivers of the sport, and market them. There are some funny charismatic personalities in this sport. Too bad sports fans have no clue who they are. Even guys that ride the pine for the Toronto FC appear in ads somewhere. Not much from the drivers. A slick marketing campaign could do wonders.

This person needs to say "a new $2-$5 fee will be attached to every entry, and that money is invested in putting the game on the TV", and horseman must go along with this. If you are not willing to invest $30 a week in yourself, why should anyone else?

It is funny when I look at what I do for a living, and that is fill venues with bodies to see music. Most of the time, do I not only not attend the shows, but do not like the music, but that does not change that my lone job is to fill venues. This means different marketing strategies for different genres of music. This means thinking outside the box. Horsemen, unlike the acts that go through these venues, they trust those who's job it is to fill seats. The venues, they trust those who's job it is to put bodies in the building. This does not seem to the be case with harness racing. It appears to be a group that does not want to make large enough changes to "tradition" and the current business model, to keep up with today's situation.

I love harness racing, but it is clear it will not survive in Ontario for another decade or two if they do not think outside the box and put trust in people who have expertise in luring fans to events. Right now....... thinking "we are racing and that is enough", ain't enough.

October 11, 2016 - 8:59 amSummed up in one word, one of

Sheldon Rose SAID...

Summed up in one word, one of the biggest problems we have is "OVERLAP". It applies to the post times... why doesn't Flamboro start at 1 or 4. On weekends the post time could be 1. Why compete with WEG? It applies to condition sheets... classes are run on consecutive days at Ontario tracks. With the dwindling horse supply, we don't necessarily fill these races with competitive fields. It applies to all the bureaucratic positions the government has created to run and regulate this industry..... far too many. It's too bad that those in charge don't read these blogs or take us seriously. They are the ones who could do something.

October 11, 2016 - 8:39 amBlair and Marty... instead of

John Hill SAID...

Blair and Marty... instead of giving up we should be trying to emulate the success of the competition. Status quo is not the way to go. We need true leadership for the industry (Anthony) and not those looking out for their own interests only. Divide and conquer is working beautifully for the liberal government.

October 11, 2016 - 6:43 amIf Gural can't make the

If Gural can't make the iconic Meadowlands work, how are we going to survive here? How will harness racing survive?
All of the slot money US or Canadian will ultimately wake up to a no win situation.
They will leave.
Thoroughbreds will survive, they are more popular and if standardbreds go, they may get some more fans.
Gural is close at about a $5 million loss per year.
He has a lot going on. He markets and has connections.
We, up here, have no chance.
If we don't try to make "Entertainment" the big part of WEG, we are stupid.
We all have ideas to attract people,
I have some ideas but so do so many others.
A good start would be with the restaurants.
We could get so much more happening in such a great facility like Mohawk or Woodbine.
Like others said we are polite and stuck in the past.
Closing the buffet after the 6th, the same menu, just nonsense all round.
Standardbred horespeople are not being well serve. Standardbred racing is not being promoted properly.
We have the facility that could be many different entertainment attraction, we may be the side show that is there but it will expose us and we can compliment what draws people, young people, to the facility.

October 11, 2016 - 2:58 amGive Amac credit for

Give Amac credit for observing and commenting on something working well. Keeneland like Saratoga is somewhat of an aabbreviated meet, both with great histories. Handle and attendance are amazing.

Years ago harness enjoyed the same attention. Today many potential fans have reservations based on perceptions of racing integrity, other competing opportunities, and a night of racing can be dreadfully long.

Yet, change is hard to come by and those like Tony who offer ideas are ignored for the sake of past tradition.

Innovation is badly needed. Rethink post times. Link racing to other events like hockey and football. Integrate A & B track drivers. Offer dinner/race packages. Look at cost structures for dinner and drinks. Rethink year round racing. Reduce time between races. Cut back on number of races per night. Random thought for sure, but times have changed and the young people needed to sustain the sport seem never a part of the conversation.

October 10, 2016 - 11:47 pmI love Anthony's passion but

marty fine SAID...

I love Anthony's passion but think Blair has it right, Lexington would have more people attending high School football then harness racing. I'm afraid attracting millennials to harness racing as a viable form of entertainment is a tough mix. Their need for instant gratification, does not fit with 15 minutes between races. Then add in some of this demographic are starting familys and you see where money can get tight. The 20 cent wager and seeded pools has opened up our wager a little bit to the younger crowd, but we do alienate our older hardcore gambler when we do this. In order to grow the fan base we need to do this at are smaller venues, 10 cent wing nights or happy hours (not sure of "Ontario laws") may be a start. I think we have done a fairly good job with Facebook and twitter but we need some of our human stars to create YouTube sights.. and not the politely correct type of channel but more off the wall... I think Randy Waples is the best I have ever seen when he's allowed to speak freely. Let the T-breds keep tradition. Lastly, bring the damn horses back to the fans and stop hiding them away in paddocks two miles away.

October 10, 2016 - 10:53 pmAs a lifelong racing fan, the

ron francis SAID...

