Wow, he couldn't say it better. Why am I totally 'capped for Fairgrounds today but have yet to see a PP for Turfway? And Turfway's biggest day is Saturday. Can't tracks get it together enough to give the horseplayer a few days to handicap?
Here's the scoop:
http://www.horseraceinsider.com/blog.ph ... /#comments
One Easy Fix to Help Horseplayers and the Industry
Thursday, March 25, 2010
ELMONT, NY, March 25, 2010--As this is written it’s Wednesday morning and I’m preparing to leave for New Orleans on Thursday. Looking forward to Saturday’s Louisiana Derby, a great betting race, and a loaded undercard at the Fair Grounds.
Because of their entry schedule, which appears to be a 96-hour draw on most days--it was five days in the case of their signature event day--if I get my parimutuel head handed to me it won’t be for lack of preparation.
The entries for Saturday’s card have been out since late Monday. I’ve long since printed out the past performances and, by taking an advance overview, have an excellent feel for the races that interest me.
When the performance figures arrive, I’ll be good to go from a handicapping perspective, too. Then, at approximately four minutes to post time, I’ll finalize the process. Which horses am I betting on? Who am I taking a position against?
But the chances are that--even if I hadn’t planned to be at the Fair Grounds on Saturday--I’d be playing some of the races there anyway, just as I would any other weekend. Why?
Because in the era of modern information dissemination where time is precious, the Fair Grounds entry schedule has allowed me much more time to scan the past performances for potential bets. In this business, that’s called great customer service.
Alas, not all tracks want my business and chances are they won’t get it. Why’s that? Well, for instance, it’s not like I’m disinterested in Saturday’s Santa Anita card but the track makes it very difficult to get my preparation done.
Apparently, in the interests of accommodating their horsemen, the racing office or the program printing department, early program scratches and early-line odds are not available to me until late in the day Friday, EDT.
So, with the exception of Santa Anita’s stakes program, I don’t bother perusing the past performances of their other races. With any of three or four other tracks to choose from on the simulcast docket, why bother. I just don’t have the time, sorry.
Now forget that I have made a living in this business in one form or another my whole adult life which, of course, is both blessing and curse. (I wouldn’t want it any other way).
Racetrackers say that no horseman dies if he has a real good two-year-old in the barn. Well, with every fresh set of past performance data, it‘s the same for horseplayers.
Santa Anita isn’t the only track that doesn’t seem to want my business, or that of any simulcast player who needs time to scout the PPs for potential bets. Oaklawn Park doesn’t seem to care that much, either.
Even though I’m locked in 24/7/365, time does not allow for full time wagering. Finding storylines and keeping up with the news is a full time job. Resultantly, I’m more of a weekend warrior, like most other customers: Saturdays, Sundays and the occasional opening day of a boutique meet.
And, so, Oaklawn is just as inconvenient to play because of the late posting of past performance data.
Note to Mr. Cella: I know that you’re a traditionalist, in a good way. But this is the information age; too much information, too little time. So your occasional stakes notwithstanding, I don’t have time to catch up with your past performances.
And that’s too bad. The Oaklawn product is, on balance, quite bettable, and the takeout rate is better than most which, of course, in this game is not saying much.
I am aware of the logistical inconvenience a 72-hour entry box causes horsemen. There’s the lead time required before legal medications to worry about, track conditions change, or a horse could suffer a minor injury in the interim and might not find another suitable spot for a month.
But it’s horseplayer dollars that make this game go. In that context tracks should err on the side of the player. Given everything else a fan of this sport has to endure to continue his engagement, isn’t this a relatively easy do-able price to pay?
Philadelphia Park makes it easy for me to play their races. Again, it is Wednesday morning still and Sunday’s past performances are available. But here’s the other problem.
I prefer the vertical pools to the horizontals. But a 30 percent rake in the trifecta and superfecta? As they say out West, Pasadena.
The gap between the industry and its customers has widened to the point that many players have walked, and those who have stayed are in revolt. When will this industry do its level best for its customers?
The small policy change above doesn’t require legislative approval. It’s an easy fix that makes the game easier to play for all, people like me and those less fortunate who must work for a living.
So make past performances available as soon as possible. If the Fair Grounds and Philadelphia Park can do it, so can every track in the country. Set a 72-hour entry schedule, at least, and move up scratch times so that early lines are posted ASAP.
Give yourself the best chance to improve your business with this baby step. Or not. Then continue to lose market share, even within your own industry, and poll your customers to ask what you can do better. Then kid yourself into thinking you’re paying customers more than lip service.