Transcript from Podcast
Hello, this is Tom Battaglia and welcome to the podcast today’s show. The horse race industry is dying and it’s their own damn fault now what do I mean when I say that? I mean, I can’t find another industry. End up in the country that treats its customers. The way the racetrack does. I mean, it’s like they hate us. I learned that lesson about 30 years ago and let me tell you a quick story. I was selling battaglia’s picks tipsheet on track. I’m going to change the name of the track and some of the idiots involved so they don’t assume me. So let’s just say this track was down by the river. I had just started selling their. My father started this business at Letonia which is now Turfway and then I took over at this place down by the river. Anyway it was Kentucky Derby Day which is obviously the biggest day for this race track. Play the tipsheet. Stan was set up, was directly in front of me was the program sellers directly behind me was the concession stands and the places where you make a wedge or worse down to the left a little bit anyway, Derby Day place is packed. People are coming from everywhere. everywhere. program sellers that were in front of me. Great guys OK, they been busy since freaking 9 in the morning. Well around 1:00 o’clock on Derby Day the 2nd shift comes in which they don’t usually have. But under be daily, decide to. The 2nd shift consisted of two college kids that had first went to the wrong racetrack because they didn’t know the difference between Turfway Park and this place down by the river. Well here they are. You know these two kids. The line for the programs is out the freaking door. It’s Derby Day and if you ask these kids they wouldn’t know the difference between a thoroughbred and a freaking Billy goat, right? And that’s who they they bring in on Derby Day to sell programs behind me is a concession stand where there’s two older ladies doing the best they can. God love them trying
to sell $5 hot dogs that are almost un eat able and you know flat, soft drinks to people that are 30 people deep in line trying to get you know something to eat. Little ways further down you see the ticket tellers, the lines that make it better. Just 50 people deep. I mean good luck if you’re trying to make a bet. And, uh, it’s just a pretty much a general mess. Now the general manager of this particular establishment establishment, if I could speak at the time, let’s say his first name was hack most of the time when I would walk by, I was in the office quite a lot. My father worked there, so I, you know, I was in the office this a lot and every time I walked by. Tax Office I could peek in and see him playing solitaire on his computer. Now, of course, this was before Facebook and all that. So Solitaire was about it. Or maybe Minesweeper, but I guess Solitaire was his game anyway on Derby Day. I guess it had gotten wind to him that the tipsheet seller me was doing something that evidently was just catastrophic and it made him get out of his chair, pauses scheme, come down five flights of stairs. Walk through the hundreds and hundreds of people trying to make a bet excuses way through the concession line to get to the tip. Stand to tell me, hey, you’re not allowed to sell Derby Day pics here on Derby Day. Excuse me, come again. I don’t want you selling picks at Churchill Downs here on Derby Day. I want I want these people to bet to bet here at river downs. I don’t want you giving them tips. I said river downs Oh well. Who gives a **** anyways? Can you imagine that? The general manager of the track finally getting out of his desk chair, finally pausing his solitaire game being totally oblivious to the freaking total chaos
that’s going on in his race track to come and yell at the tipsheet person for selling selections for Churchill Downs. Derby Day at his racetrack now. I also had selections at his little track, because, you know, of course people came there to bet on main claiming 10 thousands and not on. You know, the Derby. So I mean, it was just ridiculous that pretty much showed me right there that. I mean, either he didn’t was too stupid to realize how bad his track was being managed, or he just didn’t care. One of the two. It has to be. So I just went with. He just doesn’t care. ’cause I didn’t think anybody could really be that stupid, but I guess the race tracks have been proven me wrong ever since because that’s not improved and it’s not just that track, it’s all over the country. So yeah, I learned a valuable lesson that day, the racetrack people, the general managers, higher ups. They could freaking care less about the players. I mean, we just get on their nerves for being there. I mean, back when I was growing up, they used to have like family days at the track. You know people would. Men would bring their wives and their kids and make a day out of it and you’d see the kids trying to pet the ponies in the paddock and running down trying to race the horses down the stretch. And it was. It was a family. Event, I mean people liked it. I haven’t seen a family at the racetrack. Well, I haven’t been to the racetrack in many years, but even before I left that the family element was practically none. Now if you go to the track and you try to make a bet with the ticket teller, I mean you gotta listen to him breathe heavy because they don’t want you to be there. You know the. What the hell do you want? I just trying to make a bet here at the racetrack. Oh God, whatever. They serve you food that’s pretty much un eat able. I mean 5 bucks for a hotdog and half the time you take a bite and half the bun falls off because it’s so stale. I mean, it’s just. It’s terrible.
The younger generation is just not going to the racetrack, and the racetrack seems to be fine with that. They very rarely, I mean, the only time the younger generation gets to even see a horse races. Maybe on Kentucky Derby Day, if they turn it on, but they’ve made the Kentucky Derby telecast damn near unwatchable. I mean, it’s terrible.
Pretty much when I was on my way out, the race tracks had served this trend of hiring college kids with freaking marketing degrees or degree in this and degree in that. But they don’t know the difference between a thoroughbred and a Clydesdale. It’s just embarrassing. Even Equibase, my father, used to work for equibase. You know, calling the charts and reading or making the comments at the end of the. I guess if you buy a program or racing form, you say little comments. I mean the people that they started hiring, they had no clue what they were watching. And I still don’t think they do, because half of the time. If you look at their comments. I mean most of them don’t make sense. Sometimes they may say checked hard or stumbled at the start and you go back and watch your replay and none of it happened. There’s other times on a horse will get killed turning for home, and that’s nowhere listed on the chart anywhere. I mean, don’t get me started on this stewards. I mean, the stewards don’t have a clue what’s going on. It says. All in all, I have it the industry, just it’s the only industry that hates their players like that. I don’t find another industry that cheats their customers like that, I mean. And another thing that really gripes. My *** is these race tracks I have these handicappers that come on TV and tell you who to bet on, but these people have never made over a bet in their life and they’re sitting here telling you who to bet on. And on Derby Day we started with a mythical bankroll of and we’ll see how we do. We’ll forget the mythical bankroll. Don’t we pull bucks out of your pocket? And let’s see how long you last on TV doing that. I mean, it’s just so annoying. When the races are over, somebody will come on right away. Well, the four really ran good down the stretch and got the lead right here and see he went on to it. No **** Sherlock. I just watched the race. I don’t need you to come on to tell me before they’re even pulled up. What happened in the race? I mean, I saw it. Thank you. I mean just a few days ago I’m watching a race at Gulfstream and I always try to turn it on when I’m going in the gate to avoid all the talk beforehand. But I made a mistake and turned it on like 2 minutes early and I got to hear the person telling me, well, this filly does look little boned and I would expect to see her run on a little bone. Really give me a freaking break.
Well, that’s a few of the problems that I see at the racetrack anyway. I could probably go on for awhile a week or so talking about problems at the racetrack, but I really do love the sport. I mean, it’s been in my family since before I was even freaking born. It’s paid my bills my entire life and it’s just sad for me to see what these people are doing to the sport. Somebody call me jeez, I’ll give you some advice. For crying out loud.