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The Restaurant is Open, We Just Don't Have a Menu

As most know by now, Churchill Downs has banned the DRF from its premises. There's good news though - you can still buy it at a nearby gas station.
If you're coming to CD and want a print #DRF, the @ThorntonsGas on 3rd St. just south of I-264 still had quite a few at 9:30 a.m. today. Both Fri. and Sat. editions, incl. a $7.95 short edition (CD/Aqu only). Can't buy a print #DRF at the track, as you may've heard. — Marty McGee (@DRFMcGee) November 24, 2017 Come for the food, just don't bring the menu you've used since Duke Ellington was on the charts. If it wasn't so sad it would be comical.
Fans upset about long lines at Churchill's new DRF pat down station pic.twitter.com/HZsebRnEi8 — The Racing Onion (@RacingOnion) November 22, 2017 Racing - especially the corporate variety - has become more and more insular. Signals are withheld, big day signals are priced super-high, the usual horsemen-track signal fights, and increased takeout are all signs of s…
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Racing Transparency

I followed along with an interesting twitter conversation this weekend between several insiders talking about what should, and should not be spoken about publicly.

In this case, it was about an Australian caller talking about a horse bleeding from EIPH, something fairly common in horse racing. Vic believed if he did it in North America, he might be out of a job. He may be right.

Australia is a very mature racing and betting market, and like the UK and some other jurisdictions, both fans and gamblers understand the implications and causes of bleeds. When an announcer or commentator mentions it, well, it's kind of old hat. It's not too much unlike an NFL announcer talking about concussion protocols because it's "part of the game". I suppose Roger Goodell could call Jim Nantz and get him fired for talking about it, but since everyone knows the concussion issues in the NFL, it wouldn't do much good.

In Thoroughbred racing in North America, however, it's alm…

Gambling Growth & Racing: The Importance of Eyeballs, Regulatory Value & Positioning

Legal Sports Report shared some comments from the Draft Kings CEO recently. The DFS company's head said that down the road Draft Kings could become an online sportsbook, if laws are changed in states to allow sports betting.

Sports betting, as most know, has been growing. In Nevada alone, $557 million in bets were taken in September, which was a new record. States like Pennsylvania are setting the table to take bets, should the federal laws change. ESPN, NFL.com and other mainstream websites, now happily report point spreads, like it's old hat.

Draft Kings (and DFS in general) has been taking some major hits of late, with some feeling their value is overblown. That isn't new in the tech world, and there's some truth to it, but Draft Kings has an edge most others do not.

They are already approved, through regulation, in many states.

They are positioned to generate big ROI from a sports betting offering from day one, because they have active users and plenty of eyeballs.…

Incremental Racetrack Changes -- Glass Hall Full or Empty?

Over the last ten or so years the racing industry, and how it presents races, has gone through some changes. These aren't big changes, no, but they're incremental.

You've heard, no doubt, racetracks now talking a great deal about field size and presenting better races. This concept was not pushed nearly as hard decades ago, as racing was a slave to the putting on races and they will come narrative. Southern California racing, along with the races at now defunct Bay Meadows, were the prime examples of that.

Yet another example I've seen, is the scheduling of races.

I remember years and years ago watching the Breeders Cup, while at the same time watching Woodbine, which I played religiously when they were featured on Betfair.



Without a word of a lie, the gates for the two races sprung at exactly the same time. I couldn't believe my eyes, but it's the way it was. Many tracks were operating in a vacuum.

You've read complaints about the above from bettors, wager…

Breeders' Cup Postscript

Good morning everyone. Here are a few of my thoughts on this year's Breeders' Cup.

I thought Del Mar was a great venue from a betting perspective. Both courses seemed fair, and the surfaces played perfectly. This is in sharp contrast to some BC's where souped up dirt tracks make the racing less interesting for both spectators and bettors alike. Kudos to Del Mar.

Handle was again good, buttressing the argument made here and elsewhere that the big days and big meets (outside Keeneland this year, I suppose) keep getting bigger in this sport. The everyday bettor is screaming for fields that offer potential value, and the BC delivers that in spades. Its field size, as well as the quirky nature of the fields makes for some excellent wagering. You rarely have to make excuses, like checking the New York weather report, when the handle is going where it should be.

To the Classic, I enjoyed the Steve Asmussen video watching Gun Runner down the stretch. I submit that wasn't about…

The Juxtapositions Keep Juxtaposing

The headlines of today:


and


This is kind of nothing new. Sports betting is legal in Nevada, and has grown leaps and bounds (up about 100% since 2006), despite only being offered, primarily, in bricks and mortar casinos.

Horse racing, which has had an carve out online since 2006, well, hasn't.

The news isn't all bad, I suppose, as tracks other than Keeneland have had a good fall, with both Belmont and Santa Anita up. In fact, racing outside Keeneland was up the month of October, by about 5%, or over 10% per entry. (gee, I wonder why Keeneland was the outlier; if we read track exec quotes, it's a complete mystery!).

The interesting thing (as we've spoken before here) is that just because sports betting handle is growing, it doesn't (more accurately, shouldn't) mean horse racing handle will tank. It's not that way in Australia, where sports betting has grown from virtually nothing since the year 2000, to over $5B now, while horse racing handles have grown as we…

The Night Everyone Watched a Baseball Game

Last night, game 5 of the World Series between Houston and LA was a marathon of long-ball proportions that must've made MLB purists physically ill. But boy, it was really exciting.

And on my timeline at least, it was the only game in town.

This, surprisingly, despite the SNF game between the Steelers and Lions being head to head with the Fall Classic. It's a ratings battle the NFL on Sunday night almost always wins and when the ratings come in it still might, but I sure couldn't tell.

Whatever happens, it's no secret that the NFL has gone through a year or so of ratings declines. There are dozens of reasons given for the decline, and who knows at this point which are right or wrong. But one thing everyone can agree on, is that the NFL has been listening.

For one major fan complaint - the game has no flow, and goes on too long with too many stops and starts due to commercial breaks - the NFL responded. If you're an avid NFL watcher this is noticeable. After kickoffs…