The following letter was forwarded to me from a passionate horse racing fan in England. The reason why the letter needed to be written is a perfect illustration of the lack of big and forward thinking that continues to stymie the growth and popularity of the sport we love.
I attempted to log on to your free-view stream of Santa Anita and Golden Gate Fields as usual on Saturday at approx 8:30pm UK time and was greeted with the error message telling me that I was unable to watch the stream anymore as I was not a US resident.
CalRacing.com has long provided UK, European and residents from across all areas of the world with a free stream of their best tracks. This has boosted the popularity of Californian racing in these countries and has increased the level of money from non-US sources being ploughed into the Californian racing scene by bettors and owners alike. I personally have watched Californian racing on the CalRacing stream for the best part of 5 years and this drew me in further to the wonders of US racing elsewhere. It'd be fair to say that I now see the US racing scene as far more enjoyable than the UK racing scene!
However, your decision to segregate the Cal Racing stream to US residents only leaves a massive problem in a tough time for racing worldwide. Residents of the UK now no longer have any stream for the Santa Anita meet nor do they have any stream for Golden Gate Fields. For a bettor this will significantly reduce the amount they are willing to play with in the Californian racing market (Be honest, who bets much when they cannot watch the race?). A note of just how much this may have already affected your handles is as follows:
The Sham Stakes saw pools of $140,308 (Exacta) and $114,131 (Trifecta). Compared to a similar level race on 26th December where the pools were $271,951 and $250,130 respectively.
Even more harmful could be the lack of wagering towards the early card races. On Saturday the respective pools were $124,129, $105,537, $61,814. However, on Sunday when the full UK betting public were aware of the CalRacing problems the pools have dropped significantly to $76,739, $64,354 and $34,313. Make no mistake, this may have been a minor decision taken lightly but is one that has completely underestimated the value of overseas betting into the Californian pools.
I would urgently ask you to reconsider your decision to shut CalRacing down to overseas bettors and general racing fans. I would also appreciate a direct response to my email on this.
DRF/HorseRacingNation: I am sure you would appreciate this decision could have severe repercussions for the Californian racing scene in the long run and would appreciate any support you could give on this on a reporting basis.
I applaud Daniel Munn for not sitting on his hands and letting a bad decision be made without public outcry. He told me he only wishes to watch horses like Blind Luck run. As it stands today, he can not. It is my hope that by publicizing this letter, a wrong will be corrected. Racing needs not slam any more doors on their fans. In this age of free information so readily available to the world, why does racing always seem to be two steps behind?