Sunday, July 20, 2008
The tragic, unfortunate and the clueless
After having taken of few days off before the annual pilgrimage to the Spa, returned to news of funeral plans for Luke Kruytbosch, who was not only an extreemely talented race caller but a genuinely nice man and disturbing reports of the dismissal of Larry Stewart and Bob Mieszerski by the Los Angeles Times, which leaves at most three full-time racing writers remaining in the employ of American general-circulation daily newspapers, to find this really bizarre juxtaposition: The newly-formed Horseplayer’s Association of North America, which follows on the heels of the Self-Appointed Horseplayer’s Committee in what shows signs of becoming a grass-roots movement with legs, issued a thoughtful and thorough statement on its website listing goals, concerns and priorities.
The New York Racing Association, on the other hand, has taken it upon itself to form its own horseplayers’ (they're called "fans" by NYRA) organization, which clearly illustrates contempt for the bettor with an overt insult to the collective intelligence of its customers.
Now, racing fan, you might consider membership in NYRA Nation, perhaps the most egregious insult ever of the North American horseplayer. Oh, sorry, they’re calling this a fan club.
NYRA Nation, a free club for fans of the New York Racing Association’s tracks, will hope to unite fans of Saratoga Race Course, Belmont Park and Aqueduct through their love of Thoroughbred racing’s greatest circuit. (Isn’t that special? Last time I checked, NYRA was widely despised and not unjustly. Aren’t these the same people who brought you raw sewage and mass public elimination of waste on Belmont Stakes day? And who in this organization is arrogant and self-important (delusional?) enough to come up with the term: NYRA Nation?)
Enrollment into NYRA Nation is free and easy, as members will be able sign up on-track at Saratoga or by simply going online to NYRA.com once the Saratoga meet has started. (Unlike the new glass VIP facility, where the poor people get to see the rich folk drink and eat, which is $15,000.)
Among the items NYRA Nation Members will receive are:
NYRA Nation membership card. (Will it have a blank that says, “First …Last … Middle?”).
NYRA Nation Lapel Pin for on-track sign-ups only. (NYRA’s version of the pocket protector and cheaper than the secret decoder ring.)
NYRA Nation welcome letter from NYRA President Charlie Hayward. (In the mail, or does Charlie deliver both letters personally?)
Discounts on items at the official NYRA store. (Nothing says 'I'm alive in the pick-six' like a NYRA umbrella)
Subscription to On The Lead, NYRA's monthly e-mail newsletter. (The Mensa journal of New York racing)
Automatic entry into random drawings to win a VIP Day at the Races, NYRA Gift Packages, and much more. (Hey, they’re gamblers.)
The Horseplayers Association of North America has other things in mind: No need for annotation to the statement of its site.
Our immediate goal is to recruit as many members as soon as possible. The first step was the construction of this website; initially funded by a group of concerned members of the Paceadvantage.com racing forum.
To continually encourage participation in HANA, our founding principles are:
1) Membership will always be free and never require more information than a valid e-mail address to participate.
2) Ideas and opinions will always be welcome, and we will attempt to respond to every productive e-mail we receive.
3) Operating funds required for advertising, off-line communication, etc., will be voluntary, and a full open accounting will be provided to members quarterly.
4) Anyone wishing to expand their support and/or involvement will be able to engage individual staff directly.
5) Keep membership advised of organizational developments as frequently as possible.
6) Survey membership regularly to keep our goals and priorities in alignment.
Upon achieving our immediate goals, we will pursue tasks including:
1) Maintain a ranking of horseplayer-friendly tracks for wagering consumers.
2) Continue to inform horseplayers of the problems that exist within the industry, and formulate strategies for addressing them.
3) Petition the various Other Industry StakeHolders (OISH)
4) Establish a dialogue with OISH
5) Report progress/problems in addressing HANA’s concerns with OISH
6) Exert collective influence as appropriate.
7) Encourage increased participation in the game as well as increased handle through horseplayer-friendly treatment
8) Support the establishment of a central governing authority over the racing industry that includes direct horseplayer representation.
The following sequence of issues reflects HANA's current priorities:
1) Effect a reduction in direct takeout to uniformly lower levels at all tracks or else allow ADWs and tracks to rebate competitively.
2) Make it possible for every in-home bettor to bet all tracks from a single account at his ADW vendor of choice.
3) Support the institution of uniform rules of racing including medication use policy.
4) Establish a central governing authority for the industry to effect uniformity of rules and their enforcement, to ensure cooperation among tracks, and to create and maintain a customer-friendly environment for both offtrack and ontrack bettors.
5) Institute IRS withholding reform
6) Maximize the number of races that can be viewed "live" without conflicts.
7) Incentivize breeders to emphasize soundness and stamina over speed and precocity.
8) Provide the public with greater transparency regarding the physical status of each entrant.
9) Eliminate the arcane practice of breakage.
10) Promote an overhaul of the parimutuel systems employed to ensure the integrity of the pools.
See what I mean?
Check out Paul Moran on Blogspot At the Races