April 30, 2014

That's Three Strikes - Rough Weather Churchill Downs

Churchill Downs - home of the Kentucky Derby is facing some rough weather - and it is not just the rain and wind kind of weather which helps "horses bred for the mud". They could be facing some chills now, with three major developments which seem to show CD's actions in a negative light.

In my personal opinion one of them clearly does show them in negative light. That is the treatment being meted out to Hall of Fame retired jockey Ron Turcotte (link).

There has been a press release by two time derby winning (now wheelchair using) retired jockey Ron Turcotte about the dismal treatment afforded to him at Churchill Downs.
"However, my most recent experiences at the track have tarnished my fond memories of Churchill Downs through the actions, or should I say inaction, of track management who has not provided me with either accommodation or parking access during (Kentucky) Oaks and Derby days. Being confined to a wheelchair since my racing accident in 1978, it is no easy feat to maneuver through the crowds that attend the Derby festivities. It becomes a nearly impossible task when there is virtually no assistance from the track."
Turcotte said that in 2012, despite being the subject of a National Film Board of Canada documentary being filmed at Churchill, he was denied any parking assistance by the track.
Read more on BloodHorse.com: http://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing/articles/84712/turcotte-issues-statement-against-churchill#ixzz30OegydzV
Source: Bloodhorse.com article

Further, some race horse owners running their horses in undercard graded stakes races are also speaking out about poor treatment being meted out to them.
What is wrong with this management group? No wonder racing is on the decline. They don’t have any regard for the owners, in my opinion. They are for themselves and the race track as I see it.
Not only do I feel that owners are treated like second class citizens by Churchill Downs, so too are the handicappers and everyday bettors. 
Source: Rick Porter (Fox Hill Farm) http://foxhillfarmstable.com/2014/04/28/churchill-made-an-irresponsible-mistake/

Then there is the the general discontent after the recent takeout increase.
Wagers on Win, Place, and Show were raised from 16% takeout to 17.5% takeout. On exotic wagers, the takeout increased from 19% to 22%. (source)
There is a boycott movement that is underway and vigorous discussions on this takeout increase and its repurcussions on horseplayer behavior (http://www.paceadvantage.com/forum/showthread.php?t=112989) and (http://www.horseraceinsider.com/John-Pricci/comments/04242014-horseplayers-to-churchill-downs-and-industry-wake-up)

While Churchill maybe run as an incorporated business, their management of their business model is turning away or infuriating many of their customers and partners, who are key to the business model.

What are your opinions and thoughts on these issues? Feel free to jump in and comment or share this post with others on social media if any of these topics are of interest to you. Keep it civil please.

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