Tag Archives: Industry Economics


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(Wikipedia Photo)

(Wikipedia Photo)

Over 40,000 people showed up opening day where the surf meets the turf at the Saratoga of the west.  Just over 6,000 showed up last Saturday to witness and wager on the Commonwealth’s biggest race the $500,000 Virginia Derby.

A total of just over $1.9 million was wagered on the VA-Derby card while the Del Mar opener raked in over $10.2 million.

Which begs the question, what’s the big difference?

Well…there’s the Pacific Ocean, palm trees, tradition, a lovely town with hotels and restaurants and the ghost of Bing Crosby for starters.  Then, of course, there are the top horses, owners, trainers and jockeys…

Meets like Del Mar, and Saratoga which opened yesterday (with attendance of over 21,000 and handle topping $15 million), are on racing’s “watch list” – as in watch them for good reasons.  Others, like Colonial Downs, are on the “watch list” for totally different and worrisome reasons.

Starting today, VSN.com will be taking a look at the industry here, regionally and nationally as we search for answers to where we are and how we got here.  The next trick is figuring out how to fix the myriad of problems.

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WestCommentaryGary West for ESPN points out that racing’s economic indicators are running counter to improving economic conditions.  That traces back to larger issues largely unsolved by the industry with regard to the primary product (it’s hard to figure out and even harder to use) and the long-term impact of utilizing alternative gaming to produce critically important purse dollars.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 both soared to record highs this week. The Case-Shiller home-price index has registered its largest gains since 2006. Unemployment has dropped to 7.6 percent. The economy, many pundits insist, even if some wallets disagree, is getting stronger.

But amid this economic “recovery,” horse racing’s downward trend continues. Even worse, the main obstacle to reversing the trend is the industry itself — a sprawling, disorganized, captious, shortsighted, disputatious and frequently stupid cacophony of self-interest.

“The industry is paralyzed,” said Eugene Christiansen of Christiansen Capital Advisors, a research and consulting firm. And the industry’s problem, he said, is “secular,” meaning in economic terms that it’s fundamental, deep-seated and inveterate, that it’s beyond the palliation of Band-Aids…

To read the story, click here.

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