Horce racing embraces social media

Race tracks have been facing difficult issues for years. In places like Ohio they’ve had to add slot machines to get people to come. At Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland, the Preakness Stakes wasn’t enough to keep that track out of trouble. The state had to get involved to save it. Of course horseracing betting is incredibly popular online and in places like Las Vegas. The huge races like the Kentucky Derby get mobbed with visitors of course as these are huge events in popular culture. But getting visitors to the tracks on a consistent basis for the weekly races is critical to the success of the entire industry. But as pointed out recently at Deadspin.com, the demographics are not too friendly to the industry as the fans are mostly older.

Fortunately we’re seeing modern marketing efforts coming from the industry as many have embraced social media tools like Twitter. The Kentucky Derby account has over 33,000 followers while the Breeder’s Cup has over 27,000 followers. Even the Preakness Stakes has over 7,000 followers, though they could probably be more active on that account. Also, as pointed out by Deadspin, the industry is signing up brand ambassadors who will use events and social media to reach out to younger people in cities like Miami to spark interest. Of course these representatives are often young, beautiful and female, but that has always been a marketing staple. The point is that they can no longer just count on men in their 20s and 30s to just show up at the track on the weekend. There are too many entertainment and sports options, let alone casinos and online gaming options as well. The good thing is that the product is still very entertaining. Horse races are a blast when you spend the day at the track. The key is conveying that message and finding promotions to get young people in the door for the first time so they have fun and then want to come back.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

From Triple Crown to no crown: Big Brown’s career finished

Big Brown, the thoroughbred that was one victory away from winning horse racing’s Triple Crown, has a broken foot and will not race at next weekend’s Breeders’ Cup. Or ever for that matter as his racing career is over.

Big BrownIn a cruel twist of fate, Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Big Brown, whose connections were gung-ho for the Classic challenge, was injured in a workout at the Aqueduct track in New York and has been retired. Hours later at Santa Anita, reigning Horse of the Year Curlin went through an afternoon workout between races that was encouraging to connections that have been notably noncommittal regarding the richest race in North America.

Michael Iavarone, principal owner of Big Brown, and his family watched as the 3-year-old colt went through a workout on turf in company with stablemate and defending Breeders’ Cup Mile champion Kip Deville. Iavarone said, in a national teleconference yesterday, that to him the exercise appeared excellent.

“They looked like two F-16s in formation,” Iavarone said.

But the mood changed instantly when Iavarone went to the stable area to be met by his glum trainer, Rick Dutrow, who said there was a problem with Big Brown.

Sometime during the workout Big Brown had “grabbed a quarter” – meaning he made contact with his right hind hoof to an area in his rear lower right front hoof and leg – and gashed away 3-4 inches of flesh and hoof.

The injury is not considered life threatening, given the prevention of infection, and measures were being taken in that regard. But it will require several weeks to heal.

Well at least this isn’t a life threatening injury to the horse. Because lord knows if these animals suffer an eyelash injury everyone’s like, “Well she had a good run – let’s put her down.”

The Breeders’ Cup just lost its heavyweight fight. People have been waiting to see Big Brown vs. Curlin since the summer.

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