September 19, 2005

In the wake of what had to be considered a disconcerting start to the sales season it’s time seriously reflect on just where we are really going.

First and foremost there’s this nagging little question that when you think about it is both simplistic and maybe even unanswerable under the current spectrum of contemporary life and how it has evolved.

And that question is: Why on earth would anybody purchase a racehorse unless they were already so fans of horse racing?

Racehorses are what we manufacture and all the green space rationale won’t mean the proverbial hill of beans if we cannot attract some spectators to watch these horses race.

Horse racing is a spectator sport.

Horse ownership is the participatory proprietorship of a racing horse that ultimately performs to the satisfaction of spectators—who in addition to observing are expected to gamble on the outcome.

It is the revenue derived from this gambling that ultimately is distributed to racehorse owners in the form of purses.

Of course in many cases horse owners are often racing for their own money seeing as how so much of stake purses are derived from nomination payments, sustaining payments and starting fees but that is another issue for another day.

Therefore it stands to reason that horse owners must at one point either have been spectators or aficionados of the sport of horse racing in order to accept the financial burden that accompanies horse ownership.

That being said why would anybody purchase a racehorse unless they are a first and foremost a fan of horse racing?

And if this axiom is even remotely accurate it would seem that the most pressing issue facing THIS horse racing industry is NOT the so called genetic integrity of the breed or any of the other noble but back burner topics currently being bantered about. The most compelling and most immediate issue is the restocking what is so evidently an eroding pool of owners who first and foremost of course were also fans.

And that is not likely to happen unless harness racing reinvents itself as a spectator sport with all the inherent modifications therein and ceases acting as a private playground with a holier than thou attitude in which the spectators are treated as necessary evils instead of valued customers.

Fortunately there will be some temporary subsidization generated by slot and simulcast revenues but that alone will not attract owners without a comprehensive effort to re acquaint lost generations with the pulsating excitement and sheer joy of horse racing as a sport and participatory endeavor in the hope that from those ranks, the usual percentage will gravitate to potential horse ownership.

Therefore it seems so incumbent upon the industry movers and shakers to put some collective brainpower together and utilize the windfalls derived from slot revenues to implement meaningful marketing programs designed to attract fans and owners.

Noticed that Western Ideal placed four different individuals on the weekly top 10 poll conducted by Hambltonian Society and HRC. They included Rock N Roll Hanover, Cabrini Hanover and American Ideal from his first crop and Wilson winner Western Ace from his second crop. Might be the first time so young a sire has placed so many on this list from just two crops.

We’re sending four outstanding Western Ideal’s to Harrisburg including DIMATTGIO (Mattaroni) ARTRIVERDERCI (Roman Art) WESTAVERDE (Paulas Promise) and WEST INDIA (Steamy Place)

Sharp win by Miss Wisconsin in the American National on Thursday and intriguing runner up for Double Player making his first stakes start versus divisional leader CHOCOLATIER. Miss Wisconsin and Double Player are both Muscles Yankee’s and we’ll have a nice full brother to Double Player named TORREOGRAPHY (Flirty Two) at Harrisburg in November.


From your namesake stallion McArdle will spawn such additional namesakes like Old McArdle… General McArdle, McArdles Farm and maybe McArdle Park.. And that just for starters. The first McArdle foals have hit the ground and are collectively an impressive lot.

Bob Marks



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