Stronach: Horseplayers Not a Stakeholder in Industry


Frank Stronach apparently does not think horseplayers are a stakeholder in the horse racing industry. (Photo credit: Breeders’ Cup Ltd.).

In a six-paragraph advertisement in the Los Angeles Times printed on Sunday, Frank Stronach announced he will speak at the Embassy Suites Arcadia Hotel on Tuesday at 6:00 about the “future of horse racing in California.”

Nowhere in his rambling statement of 550 words did he mention horseplayers or customers.

It is just one more example to me that the industry continues to remind us that horseplayers, who drive the entire industry, just don’t matter.

Frank did mention himself. A total of nineteen times he used the word “I”.

“There were times when I was hungry…I started a one-man-tool and die shop…I have dedicated my life to the betterment of horses…. I bought my first yearling forty-five years ago…I built the world’s largest bronze sculpture at Gulfstream Park…I am one of the largest investors in horse racing… I have invested approximately $1.5 billion to modernize and upgrade racetracks across America…”

Then there was this one:

“I have always said that the key stakeholders within the horse industry are – the racetrack owners, horse owners, trainers, jockeys, breeders and veterinarians.”

Stronach mentioned all the dough he has invested into the game but failed to mention the $11,265,519,563 that customers dropped into the sport just last year.

Ant that is just handle. Toss in all the money horseplayers spend on past performance data, parking, admissions, parking, food and beverage at the track and that number is even higher.

TVGThe industry has given us a few things over the past couple of years, like Racing Roulette, gimmick Jackpot wagers, higher takeout, smaller fields, inconsistent stewards decisions, an outdated tote system, etc.  This list goes on and on and on and on.

Last October Stronach filed a lawsuit against his daughter Belinda, who is now running the racing operations.

According to The Thoroughbred Daily News, the lawsuit alleges that Belinda Stronach and Alon Ossip, TSG’s chief executive, conspired together in “a series of covert and unlawful actions…that have been contrary to the best interests of, and to the overwhelming detriment of, other members of the Stronach family.”

The suit seeks to remove Belinda Stronach from all corporate officer and trustee positions related to TSG and demands $540 million (CDN) in compensation and damages.

Stronach Group Responds to Meeting

In a response to Stronach’s announcement about the Tuesday get together, The Stronach Group released this statement:

“The Stronach Group (TSG) is proud to have worked with the California Horse Racing Board, as well as jockeys, trainers and horsemen from all over the country to push for generational reforms aimed at protecting riders and horses throughout our sport.

To avoid any confusion, TSG is in no way involved with the Tuesday meeting that was proposed in a paid advertisement in today’s Los Angeles Times. The host of the proposed meeting has no involvement with or oversight of any of our tracks and does not speak on behalf of TSG or Santa Anita Park.

TSG will continue to work with our sport’s stakeholders on progressive reforms to augment safety and bring the sport of horse racing into a new era.”

Racing in California might as well be sitting on the ledge at the Grand Canyon. The leadership groups like the California Horse Racing Board, The Thoroughbred Owners of California and The Stronach Group have not taken a proactive stance toward any of the major problems that face the sport.

Let’s face it, racing at Santa Anita could be a handful of equine deaths away from ending for good.

In addition, when you have leaders that don’t understand who their customer is, can’t price their product correctly, and can’t even solve the most basic of problems like tracks owned by the same company running right on top of each other, I just have no faith anything Frank says this afternoon will resonate with anyone. Certainly not with horseplayers.

So Frank, don’t forget to turn the light off on your way out.

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