Wednesday, September 05, 2007

If You Are Going to Bite the Hand That Feeds You, At Least Dip It in Queso

Horseplayers and racing enthusiasts are suffering. They are suffering from the effects of dimwitted and near-sighted business moguls who see the riches of slots and use the guise of racing a horse or two around a dirt, or perhaps Tapeta, oval as the foundation of amassing gambling fortunes. The new Presque Isle Downs and Casino apparently, by a couple of first-hand accounts, has exactly three benches, two pari-mutuel clerks, and one beerman who doesn’t speak English to accommodate 25,332 people on any given race day. However, there is a spectacular and unobstructed view of the racetrack ... 5 hours before the first post. Up the road (or is it down the road?) at Philadelphia Park Casino and Racetrack, horseplayers are grumbling that, in order to enjoy their sport, that they are shoe-horned into the 5th floor of the grandstand as the remaining part of the grandstand is dedicated to the casino, because in the name, Philadelphia Park Casino and Racetrack, the word casino is strategically placed before the word racetrack. But there is an upside to having all the horse racing fans congregate in one place: When you call up your buddy, Eddie, and say, "Hey, Eddie! I’ll meet you over at the track," Eddie will know exactly where to find you.

Last year I wrote about my little excursion to Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino. It’s a nice place. The racetrack has a nice apron with a number of seats. At least I think it has a nice apron, if I could get to the apron but there was a casino in the way.

And how about Gulfstream Racetrack and Casino? The storied venue was razed and built in its place a large building with eight patio tables outside for the 17,365 patrons that watch the horse races and enjoy the Florida sunshine. But inside there is plenty of seating ... at the slots.

Good friend, Nellie, summed up her perspective on the dwindling services provided to the horseplayer,

No one cares ... it's sad, but true. I'm sure that a number of the people on the racing side of things have said more than enough, but were quickly reminded that [Presque Isle Downs] is a casino that just happens to have horses behind it sometimes. ...Remember, it isn't the racing fans that they care about ... it's the slots players.

I am not an opponent to slot machines. They are very popular, which is why most casinos devote 75% of their space to the machines. Their revenue at racetracks add to purses which can be positive for horse racing. But the drawback is that venues with slots are seemingly making the horseplayer secondary.

And we should do something about it. A resolution. Even better, a revolution! Racing fans, unite! Bring your lawn chairs!! Pull up alongside the rail and chant, "We are horse racing fans! We want more seats! We want shorter mutuel lines! We want a Jumbotron in the Presque Isle Downs infield! We want the 3rd floor at Philly Park! We want nachos for $2.50! We are horse racing fans!" And then to really get noticed, we should get David Beckham involved.


appleby's traveler said...

I enjoy watching horse racing in front of a slot machine. There. I said it. That's what makes Sunland Park in El Paso so much fun. I highly suggest if you're ever planning on crossing the Sonoran desert, stop at this charming bistro, pump in a few quarters, and enjoy the races.

What I do hate is typing in these ridiculous "word verification" strings. Is it a J or a Y?

QQ said...

What a great idea -- Beckham really would add some spice to the horse racing fan revolt!

John (AKA Not Too Swift) said...

I meant to post this earlier but your title for this post is the best one I have read all year and should definitely get you an honorable mention at the TBAAS awards (Thouroughbred Bloggers Allaince Award Show aka as the TABASCO Awards because they give people heartburn) at year end, where you will be required to wear your pink cowboy hat (when are we going to see a picture of that?) while feeding queso to Alan with one hand and holding a headless barbie in the other :-)