JC / Railbird

Conflict of Interest

Will dirt’s return trump horseplayers’ takeout rage when Santa Anita opens?

Bill Finley, writing in support of an organized players’ boycott, notes:

Santa Anita might actually get off to a good start. A lot of bettors are excited about the return to dirt and that might yield an increase in handle at the outset. But what will eventually happen is what always happens when racetracks raise the take.

Via Bill Christine, Bruno de Julio certainly thinks dirt will win out:

“Dirt is in,” he says, “the track is doing massive marketing on the return to dirt, and do y’ll [sic] think this is going to deter the player from sending [money] in with both hands on opening day? … This boycott is a delusional cause. It won’t happen.”

Steve Davidowitz believes boycotters are making a tactical mistake:

[The boycott] will not work. Because the handle may not be negatively impacted by anything anytime soon given that southern California players have wanted to handicap and play races on dirt for too long to suddenly abandon such plans.

For Davidowitz, the problem is timing; I see it as one of focus. Instead of a single, easily promoted action that harnesses bettor enthusiasm for California dirt and demonstrates price sensitivity, the Players’ Boycott site offers several ways to show support for the cause, ranging from total withdrawal to offshore wagering (?!) — which will add up to no measurable impact.


mud, mud, and more mud.
that’s s.a. in the early winter.
they will wish the pro-ride was back.
mud = no turf = who cares.
the boycott will succeed and even without the boycott, horseracing in cal. has shot itself in the foot.confused?
dirt/mud to cushion to poly to dirt to dirt to cushion???

Posted by palaceplace on December 21, 2010 @ 5:39 pm

I know that I will be boycotting the California tracks until the takeout is reduced. 23.68% takeout on the Pick 3 and Pick 4? No thanks. I’ll try to figure out Tampa Bay Downs instead. Or — and this is what should REALLY frighten the CHRB and their ilk — I’ll go do something else, like take a walk or go fishing.

Horseplayers need to be up in arms over this: we’re getting royally screwed. And the pinheads who run the industry need a reminder that without us punters, there’s no game, that everyone in the industry is replaceable EXCEPT for the horseplayers. It’s time for some good, old-fashioned rabble-rousing – to the streets, comrades!

Posted by Chris Garrity on December 22, 2010 @ 8:51 am