Could the Sport of Horse Racing be Made Better?

Horse Racing Radar
Shawn Drupp
Shawn Drupp is a Staff writer for Horse Racing Radar
Friday, December 18, 2020

I often wonder how to make certain things better - mostly things that interest me. One of those things is what we could do to make the sport of horse racing better and more popular.

I always hear more negative than positive from non-horse racing fans when talking about the sport.  Some of that is well deserved. Let's face it, horse racing hasn't always done itself any favors. Like every sport, it starts with getting kids involved. This is one thing horse racing fails at tremendously. 

I understand there is gambling and we don't necessarily want kids involved at a young age in that aspect. However why can't there be more special events for kids?  Have special nights where kids get to meet the jockeys, get closer to the horses, behind the scenes stuff, and autographs.  I know some of this happens, but does it happen as much as it should? 

I will say one thing I am finding out is how accessible some of the people in the sport are.  They are way more accessible and willing to talk then your favorite NFL, NBA, and MLB players.  When I schedule guests for The Player's Edge podcast, I just send them a simple message on Facebook or Twitter. 

You will get some that ignore the messages but, overall, a lot that are willing to talk.  A few weeks ago, when we had Gulfstream announcer Peter Aiello on the podcast, I facebooked him after he predicted a trifecta with a huge payout (along with our podcast host Rich Bieglmeier). Then last week, the night after having jockey Tyler Conner on the show, I was able to message him and get responses between races. 

I felt like a little kid again. 

I was also so glad Tyler was having a great night as he ended up winning four of the 11 races at Penn National last Friday. It was so cool being able to talk to these guys while they were at the track.  These two guys are just a few of the very good people in the sport that are worth getting to know and it's very easy to root for them to succeed. 

If people don't want to be fans because of the gambling aspect they could just enjoy a day at the track and watch, like some do with their other favorite sports. The thrill of being at the track and being right there as they come out of the gate and come to the finish line is unmatched.

Another huge thing you notice is how horse racing is regional. Certain areas, like where I live in the northeast, it's not that popular. I have a difficult time finding people to talk to about horse racing.  Most people in my area only know about the Triple Crown races and, even then, not many watch or understand. 

Other improvements that could be done are for tracks in certain areas to upgrade their facilities and not just put all the money and time into casinos. One other idea would be bigger network deals to be on TV and cable more often.  It would be easier for people to stumble upon it and possibly become fans. Most people don't know what channel TVG is and some don't even have it in their cable package.

I didn't get into racing itself with the use of the whip and certain drugs. All that is changing by the day and is a conversation for another time. 

I hope horse racing sticks around for a long time and grows; these are some of my ideas to make the sport of kings bigger and better. If you are reading this, most likely you are a horse racing fan and enjoy it as much as I do. 

I'm sure I missed some other ideas on how to make the sport bigger and more popular.  Do you have any ideas for the sport of horse racing? Please share them with me by emailing [email protected].