Dennis Mills

Dennis Mills

Longer Meets, Help for Owners Suggested

Racing fans have offered suggestions on how to improve the racing business.

A desire for longer meets at racetracks is among the prominent themes derived from comments submitted to MI Developments vice president Dennis Mills as part of a contest at his website.

Interestingly, MID has expressed a desire to expand dates at Santa Anita Park in California to about 140 a year, racing roughly three days a week. The plan is part of MID’s call for deregulation in horse racing.

An executive report on Mills’ findings says longer meets are desirable so “players can be more familiar with returning entries and local conditions.” In recent years, the industry has rallied behind smaller boutique meets with a focus on quality.

Longer meets is just one of numerous suggestions received by Mills, who has selected semi-finalists based on their thoughts on how to improve racing. One person will receive 50% of one of the foals Mills bred.

Other suggestions are more evening and twilight racing to attract more people; expanded use of mobile mutuel tellers at tracks on big days; reduced costs for racehorse owners; offering more activities for young people during racing programs; developing lottery-type wagers with big jackpots; finding ways to increase distribution of the racing product in more venues; coordinated marketing efforts; and appointment of a “commissioner of racing.”

A pie chart showing “idea response distribution by category” shows marketing efforts (26%) as the leader in terms of need for action.

Mills said has attracted visits from about 100 countries since it was launched a few months ago, though about 8,600, or 78%, came from within the United States.

Mills said the response to “reflects widespread recognition of the importance and urgency of change in the industry.”