They did it again. At the very instant the field for Saturday's Grade 1
Beverly D. at Arlington Park was crossing the finish line in Chicago the
horses for the Grade 1 Sword Dancer at Saratoga were leaving the gate.
These were two huge racing events and they happened virtually at the
same time, forcing the horseplayer to concentrate on and, likely, bet on
one but not both.
This was not good for the fans or for either track. No doubt Saratoga
and Arlington both lost some betting handle on those races because they
got in each other's way and competed for the attention of the simulcast
players. Yet it happens all the time. And this is not one of those
vexing problems in a sport filled with vexing problems that are so hard
to fix. To fix it would take one or two phone calls and a simple
willingness among major tracks to cooperate.
This is worth mentioning because conflicting post times were among the
subjects touched upon Sunday in Saratoga in a report issued by the
Jockey Club at its annual Round Table Conference of Matters Pertaining
to Racing. The Jockey Club contracted with the consulting company
McKinsey & Associates to put together a study of, basically, why
racing's popularity keeps falling and what can be done about it.