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Cherry: 'Biggest Problem Is Lack Of Change'

Published: January 7, 2011 9:59 am ET

Last Comment: January 12, 2011 7:23 pm ET | 4 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

In a recent discussion with the Meadowlands Racetrack's publicity department, horse owner and longtime harness racing handicapper Eric Cherry has called for change.

“I started betting in the late sixties, and I have so many ideas to change and improve racing,” he was quoted as saying.

“The biggest problem with racing is the lack of change. The people in it are so adverse to change. It’s like we need to make believe racing doesn’t actually exist and just start over. We need to start with a clean slate, and change everything from the way horses are raced, how horses are classified, the purse structure, and the betting. There are so many rules that need to be changed.

“Racing is fun, excitement and entertainment, and we have to bring it to the new, younger generation that is so wrapped up in video games. We have to find ways to introduce the game to them.

Commenting specifically on the wagering end of the spectrum, Cherry put forth an idea which could guarantee a large payout every race card.

“One of my ideas for a bet was a Winner Takes All. It’s a multiple race bet that pays out when there’s only one live ticket left. It could be after three races or as many as eight races. So, if there’s a guarantee, you could win say $50,000 minimum, and you know it must be paid out every night. There’s no carryover.”

To read the Meadowlands interview with Cherry in regard to his pacer Laughandbehappy, who will be taking part in the Meadowlands' meet-opening card, which will take place tonight, click here.

(With files from the Meadowlands)

January 12, 2011 - 7:23 pmI think the above comments

John Roelof SAID...

I think the above comments are very true,but not even close to the answer.The issue of the take out to the general
public isn't that valid of an answer.You need to change thing from the ground up to fill the seats,or survival
at most tracks will be more like five to six years.The tracks need to fight back hard for the business,not allowing
the internet to carry the tracks signal is half the problem. The tracks need to take that option away from the bettor.

They need the seats filled $1.00 parking,$2.00 admission,food,and drinks.They also should go back to the old ticket structure,where an $8.00 ticket is 8- $2.00 tickets.The physi of the better getting 8 small colorful tickets instead of one big white ticket.That makes the bettor feel like he has gotten more bang for his buck when he cashes a number of tickets at a window instead of one ticket.The losing tickets on the floor also have a psychological draw to the bettor.Think about it's when the ticket system changed the attendance started to decline.I personally can remember when most tracks had the new system,and Balmoral still had the old system.I felt more in tune at the track viewing all the tickets on the floor,and the amount of tickets that I held in my hand.Just like when you walk into a casino and the lights are all blinking and the sounds of the slot machines. This is just one thought of many that I believe would bring people back,along with lots of advertisement and entrees and results in the news.Remember big bettors are good,but many small bettors are better they fill the seats.The handles go up and the payoffs are better.

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January 8, 2011 - 10:46 pmSorry Mr Cherry. Other than

Sorry Mr Cherry. Other than the Classic Races(Kentucky Derby etc.) racing is not exciting. Witness the empty Grandstands. Without betting it will be finished except for the major races and major tracks. Bettors are aware they can find legal legitimate wagering propositions for less than 5%, so why would they bet racing with its unconsionable takeout rates of the present, especially considering the other problems that the potential betters are aware of in racing.

If racing can't get it's takeout down to 10% or less(even that represents 100% more than other forms of gambling),it is hopeless for the industries future!

January 7, 2011 - 3:49 pmI totally agree with John.

Joe Riga SAID...

I totally agree with John. Like him I grew up when racing was the only game in town.

Since then we have seen the onslaught of casinos,pro-line, internet wagering, the explosion of poker and a host of other ways of playing your money. I sometimes talk to young people and they have no clue about racing nor do they really even care.

The racetracks are not well kept, they are certainly not designed with the horseplayer in mind. There was a time when I was growing up when you could go to Woodbine, find a nice comfortable seat outside and watch the racing. And man do I miss Greenwood. I loved that place. Nowadays when you go to Woodbine you can barely figure out how to get outside with all the glass and chairs and desks etc. in front of you.

Racing definitely needs to reduce their takeout if they are to reamin competitive. As a gambler (as I stated often in another post on this website) I want full bang for my buck and if I don't get it from racing I will just gamble on something else whenever the mood strikes me. To be honest I am not a gambler per se. I loved horseracing. To me it always was and always will be a sport. There is something aboutn watching a champion come to town. When I was younger I was always waiting to see who the next champion was that was coming to town because back then you couldn't bet on out of town races. In a way I think that has hurt the game.Now you can bet so many different tracks in the world that nobody really pays attention to the one in their won backyard. Racing is dying (in some places dead)and that is clearly obvious.

I don't know what it will take to revivie it, if it even can though certainly reducing take out as well as restoring integrity in the game are two of the most critical and obvious areas to start.

Joe Riga

January 7, 2011 - 1:50 pmMr.Cherry is right, the race

John Carter SAID...

Mr.Cherry is right, the race game does need to change or it is going to go the way of the dinosaur. The single biggest change they need to make is to understand and they clearly don't, that they are no longer the only game in town. If they are going to compete with other forms of gambling then they must offer competitive pricing and the only way to do that is to reduce the take out to a maximum of 10% in every pool.

Without this change they have no chance of surviving much longer then another 20 to 30 years. People such as myself will never again play a race until the take out gets reduced and they have no chance of attracting the next generation of gamblers who are much more savvy then my generation was when it comes to house hold. When my generation, which was the last generation that was brought up on races begins to die off or gets to old to go to the races there will be nobody left to support the game. I have no idea how an industry can think that they can charge double, triple or even quadruple of what there competitors charge and that this is the way to turn things around. The people who run the race tracks need to wake up and accept the reality of today's competitive gaming environment.


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