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Stronach's Open Letter To Maryland Industry

Published: February 16, 2011 5:00 pm ET

Last Comment: February 18, 2011 6:04 pm ET | 3 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

On Tuesday, February 15, racetrack owner Frank Stronach released an open letter to Maryland's horse racing industry.

Stronach's letter appears below in its entirety.


TO THE THOROUGHBRED HORSE RACING COMMUNITY OF MARYLAND:

At the Racing Commission hearing on December 21, 2010, I tried to be constructive by proposing that racetrack owners and horsemen work together to find solutions to the critical challenges facing our industry. We can no longer continue to ignore the fact that the horse racing industry – not only here in Maryland, but throughout America – has serious problems that threaten its very existence. The present business model in Maryland with regard to thoroughbred horse racing is broken – it simply doesn’t work, and unless we come up with a better model I’m fearful horse racing in Maryland will disappear, or be on a substandard level, and many jobs will be lost. This isn’t and isn’t intended to be a threat. My 'track record' clearly shows I do not want this result and will continue to do everything I reasonably can to avoid it. However, if the tracks continue to lose money with no prospect of turnaround and have significant value as real estate, the inevitable can only be ignored for so long.

It is for that reason that the exchange with Mr. Alan Foreman at the December 21, 2010, hearing was so discouraging to me. In my career, I have had to deal with his kind of confrontational approach on numerous occasions and I have never found it productive. I believe that if there are to be solutions they will be found in a cordial and constructive exchange of ideas between the horsemen and the racetracks. On December 21, 2010 not only did Mr. Foreman make a number of statements that we can demonstrate to be inaccurate, he appeared to me to wish to foster the type of confrontational environment that may reward attorneys but doesn’t, in my view, advance matters. He did not make a single statement during the hearing suggesting that we sit down and try and solve the obvious problems or even acknowledge that the continual drain of money for racetracks is not sustainable. I would be both saddened and surprised if he was representing the actual position of Maryland horsemen at that hearing and the purpose of this letter is to offer to sit down with the horsemen, without lawyers, to have a candid and constructive exchange of views.

As you can tell from the foregoing, I still wish to believe in Maryland horse racing, and I still believe if the stake holders sit down we could come up with solutions to make this business one of great enjoyment for people that own and love horses and I am one of them. I hope my offer will be taken up.

Sincerely,

Frank Stronach


February 18, 2011 - 6:04 pmMr.Riga is right, i have

John Carter SAID...

Mr.Riga is right, i have been saying over and over again for the last several years that i have never seen an industry that is so out of touch with the reality of there situation. This industry is there own worst enemy but they continue to blame everything except themselves. I was a very large supporter of the racing industry for years but walked away probably for good approx 2 years ago. For a long time i kind of felt bad for the race industry but i don't feel that way any longer. They are getting exactly what they deserve. They will not work together and come up with any meaningful long term solutions to attract new gamblers or try to bring back former gamblers such as myself but they continue to hold on to the belief that they are owed a lifetime bailout.

February 17, 2011 - 10:18 amSpot on Mr. Riga I wish I

Spot on Mr. Riga I wish I had said (written) it!!

February 17, 2011 - 9:09 amI find "horsepeople" simply

Joe Riga SAID...

I find "horsepeople" simply astonishing. What part of the sport is dying if not already dead don't they understand? If you are not part of the solution then you are the problem so get out of the way. As Mr. Stronach cleary states an industry that continually loses money simply cannot continue to exist. This would be clear to a 10 year old. If racing , whether standardbred or thoroughbred is to survive it must figure out a way to sustain itself and become profitable. There are already numeorus hurdles to overcome such as other gaming opportunities for people, without the horsepeople also becoming a hurdle.

The industry is dying and in my view the horsepeople hold all the blame. The product lacks integrity to begin with, the payouts are small, and yet horsepoeple continue to display a sense of entitlement as if they are owed something.

Here's a message for you all. YOU, yes YOU ruined the game.

Now either fix it or stop whining when tracks close.


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