The first day of the 37th annual Symposium on Racing & Gaming was packed with a diverse array of opinions and recommendations for improving the sport
The day began with the keynote address given by Churchill Downs CEO Bob Evans, who described a new business model for racing in the future. Evans cautioned that the plan -- which focuses on a reduced number of tracks and races, yet features increased purses and handle from alternative gaming sources -– was not a forecast, but a theory for improvement. He also stressed the importance of expanding high-definition broadcast of simulcast signals and embracing mobile technology as key points in the growth of racing.
The afternoon featured the Big Sport of Turfdom Awards luncheon, where jockey Mike Smith accepted the trophy for the second year in a row (he received the award in 2009 as part of Team Zenyatta).
The Snyder family of International Sound Corporation was awarded Harness Tracks of America’s Stan Bergstein Messenger Award, and The Grayson Jockey Club Foundation received the Clay Puett Award. Golden Gate Fields general manager Robert Hartman received the John K. Goodman Alumni award, and Mylor Rider was awarded the RTIP Distinguished Student Award.
The action was topped off with the first-ever Symposium webinar of the International Simulcast panel. Panelists discussed the unique issues involved in creating international contracts and the needs of each individual country’s pari-mutuel customers.
“A large audience heard prospective solutions to issues in racing, from a focus on quality and quantity to the nuts and bolts of expansion into international simulcast markets,” said Doug Reed, director of the Race Track Industry Program.
The action continues Wednesday with another webinar on new technology in racing, and the HTA and NTRA panel sessions.