THE BIG PICTURE: IS THERE TOO MUCH RACING?

TOOMUCHAs promised, VHN.com will examine the industry here in Virginia and in the region over the span of the next few weeks.  Today, the Wall Street Journal poses the question is there too much racing?  The answer seems obvious: Yes.

There can be no doubt that even in the face of a declining Thoroughbred population, the decline of owners seems to be steadily falling as well.   Just ask any trainer.

The capacity for useful racehorses is clearly limited and the capacity for sub-par ones is almost non-existent.  The available resources for retirement and reuse are also a major problem in every market.  So the idea of producing more foals for the sole purpose of filling even more races seems a naïve approach to a tenuous future.

That said, Terry Finley of widely known West Point Thoroughbreds says no to the question.  According to Finley, the varied menu of racing conditions and dates are needed to accommodate a very diverse race horse population.  Others say yes, claiming the constant call of “They’re Off!” dilutes to product for the betting customer.   Both have points.

The problem is when racing days are reduced economic opportunities decline and, in the end, somebody’s  (if not everybody’s) ox gets gored — owners, trainers, breeders and racetracks.

Later this week, we will examine the industry here in Virginia starting with the process to license the Commonwealth’s only pari-mutuel racetrack and the political restraints that have stifled the growth of the both racing and breeding (the intended beneficiary) over the past 16 years Colonial Downs has been open.

To read the WSJ take in their sports blog The Fix, click here.

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