Candid Comments From Waldrop

Published: March 8, 2010 01:35 pm EST

National Thoroughbred Racing Association CEO Alex Waldrop and clinical psychologist Dr. Charles Kenny have both gone on the record and provided some interesting and candid comments regarding the relationship between the horse racing industry and its customer base


According to an entry on, when it comes to scathing written feedback by upset customers, Waldrop says that “it’s extremely painful to read.”

Speaking from the perspective of an industry leader, Waldrop said that leaders that read such feedback have a little soul searching to do from time to time. “It’s hard for anyone to look into the mirror. Sometimes I must force myself,” he was quoted as saying.

Explaining some research that he has conducted for the horse racing industry, Dr. Kenny tried to explain some of the feelings horseplayers have toward the racetrack environment.

“A fan’s team represents who he is. So when a fan goes to a ballpark and his team wins, the fan is rewarded; he becomes, in effect, a winner, too," Dr. Kenny was quoted as saying. "But winning does not happen regularly in gambling, so the horse racing fan puts more emphasis and invests more emotional energy in the experience at the racetrack and looks to the surroundings, the amenities, the staff and the management for affirmation of his self-worth.”



We've said it ad nauseum. Lower the takeout so that the horseplayers have a reasonable chance, and give them a lot more education, because when I go to Teletheatres here in Northern Ontario, many of the bettors are so ignorant it is pitiful. Some have been attending the races for nigh to half a century and still their knowledge of racing is exasperatingly minuscule. All they know is drivers, jockeys and favourite numbers.And we need to educate them not only on the basics of handicapping, but on wagering, because many of these bettors know only how to box, or bet win, place,show.

Even with this ridiculous takeout, there are some excellent handicappers that win quite often. They are few and far between,but they do exist, and I will suggest to you that they are not the so-called "experts" or commentators that show their faces on the televisions every day giving their usual dogma, picking obvious favourites. They should be demonstrating to us how good they are by telling us what their bets are, and we can objectively see how well they fare at the end of the day.Tell people how to read between the lines, what a change of equipment signifies, what the rules are when pylon infractions or breaks occur,what a specific trainer does to have an edge over the others, etc. etc. etc.

Harness racing at the present time gets absolutely no respect. I was surrounded by thoroughbred bettors this Sunday while betting on the Woodbine standardbreds, and it was not a pretty sight.Relegated to a small screen, it was mercilessly ridiculed as being "crooked" and other expletives too painful to repeat.There is absolutely no confidence that the races are on the up-and-up.Remember that these patrons,(all of whom I know personally) were once harness racing fans who became thoroughbred punters because they so dislike standardbred racing.

Something drastic has to be done!If 50% of the purse money has to be delegated to test every single horse in every single race, if the entire budget has to be spent to advertise, educate, convince them that there is honesty and transparency in racing, then so be it. I'm quite frankly desperate to see some meaningful change immediately or the sport that I have invested so much of my time and soul to is most assuredly doomed.