I’ve been crazy about horse racing more than three decades and I find it so hard to watch attendance and interest in horse racing wane dramatically.
I remember going to Yonkers raceway to watch the trotters and bumping into sports stars including Lou Piniella, Don Zimmer and celebrities such as the late Cab Calloway. Parking was always hassle, the parking lot was crowded every racing day.
We named one of the car “guides” Johnny Campo (he would have been a dead ringer). You’d slip Johnny $2 in order to actually park at the ”hill” so that you can walk around the side track entrance.
Now with over half the grandstands torn down, Yonkers raceway is a shell of its former self. Subsisting on revenues produced by slot machine games, when you couldn’t get a good checker game going on in the stands with the few people watching the trotters.
This is true for many Thoroughbred tracks. Once filled with screaming fans, and degenerate losers in need of some winning horse racing picks, the tracks have become a sad site. Check out the emptiness at Los Alamitos the next occasion you catch TVG let into the evening.
I don’t believe there actually is ONE reason for that decline. There are lots of factors. And you can’tjust blame the sport or perhaps the corporate entities. The fans are becoming dumbed down with NFL, MLB and NHL parity. There are not many young fans who may have taken some time to review the historical past associated with a sport they follow. All they are fully aware of so-and-so wears a certain brand name and has a hot wife and can shoot the J.
In a nutshell, the changes made are tantamount to using an everyday season, the playoffs, the championships or even a wild card round. No longer do people need to find discover the history of the Santa Anita Derby, the Strub and the like.
They are able to simply go to a site that tracks the horses just like a team inside a division, utilizing a NASCAR point system. The very best 4 finishers will get points. The deeper they end up in the “playoffs” the better the point values. Pretty simple huh?
That’s not why I like the modern system. I’m already a hardcore-core consumer of the sport, you don’t need to sell me.
What I find exciting is the fact that 2-year-old races won’t count as much as they once did. This can benefit late bloomers. Besides it’s been some time since a 2-years old Champion has won the Derby.
Also sprint races are tossed. Points only accrue for races a Mile and over. At the same time fillies must run against the boys to quaify for points. No longer sneaking in as an unknown.
What advantage does this provide the bettor? Loads. You will be aware by watching races how horses fair against a wider breadth of competition. Plus, you get the advantages of seeing how he is doing within the longer races. This will help you make a more informed horse racing pick in the Kentucky Derby.
For example, Uncle Mo. I knew that horse was a miler at the best simply by watching his energy at the conclusion of the races. He Needed the early lead and was not good at rating. In keeping with form he floppedin the Breeder’s Cup Classic.
So I say “in with the new!” but please don’t throw the old in the trash bin of history. The Sport of Kings has a very long and very illustrious past. While I don’t see that ever coming back, I can see interest increase and some fresh blood start to take over.
Remember, nothing is perfect out of the gate. Let us old-timer fans support the initiative and help it along as it evolves.