"Pricing Is Too High"
Published: October 12, 2011 4:30 pm ET
Last Comment: October 19, 2011 4:06 pm ET | 5 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments
"I don't know if there is a consensus [on takeout] to be honest. When some of the people down there heard I was on this panel, they sat me down and said 'you can't really think that reducing takeout is a good idea.'From that perspective, it kind of set me back a little bit."
Greg Blanchard, the man behind the microphone and in the race office at Western Fair is today's guest on Trot Radio. Blanchard talks to Norm Borg fresh from speaking at the annual TRA Simulcast Conference in Arizona where he was a panelist discussing takeout.
"In terms of racing in North America every track has a different set of circumstances, so there are many different viewpoints still on the takeout issue. I'm a believer that the pricing is too high in general terms and we have to work at bringing that down to a more competitive level if we're going to able to compete with other forms of gambling."
Western Fair embraced the takeout movement last year by offering a Pick 4 with 15 per cent take. With the Fall meet, the track will add another wager to that menu.
"We focused on the single wager last year, the Pick 4. This year we're going to add a Pick 5 with the same 15 per cent takeout rate. But then you've got a guy like Raj Mutti from Fraser Downs who was much more aggressive in his approach. They're pretty happy with what they've seen so far and I think they're going to continue to work at lowering the takeout on some of their other wagers. We'll monitor tracks like that very closely."
Western Fair gave the horseplayers a rare voice in May when the track partnered with HANA on a Pick 4 wager. Blanchard indicates that the response was very good and hopes that the track will do that again.
"At the end of the day we created an almost $10,000 pool which the previous year was I think $3,200. We're not talking huge numbers but we're talking a big increase and, in general, we saw the overall Pick 4 pool size triple by the end of the year."
It's a new era for Western Fair, rebranded as the Western Fair District. Blanchard feels the name will help with brand awareness as people simply associated Western Fair with the popular 10-day September carnival.
"It's part and parcel now with venues that have added gaming, ie. slots and maybe other lines of business to let people know there's a lot to see and do here in terms of entertainment and gaming. Within that we've changed the name of the racetrack to The Raceway at The Western Fair District. It's a bit of a mouthful but people will get used to that and I think they'll like the new look we'll be presenting on the TV broadcasts."
Blanchard and co. are pleased with the strong field set for the track's Friday opener as Western Fair starts its Fall harness racing meet at 7:05 p.m.
"It's stronger than the typical Friday card we would see last year when we were racing five days a week. We're pretty happy."
To listen to the full interview with Blanchard and Borg, click the play button below.
Episode 229 – Western Fair's Greg Blanchard
Audio Format: MP3 audio
Host: Norm Borg
Please note that the opinions expressed in the featured interview are those of the participants and do not necessarily reflect Rideau Carleton Raceway and/or Standardbred Canada.