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Jan 08, 2015

AMERICAN TURF CLUB LEAD-WISHLIST FOR 2015

By: JOE GIRARDI


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

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

  2. Our second wish is the same EXACT as yearspast and it concerns the taxable winnings at the racetrack. This was our secondwish on the list for the last four years and it is our second wish again asstill nothing has happened. There has been some ads in the racing form abouthorse racing groups as they try to change these laws. Hopefully before the endof 2015 these laws will be changed that will help the current bettors, theracetracks and it would help for getting new blood into the game. Currently ifyou hit a bet that pays $600 for $2 you have to report those winnings to theIRS, if you hit something for $5000 for $2 the government withholds apercentage of those winnings. Some betting venues stack the tickets, so forexample 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 reportthose winnings. Even if you had 6 different 10 cent bets. Also the problem withthese thresholds is that they were put in place a very long time ago. They needto be adjusted. With the advent of  pick threes,pick fours, pick fives, pick sixes and superfectas, there is a better chance tohit something that pays over those numbers.  You could play a pick four for a totalinvestment of $500 and collect $700 on one ticket and you have to report thosewinnings. Same goes for a winning bet when there are withholdings. You caninvest $2,000 into a pick six collect $5,100 and they withhold money. Thistakes money out of circulation which hurts the tracks, which in turn hurts thestate, which in turn hurts the federal government and ultimately, the lifebloodof the sport, the bettors. With these new bets the thresholds should be raisedto something like $3,000 for reporting and maybe $15,000 should be the numberfor withholdings. It is hard enough to win at the racetrack and then if you doand don’t even make a profit they might withhold some of your money. This inaddition to many other factors has hurt attendance and interest in the gameover the years. Hopefully the NTRA which is in place to help the industry andthe bettors can do something to alleviate this burden.

  3. Our third wish this year is that the topracing executives across the country, especially at the major tracks understandthat without the customer there is no game. For example in New York, justrecently 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 onthe handle. When you have 600-800 people coming to the track per day and youraise admission you will lose some of those people and in turn the handlesuffers. 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 hearabout is the customer experience, well for a lack of a better word it “sucks”. Let’s hope they come to theirsenses and do the right thing by the customer this year, wow, wouldn’t that bea change.

  4. Our fourth wish last year would be thatthe racing form changed back to the old format. Well that wish is probably toomuch to ask but how about not putting one track within another track. Nothaving 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 agood year at the racetrack. Get some winners, have some winning days and seesome great athletes strut their stuff. Good luck to all in 2015!

     

     



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