American Turf Magazine
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Dec 26, 2014



            As another year comes to an end and we welcome in 2015 we have some wishes for the racing world in the upcoming year. Some of these wishes are close to the same from last year because just like every year in this industry nothing gets done. I am exasperated about how little gets changed and how it continues to affect the horseplayer. Let’s hope for better in 2015.

  1. Our first wish for the New Year as always is that all the jockeys and horses return after each race safe and sound. The riders are putting their lives on the line every day and we as fans should respect that. Although there are times we get upset with the rides they give we should also understand that this is a very tough job. The horses on the other hand are out there in all kinds of weather, rain, snow, hot, cold and any track conditions. The horses can’t tell their trainers how they are feeling and they are always out there giving it their all. Although everyone can’t return safe as it is the nature of the game we can hope for the very best each and every time in every race throughout the world.

  2. Our second wish is the same EXACT as years past and it concerns the taxable winnings at the racetrack. This was our second wish on the list for the last four years and it is our second wish again as still nothing has happened. There has been some ads in the racing form about horse racing groups as they try to change these laws. Hopefully before the end of 2015 these laws will be changed that will help the current bettors, the racetracks and it would help for getting new blood into the game. Currently if you hit a bet that pays $600 for $2 you have to report those winnings to the IRS, if you hit something for $5000 for $2 the government withholds a percentage of those winnings. Some betting venues stack the tickets, so for example if you hit a 60 cent superfecta in your betting account and it pays $105 for 10 cents, they stack the tickets and send you a W2G form to report those winnings. Even if you had 6 different 10 cent bets. Also the problem with these thresholds is that they were put in place a very long time ago. They need to be adjusted. With the advent of  pick threes, pick fours, pick fives, pick sixes and superfectas, there is a better chance to hit something that pays over those numbers.  You could play a pick four for a total investment of $500 and collect $700 on one ticket and you have to report those winnings. Same goes for a winning bet when there are withholdings. You can invest $2,000 into a pick six collect $5,100 and they withhold money. This takes money out of circulation which hurts the tracks, which in turn hurts the state, which in turn hurts the federal government and ultimately, the lifeblood of the sport, the bettors. With these new bets the thresholds should be raised to something like $3,000 for reporting and maybe $15,000 should be the number for withholdings. It is hard enough to win at the racetrack and then if you do and don’t even make a profit they might withhold some of your money. This in addition to many other factors has hurt attendance and interest in the game over the years. Hopefully the NTRA which is in place to help the industry and the bettors can do something to alleviate this burden.

  3. Our third wish this year is that the top racing executives across the country, especially at the major tracks understand that without the customer there is no game. For example in New York, just recently they made a decision to raise admission prices again for Belmont and Saratoga in 2015. To raise admissions, especially at Belmont makes zero sense. You make money at a racetrack based on the handle. When you have 600-800 people coming to the track per day and you raise admission you will lose some of those people and in turn the handle suffers. You want people to come to the track, you want them to play with you, that’s how the money is made. Make the place more customer friendly. All I hear about is the customer experience, well for a lack of a better word it “sucks”. Let’s hope they come to their senses and do the right thing by the customer this year, wow, wouldn’t that be a change.

  4. Our fourth wish last year would be that the racing form changed back to the old format. Well that wish is probably too much to ask but how about not putting one track within another track. Not having to turn 100 pages to get to the second half of a race. I mean come on, get with it Racing Form, do something for the fans already.

  5. Our fifth and final wish is to have a good year at the racetrack. Get some winners, have some winning days and see some great athletes strut their stuff. Good luck to all in 2015!



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