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 Post subject: COVID and Racing
PostPosted: Mon Aug 03, 2020 2:26 pm 
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Leading Sire
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Location: Spokane, WA
Haven't been on here in a while. I'd be interested to hear the thoughts of people on topics related to COVID and horse racing.


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 Post subject: Re: COVID and Racing
PostPosted: Tue Aug 04, 2020 8:45 pm 
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Back in March as this was starting, I sent a letter to the editor of a couple of publications. If you're interested I'll put it here. In short, I think we're just seeing the tip of the iceberg. Racing has been able to stay afloat, because of its unique ability to 'distance' as a sport and keep staff safe and the income rolls in, for now. But the challenges to farms and especially owners will be telling in the September and November sales. The 30% hit to sales averages for 2yos is just the beginning I'm afraid. But racing continues, there will still be opportunities. Am even looking to pick up another mare myself...

jm

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 Post subject: Re: COVID and Racing
PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2020 3:26 pm 
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Leading Sire
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I would definitely be interested to see your letter.

In general I think racing has done a fairly good job, but hasn't really capitalized as much as I thought it could in the early days.


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 Post subject: Re: COVID and Racing
PostPosted: Tue Aug 11, 2020 12:59 pm 
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Location: Spokane, WA
And Colonial Downs.....


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 Post subject: Re: COVID and Racing
PostPosted: Thu Aug 13, 2020 7:38 pm 
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I can't put my hands on the article. It was meant to tease out outcomes, some inevitable, others likely or possible. It was mid-March just as sports were shutting down. Among the ideas:

1. Racing had hope - because places like GP were still running and able to do OK (They proved it not missing any time to my knowledge)
2. Handle could increase (it has) as other sports shut down online gambling so it flowd to racing. People would look for action, especially cooped up. Racing has done well in this regard - record handle and better TV.

BUT

1. The economic devastation will hit the undercarriage of the industry - and in time could really cripple things:
a. Racinos - who the tracks relied upon so much (remember all those articles about dependency on casinos?) No people at slots, no slot money. (Some have reopened now but many seniors (slots players) aren't going anywhere.)
b. With influx of purse money down, strapped trainers will be all the more marginal - especially at the bottom
c. Businesses crashing means that many business owners - the backbone of the industry buyers, will cut back or cut off purchases at sales. This will really play out down the road. For people in it to make a living, the risks have gone through the roof in the riskiest of all games. How many tracks, reasonably, will be running consistently as they were? Some like Arlington will be given the perfect reason to shutter, and keep their casino $$$
d. Sales are dependent upon many buyers of many profiles, but there will be some percentage of owners bailing out. They will cut way back (or out) at the sales. Saw the tip of the iceberg at this at the 2yo sales. Kee Sep will be the telling story. The breeders and stallion owners - with a wobbly sales market - are far less likely to make big investments if the returns aren't going to be there. The Kings and Sheiks of the game will play on as always. But even they may cut back. Recall that even Mattress Mack was ready to give up before Runhappy. Money talks.
e. If there are fewer owners, horses to train and opportunities to race (make a buck) the trainers will cut back, they'll have to - cut staff. And the life for the backstretch, already difficult, could get worse.
f. As the Racing operations (CD, Stronach) lose money, they'll be less likely to keep marginal tracks going. The little guys could lose big. Bailout money helped short term but is no long term answer to racing's systemic problems.
g. Clueless state regulators may well accelerate the process. They don't understand the industry they regulate and could finish it off in places.

The response to this point has been pretty good actually - with most tracks buoyed by handle - but purses are still down. And the sole sport active scenario is changing. If backstretch populations do start having major issues and there's an overreaction to shut everything down (Cnl this week) it could bring a lot of hurt for a lot of people.

Leadership is needed (new leadership) with ideas, communications ability and the will to make things happen. Good luck with that.

those were some of the thoughts from March.

jm

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Run the race - the one that's really worth winning.


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 Post subject: Re: COVID and Racing
PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2020 5:24 pm 
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Yeh Colonial just canceled. An 'Abundance of Caution' - in one of the riskiest businesses in the world.

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