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Evans Lists 5 Reasons For US Racing Optimism

Thursday, 9th December 2010

In the US, Churchill Downs president & chief executive Robert Evans (also a breeder & owner of Tenlane Farms) presented the keynote address at The University Of Arizona's 37th Annual Symposium on Racing. After listing many of the "challenges" facing the racing industry, Evans examined 5 reasons for optimism:

  1. Alternative gaming at the track is expanding. Gaming subsidies "will account for a higher percentage of purse money" & this can provide "the capital & time required" to allow racing to "get its house in order".
  2. Balance sheets are improving. The number of tracks owned by companies with strong balance sheets will allow for the cash needed to transform racing's failing business model.
  3. Racing is embracing technology that exponentially expands our knowledge of customers. Technology will also exponentially expand customer demands, experiences, trends & preferences.
  4. There is a market for quality. The top US races (Triple Crown, Breeders' Cup, etc) saw an 18% increase in handle between 2003-2009], while total US handle declined 19% over the same period; & handle on the top 465 US races remained even against the overall decline.
  5. Innovation is the basis of competition for customers. Monmouth Park's revolutionary Elite Summer Meet showed a significant increase in handle & Evans declared: "Try big stuff. Focus on creating one more profitable day of racing per week." Churchill's Friday Night racing was a prime example.

Evans summed up: "Innovation, technology & quality are the paths to success."

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