As a lifelong racing fan, the high-light of my summer is a few August days in Saratoga. Arrive Wed morning, check in ($250-400US a night during racing season), off to the thoroughbred track. Twelve to fifteen thousand people in the crowd during mid-week race days. The demographic is pretty balanced, but, as the week progresses, there are more young people, all well dressed, and geared for a party. When the thoroughbred races finish, for three days, we cross the street, to the harness track. Saratoga Raceway is a quaint half mile, with slot support, decent purses and decent racing. But the dining room is half empty, probably no more than a dozen or so in the grandstand, and a couple of hundred, in the lower bar and outside area. Prices are reasonable and the atmosphere is great, but the harness track just can't attract that thoroughbred crowd. And it never will. The overused cliche "it is, what it is", is just what it is. If harness tracks work hard, make sure they offer top rate hospitality, and, decent racing, there will always be a niche. Many harness tracks don't work hard at offering hospitality. There is no party. You can build it, but, sorry, they won't come (young people). Harness racing would be an excellent case study for marketing courses.

October 10, 2016 - 10:45 pmBlair, So what your saying is


So what your saying is Kentucky shouldn't look to do better?
I was at the football game and Keenland, they work together.
What aren't we doing to attract the younger people we all know we need?
How did Keenland get them??
But right there is the issue, peope always say "we need to think outside the box".
Our industry doesn't even look outside the window.
Are we to just roll over and die??

I couldn't disagree more.
Growing a business is hard, rebranding a failing one, that is much more difficult.
It's been done before, but it takes a tremendous amount of work.
Far too few people are picking up the shovels.

October 10, 2016 - 10:04 pmAnthony , you and I go way

Mike Scott SAID...

Anthony , you and I go way back . I was down on younge street a few years back . There was a group of harness drivers and trainers protesting the government . To them I was John Q. Public . In which I was , and still am . I asked one trainer and one driver one simple question . " are you willing to cut the trainer and driver fees from 5 per cent to 4 per cent in races where the purse structure is over. $10 k and have the one per cent sent to the B tracks in Ontario to help them with there purses . The both said " NO" .
As a bettor and life long fan of standardbred racing . That my amigo is a shame . The majority of us cut our teeth on the B circuit.
In my opinion, fans are lost when they bet or contemplate betting on the A track races in Ontario, when they constantly see the give and go , and watch the driver negotiate a bigger pay cheque for himself . Meanwhile the bettor throws his ticket in the garbage . You don't see this as much at the meadowlands .

Also , I would like the fair start pole moved closer to the starting line . Thanks Mike

October 10, 2016 - 6:44 pmI'm an AMac fan and a Red

I'm an AMac fan and a Red Mile fan and a Keeneland fan, but with all due respect to Anthony he is a neophyte in this scenario. I'm pretty sure Bluegrass standardbred people will back me up on this, but it wouldn't matter if the entire State was shut down and the Governor instructed people to attend at the Red Mile, the crowd they would get would not remotely resemble what he saw at Keeneland or what was at the football game. We in harness racing are so far from the lexicon of what is considered a viable sporting spectacle, people wouldn't even consider it an option. Add to that Lexington is thoroughbred country. AND middle America is football country. If you heard a lot of sirens mid morning on the Saturday that was the police escort for the opposing football teams player's buses escorting them to the stadium. Plus opening day Keeneland is a college event for a university town. It's tradition for them to go and party and drink too much. Most of those young people aren't there to gamble. They are there because it's the place to be. I think basically the Red Mile is all too aware of these competing realities and has decided to satisfy the customer they can. That is standardbred fans that are already there for the Sale. Sadly or unfortunately the meet at the Red Mile has run at a loss for some years, and is only supported to compliment the Sale. The owners of the track are horsepeople that are brutally aware of the reality of the community within which the track exists. So much about Kentucky is great, especially in the Fall. The tradition of the Red Mile Trots is a small part of it, but to expect it to grab much more is extremely difficult, and even to contemplate doing so would require an understanding of what the fabric of Lexington really is. Just saying.

October 10, 2016 - 4:23 pmExcellent synopsis of your

Excellent synopsis of your visit to the Bluegrass country, Mr. MacDonald.... No Excuses Necessary....

October 10, 2016 - 4:16 pmRight on The Money A-Mac.

Isaac Waxman SAID...

Right on The Money A-Mac. Great Post. Lexington, KY sure is like Heaven, especially Grand Circuit week.

October 10, 2016 - 3:56 pmIt's the same old same old

Norm Brunet SAID...

It's the same old same old Anthony. We have people running this industry that still think we have a monopoly, and you don't have to go to Kentucky to find that out. Why any tracks in Ontario compete at the same time with the WEG product in is beyond me.
The goal was to be self sustaining NOT self serving from taxpayers.

October 10, 2016 - 3:22 pmAnthony and I know each

Anthony and I know each other. We each run a 'group' or 'fractional ownership' stable and we each are trying to attract 'new' including younger people to the track and into the thrill of horse ownership. I totally agree with Anthony that 'scheduling' is an issue that we as an industry must address. His example of all the activities going on last Saturday in Lexington is a good one but let's have a look closer to home. And one place to start is our tracks that start at 7:30pm. My guess is attendance at the track would increase substantially and considerably more people would use the food services available. That's just one thought! There are many more ideas floating around for getting younger folks to the races.

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