13 Easy Ways to Grow Thoroughbred Racing
Piggy backing off my colleague Shannon Castagnola’s great blog about getting more people into the game, I want to share my ideas as a young person in the sport. If you’re reading this, chances are you love Thoroughbreds and racing. I want my grandchildren (I’m getting married in June...mom’s already excited about grandkids -- sigh) to experience horse racing like I’ve been so blessed to experience. It sounds simple, but we all really need to do our part to bring in new fans, owners, and young blood into the game.
How can we do that? Here are some ideas in no particular order...
1. Like Shannon talks about in her blog, if you have access to box seats at any track, not a race day should go by where the seats are empty. Give them to a coworker, family member, or somebody who did something nice for you.
2. Referencing Shannon’s blog again, go to the track and buy a few $5 betting vouchers. When your hairdresser says, “Oh my God I’ve always wanted to go to the track!,” whip one out and give it to him/her. Next time you get your hair cut, ask them how much fun they had.
3. Probably the simplest of all, whenever you go to the track, ask yourself “who can I bring with me?” Don’t you agree with most people all it takes is one visit and they’re hooked? I’m biased but if I were new in the game, I’d want to go to Saratoga and/or Keeneland. (Ok Del Mar you’re a close third).
4. Bring someone to a horse sale --they’re FREE and open to the public. There’s Keeneland and Fasig-Tipton in Kentucky and OBS in Florida amongst others. Get them a catalogue and go take them to look at weanlings -- who doesn’t love them? Contact me if you need help finding the closest sale to you.
The Saratoga yearling sales over the summer are HUGE social events.
5. Throw a party on a big race day whether its Breeders’ Cup, Kentucky Derby, or the Dubai World Cup. Put a pool together so people get into it and get competitive.
6. All the teachers out there will roll their eyes on this one -- teach your kid a few math lessons using the racing form! I learned fractions that way (three quarters of a mile or six furlongs is shorter than ⅞ of a mile or seven furlongs) and I turned out okay.
7. Encourage people to attend new owners seminars, handicapping seminars, and other events where they can meet people with the same passion. The Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association (TOBA) is a great resource as is America’s Best Racing.
8. Know somebody who would love to own a racehorse but doesn’t know what the first step is? Encourage them to join a partnership. I might be biased, but I hear West Point Thoroughbreds is a great organization. :)
9. Encourage the racing fan in your life to get engaged -- the internet is a beautiful thing. There are numerous industry leaders on Facebook, Twitter, etc. There’s never been a better a time for people to find something they’re passionate about and become immersed in it.
10. Talk to people about how racing is a family affair. You can be any age, from any place, and have little or no athletic ability to participate. Click here to read Debbie Finley’s blog about families in racing.
Random fact: Did you know equestrian is the only Olympic sport where men and women compete as equals?
11. I graduated from the University of Kentucky -- they have a great Horse Racing Club. Grab your roommate and find out when the meetings are.
13. Beg your spouse to let you add BOTH HRTV AND TVG to the television package. :)
Any other ideas? Leave your comments below and I’ll add to the list.
Now get to work.
P.S. WPT Partners, email me (email@example.com) your story and let me know how you got into the game in 500 words or less. We’ll put them together and share them on the website for others to enjoy.