Photo: Eclipse Sportswire
There are some fine folks in the horse racing television world – knowledgeable, fun and even insightful. But I have at least five ways to improve on such broadcasts, and since I’m just a lowly old blogger/videographer that television executives haven't heard of, I thought I'd toss my two cents into an open forum. Who knows maybe just one idea will make its way up the broadcast ladder? As a new player Fox1 has the best opportunity to bring some innovation to this 150-year-old game. So without further ado here's what I think can be done...
1) This is 2013 and I have a four-year-old computer with a video camera in it about the size of nail head…put a small, wide angle robotic camera on every finish line. Give people what they want sooner and everybody wants to know who the winner is right after a race. A camera on the finish line will help figure that out for fans at lightning speed while stewards fumble around.
2) On the same subject, put some of those small, wide-angle cameras in select jockey helmets – first a few atop the morning line choices and some on a couple of long shots. Who knows maybe we’ll get lucky and actually “see” what it’s like for a jockey to push her horse through a closing hole along the rail in an all out effort to win. I bet it wouldn’t take more than two races to see something incredible up close and personal.
3) While we’re on the subject of cameras, build a robotic camera to travel under the rail along both the backstretch and homestretch. While football figured out how to put a camera in the air, an on-the-rail camera should be able to travel 30 mph for a short time to capture the Thoroughbreds in action through both straightaways.
4) Enough of the sappy human-interest stories that fill the horse racing airways, teach people how to bet! Betting is legal in 29 states and most people watching wouldn’t mind some help. Strategy, types of bets, takeout rates, betting angles, etc. It’s not that hard and you can actually have fun with it while not trying to manufacture a tear through some stiff, clichéd narrative.
5) There’s plenty of good stories to tell in horse racing, if you let a producer comb the backside a few mornings a week. Horsemen, owners and jockeys are willing to talk, if only asked some decent questions. Betting, training, riding and trying to win in horse racing can make for the ultimate reality show in which luck plays a role front and center.
I know there are challenges, both technological and human, that need to be overcome to make these changes happen. Wouldn't just one change make the watching and betting more enjoyable? What do you think?