Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Less is More

It is the time of the year for opening day at many tracks in the coming weeks.

Churchill Downs opens this Saturday, a week before the big Day of the Kentucky Derby, Hollywood Park opens Tomorrow, Monmouth Park opens May 9th and Delaware Park opens this Saturday. And opening day for Saratoga is now only 97 days away.While we sometimes scratch our heads with the knucklehead logic of Race Track officials, I like the comments of Delaware Park Executive Director John Mooney with reference to reducing this years racing days at Delaware Park from 136 to 116 and eliminating Sunday Racing, except for the month of June. Fuller Race Fields are expected with an average of 9 horse fields up from the usual 6 or 7. Mooney stated:

"It's more of an advantage for us to race on Wednesday, particularly in the fall of the year when you have to compete on Sundays with NFL football and all the other sports activities that take place," Mooney said. "This not only helps us to increase the handle, but the money committed to the [horsemen's] purse account through pari-mutuel wagering."

I am all on board with this thinking. A recognition of the marketplace, an awareness of the competition and a plan to not over saturate the product.


Frank said...

Safe to say that Delaware was a somewhat special case last year, with many days of short cards and short fields, including a couple of days with just five races. One of those five race days had just five entrants per race.

Colins Ghost said...

On one level I understand his logic. However, a huge percentage of people that play the horses have real jobs and work on Wednesday. Sunday seems a better day to attract handle even if there is competition from other sports.

I will say that I am looking forward to the Delaware meet (it being my local track). Looks like the new racing secretary put together a respectable card (in terms of field size) for opening day. Will see if they can keep this going when Monmouth opens.