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.

Can Orb win the Triple Crown?

Every year after the Kentucky Derby, the question becomes whether the winner can carry it forward and win the Triple Crown. I’m old enough to remember when Affirmed won the last Triple Crown in 1978, and frankly I’d really like to see it again.

Often we see horses win the Derby where it’s obvious the horse has no chance to get two more races. But this year, even on a sloppy track, Or b looked like a horse that has the goods to compete for glory. Next up is the Preakness, and the odds look pretty good for Orb:

The 138th Preakness, however, does not appear to offer a profitable opportunity to wager against the Derby winner. The second-, third- and fourth-place finishers at Churchill Downs will not be at Pimlico because they are awaiting the Belmont Stakes or other objectives. Just eight horses will challenge Orb, and it is difficult to make a solid case for any of them.

Fortunately, in today’s world you can bet the horses from anywhere you like from your home and enjoy things like Royal Ascot Betting, so getting your racing fix is very easy. But there’s still something special about the Triple Crown, and getting in on the action in a year where a horse finally prevails should provide a hell of a story.

2010 Preakness Stakes Predictions

All right, so I was a tad off in my Kentucky Derby predictions two weeks ago. Sidney’s Candy (the colt I predicted to win) ran out of gas down the stretch and I’m pretty sure Line of David (my prediction to show) still hasn’t come out of the posts yet.

That said, my choice of Paddy O’prado to place was partly correct as he finished in the money, but third instead of my prediction of second. Had he not tired down the stretch, he would have held off Ice Box for second place, but I was happy that at least one of my predictions finished in the money. I also noted that Conveyance would probably jump out to a big lead at the front – which he did – but tire down the stretch (which he also did). But that prediction doesn’t really count for anything; I’m just trying to make myself feel a little better considering the picks didn’t pan out.

I’ll try to do better today with the Preakness, as the second leg of the Triple Crown takes place at 6:15PM ET.

Win: Lookin at Lucky (3/1)
Lookin at Lucky was the favorite heading into the Kentucky Derby, but he fought traffic out at the start and finished a disappointing sixth. That said, he spotted the field over 20 lengths, battled through traffic and still managed to finish sixth. The last horse to pull off a similar feat was Curlin in 2007, who lost to Street Sense at the 133rd running of the Kentucky Derby and then won the Preakness two weeks later. Had Lucky not drawn the awful rail position for the Derby, we might have seen a different outcome. But now that he is coming out of the No. 7 post, he shouldn’t have to battle as much traffic at the start and he can run his race throughout. If he does that, he beats the field.

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