On a day when Santa Anita had to cancel its morning workouts over the synthetic Pro-Ride surface after it did not drain properly following three inches of rain Saturday (sound familiar?), I received an e-mail from a longtime racing fan. I won’t use his name, but I’d like to publish his thoughts here because I believe they are shared by many other racing fans:
I am observing the downward spiral of So CA Racing. I looked at today’s program at HOL. The worst ever. Maybe they should just eliminate the Fall HOL meeting. We had 3000 atendance last year now 2000 or less. and very small fields with many hidden entries. I will not bet these fields. Many feel the same way. Now we see $50,000 “stake” races. What nonsense is this?? Allowance race really, non winners in 2009!! Mdn Clm and NW2, 3,4,5,6, year old, Starter races for winners of bad Mdn Clm races are usually non playable. If fans keep losing, they won’t come back. I watch owners come for their race, when it is over , they leave!!! If racing is no fun for them, why should I be there??
Ray Paulick writes this week . Along these lines.
At Santa Anita, many times I can count less than 100 people visible from Mezz. They report 3000.
What we need is real leadership in Horse Racing. Remember Harness Racing demonstrated leadership many years ago.
Not much is written about serious injuries from Jocks falling on synthetic tracks, the horses suddenly fall and jocks hit hard. All that energy in such a short time. On dirt there is lots of sliding.
One key is fans bring someone to races. One track has a special area for special treatment of newcomers.
The e-mailer is right. The fields these days are ridiculously small. Bottom line, there is just too much racing. There has been for years and the problem is only magnified now because of the horse shortage. Someone in this industry needs to step up and show some leadership or the ship is going to keep sinking.