At the end of the day, will you be able to say you did everything you could to make a difference and help a sport that like-minded people love?
The recent abusive takeout hike at Churchill Downs took everyone by surprise. Wagers on Win, Place, and Show were raised from 16% takeout to 17.5% takeout. On exotic wagers, the takeout increased from 19% to 22%.
The only message bet-takers understand is the one that ends at the bottom line. The boycott of Santa Anita was successful three years ago; this one will be, too.
Anyone interested in participating in the Churchill Downs boycott this Saturday, one only needs to bet less than usual or, ideally, not at all.
Oaks and Derby Day are huge events and the amount of play in the horizontal pools could mean the difference between profit and loss for Churchill Downs Inc. Stakes races often comprise most, if not all, the Pick 6 or Pick 4 sequences.
If everyone reduced the size of their wagers--playing smarter, not higher--handle can be impacted dramatically, perhaps 15% or more on opening night and at least 5% on Oaks and Derby Day.
The boycott isn't only about the egregious takeout increase. This is about an industry that refuses to listen intently to what their customers are saying. It happens time and again.
This is about an industry that's still stuck in the 1980s when it comes to eliminating breakage, or timing races more meaningfully and upgrading coding of the tote system so that the information you see is what you get in real time and not after a race has begun.
Horse Racing 2014 style is still being played on eight-track cassettes, as if there were no such thing as the digital age. Haven’t you had enough?
There will be no official leader of this grassroots action. It will be led by the collective “we,’ all of us. The boycott will consist of fans, bettors and other practitioners of the sport.
It’s up to each individual conscience, and every outlet, to do their utmost to spread the word. If we allow this moment in time pass without a strong response, we deserve the industry we get.
Further, if you believe that the industry should have adequate backstretch surveillance and security. Send the message to Churchill Downs by betting less, if at all. Does the Oaks and Derby have 72-hour security? What about the other graded stakes?
If you believe this industry should have uniform medication rules with consistent penalties for violators, then you might want to send a message to the industry by boycotting the Churchill Downs meet.
If you believe that minor injuries require time off and not more medication, then you might want to send a message to the industry by boycotting Churchill Downs.
If you believe that Horse Racing is the greatest gambling game of skill ever devised, then you might want to send a message to the industry by boycotting Churchill Downs because raising takeout is symptomatic of a troubling big picture.
If interested in executive salaries at CDI Inc. that have risen 240.57 %, see
If interested in how the state of Louisiana is dealing with the troubling care given to its flagship racetrack Fair Grounds by the CDI parent company, read
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You can also follow us on twitter at Players Boycott @playersboycott or Andy Asaro @racetrackandy, for he latest boycott information.
Thanks for reading this and good luck to all.
Thanks to John Pricci, executive editor at horseraceinsider.com, for allowing this guest editorial to be posted. John and Horseraceinsider always seem to have the best interests of racing in mind. It doesn't get any better than that.