Answers differ on this. Some people think racing will be renewed and the steep decline in our sport will magically be reversed. Others think there will be little if any change whatsoever.
Me? I know what will happen. I've made a living out of taking advantage of the fact that humans are entranced by solitary last data points. There will be a temporary buzz that will certainly create more interest at a national level with big races, particularly if American Pharaoh continues to race a few more times before retiring to stud. There will even be more small track interest, with casual fans more likely to spend a night or two at their local track. Next year there will still be some buzz and a marketing blitz associated with last year’s Triple Crown Winner.
Unfortunately, the data point of a Triple Crown Winner will fade and eventually be swallowed up by the negative trends associated with decades of racing decline. The core structure of racing itself has generated the massive decline in interest. That core structure will not change, and in fact our Triple Crown Winner will only further prevent the do nothing ancient thinkers who run racing from seeing the need for any change.
How behind the times is horse racing as a sport. Well the sport is still being run the way it was before women had the right to vote, television was invented, gas powered cars were on the road, and the Wright brothers flew at Kitty Hawk. There were over 300 racetracks in the United States in 1890 and yes, the world has changed just a wee bit since then. I wonder how exciting football would be if it was run the same way it was when first conceived.
Today, with an economic structure that offers racing purses that are estimated at 50% of actual racing costs, and those purses being massively subsidized by things that have nothing to do with racing, only rich hobbyists and highest tier racetracks will eventually remain in a sport that continues to contract. Sure we could come up with a great list of innovations in the categories of action orientation, competition concepts, gaming options, technology use and trust elements but we will settle for the fact that it’s great to have another Triple Crown Winner, for now.
Anyway, I'm delighted I will get to see one more Triple Crown Winner in my life, TODAY. Don't miss it!
Dave Astar is a race horse owner, stallion owner, breeder, 40 year business executive, and 50 year handicapper.