Power Cap

Power cap- existential handicapping

25 June 2009

Dear Abigail, (The Category Killer Track)

Commenter Abigail made an excellent point in the Rachel Alexandra marketing post regarding how most people show up for triple crown racing for the party and not the horses. This crowd could really care less about the horses. They are there to hang out, get drunk and have a good time. Their good time y does not include watching or betting on horse racing. Any bets made are just ancillary entertainment. These people will not come back until next year when the TV starts talking about the triple crown all over again.

Marketing a special filly mostly falls on deaf ears. Most people are just not sharp enough to appreciate equine excellence or acknowledge it when they see it. These days when it comes to horses people don't know a throat latch from a trifecta box. The thing that people respond to is controversy and large groups of people all doing the same thing. People move in herds like Bison, cherishing the safety of the group. The challenge before racing is to create a real buzz, to create a watering hole to lure the herd. Racing needs to create excitement to drown out the mundane gossip about ballgames and ballplayers on sports AM radio. Racing needs get the masses talking about their single in Saturday's pick 4 instead of who is A-Rod dating now that he is single.

The only marketing that will get the job done is an idea posted by a commenter named "Cholly" in a previous post. The idea was about a "category killer" track that had 100K allowance races, 10% takeout with huge wagering pools and huge fields. Add in a revolutionary tote system based on Betfair that allows players to lay horses and racing could generate the necessary buzz to lure the herd of masses away from the malls and ballpark clip joints. This would be racing at its best and wagering on a grand scale. These would be mutuel pools that dominate the industry, perhaps even putting smaller tracks out of business and concentrating the public's fascination on the mega-meet.

Once the ball starts rolling with the masses their attention tends to accumulate on one subject making that entity a runaway success. Racing is just hanging on with a small but loyal niche audience. There is untapped potential for racing to be a top pleasure activity. When the gambling action filled with intrigue, the racing so interesting, masses of people would gravitate towards it. For this to happen the idea would have to be something completely new and completely out of the box. The marketing idea would have to be fraught with risk, something to surprise people and change the way people think about racing. The "category killer" track looms as something to bring racing back into the mainstream.

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