Staying in Touch

Being in the industry for a year and a half now, there is one thing I know. We need to engage younger people and bring in more fans to this wonderful sport. Though I feel the Breeders' Cup fell short in their advertising efforts for such a huge event, the coverage was great.

The spike in national, and international media coverage and web traffic is ridiculous around Kentucky Derby time. I recently sat with a coworker, and we looked at the analytics for Kentucky Derby traffic, versus the rest of the year in various leading industry web presences. The Breeders' Cup does not have as big a spike, but it needs to and they have prime opportunity to attempt so.

I have been a critic of how poorly the Breeders' Cup has advertised the two days of racing to the common person. As often as I watch ESPN and ABC, I never saw one commercial for the Breeders' Cup itself. However I did see two commercials for TVG and wagering on the Breeders' Cup on those major network channels, which delighted me.

I am still frustrated about the advertising because the horses and their connections held up their end of the bargain. There was no lack of good content. The horses provided memorable races and some of the most impressive moves I have seen, ever. How intense, how emotional and how fun! There was wonderful weather, NO breakdowns, and international communities. Horses who had never been on synthetic won; horses who have been on synthetic won; and horses from the turf, of course won.

I was thoroughly impressed with all the features and back-stories that ESPN/ABC had for the horses in various races. There were so many video pieces and each was done very well—from the emotional naming and rise of Colonel John to other various stories behind the horses.The two day coverage and special reports on each contender in the BC Classic was wonderful. It really helped engage the fan.

One interview that really stuck out to me was with Kurt Russell. I can really relate to what he was saying because before the movie Dreamer, he said he had no idea what the Thoroughbred industry was about. After did actor training for the movie to learn the industry he said he fell in love and gained admiration for these athletes. I had no idea about the depth of this industry either, prior to my gig.

This is something I think the Breeders' Cup needs to hone in on. Celebrity. They are in LA! Make the event very fashionable next year and get more bang for the buck in advertising. I mean, Extra and the other celebrity shows will pick up coverage if fashion and star power are present. For instance Oprah's comments on Oprah Whinney is a pleasent memory. 25 years of incredible races can be shown for six months, the location and celebrity can be built up and numbers will increase for 2009...if the hype is made for this great racing event.

There are still issues to be resolved, but hopefully they will look at numbers and change things up a bit. The ladies had a good turn out on Ladies day, but it was still a third less exposure overall, which is something to think about. Ladies day held three of the best races of the weekend and not half the viewers saw the races.

With many aspects of the event going well this year, hopefully Breeders' Cup will take away a lot of new ideas and learn what did and did not work. That way they can promote and advertise to the masses!

Read more on the numbers.

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Charmed.

Three Chimneys does something that is very special for race fans. They promised to update fans on Silver Charm when he was sent to Japan in 2004, and they have. They recently gave an update about him and provided a nice gallery of photos for you to view. So kudos to Three Chimneys for allowing fans to stay in touch with a horse who is truly a loved athlete in the industry.

Slide Show/Pictures
Silver Charm's page on Three Chimneys.

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Notable Entries

Obi Wan is entered to run on November 8, 2008 at PENN NATIONAL.
Race: 9  Distance: Six Furlongs  Surface: Dirt  Age: 5   Sex: Gelding
Race Type: Claiming Purse: $ 10,800
Jockey: Jorge Tipa
Trainer: Timothy C. Kreiser
Race conditions: (PLUS UP TO 40% PABF) FOR THREE YEAR OLDS AND UPWARD WHICH HAVE NOT WON TWO RACES SINCE MAY 8. Weight, 122 lbs. Non-winners of a race since October 8 Allowed 3 lbs. Claiming Price $4,000 (Races where entered for $3,500 or less not considered in eligibility).


Notable Workouts of horses I follow (so you should too):

Jedi Code

Comment: Star Wars, Empire Maker - Listen Well


Date: October 28, 2008

Track: SKYLIGHT TRAINING CENTER

Distance: Five Furlongs

Time: 1.00:80 Breezing

Track Condition: Fast

Surface: All Weather Track

Rank: 1/13

Big Bad Leroybrown


Date: October 30, 2008

Track: SANTA ANITA PARK

Distance: Five Furlongs

Time: 1.04:40 Handily

Track Condition: Fast

Surface: All Weather Track

Rank: 32/32

Big Bad Leroybrown
Date: November 5, 2008
Track: SANTA ANITA PARK
Distance: Five Furlongs
Time: 1.01:40 Handily
Track Condition: Fast
Surface: All Weather Track
Rank: 31/49

Arson Squad


Date: November 2, 2008

Track: AQUEDUCT

Distance: Five Furlongs

Time: 1.01:04 Breezing

Track Condition: Fast

Surface: Dirt

Rank: 1/12

Einstein (BRZ)


Date: November 2, 2008

Track: CHURCHILL DOWNS

Distance: Four Furlongs

Time: 52:00 Breezing

Track Condition: Fast

Surface: Dirt

Rank: 63/68



8 Comments

Leave a Comment:

Kelly E.

I agree with your BC comments.  

Our local TV, news and papers hardly even spoke a word about it.  Gee, I guess the richest two days in sports is not newsworthy.  Nor is the STEROID FREE days of competition worth a mention I guess.  And of course, the richest racehorse in North American history certainly ranks below the miserable Detroit Lions, right?  UGH!

And thank you for the reminder about Silver Charm - my all-time favorite racehorse.  Three Chimneys is to be commended on their care for their stallions and their care for the fans.  I will never forget Silver Charm and I hope that one day there will be another one like him to inspire more fans to the sport!

06 Nov 2008 11:58 AM
DONNA

  Maybe the Breeders Cup needs to advertise itself more. I do agree that all other sports seem to be more important to television networks than horse racing. I would rather see horse racing on a Saturday afternoon than college football.

 Thanks for the picture of Silver Charm. he's looking good. I was able to see him in person at Three Chimneys in 2003 when I visted there. He was very friendly and laid back. I just hope that when his stallion days are over the Japanese will let us acquire him back.

06 Nov 2008 1:01 PM
Alex

I disagree strongly about using celebrities. We need fans of horseracing not watching the beautiful people. Please show me live coverage of the horses from the saddling area to the race with expert analysis voiceover. No talking down the lingo for newbies, and no backstories interrupting. I became a fan of racing in 2004 because of TVG, and this is the method they use. It works!

06 Nov 2008 1:45 PM
aspradling

Definitely take a moment to thank Three Chimneys and not me for the photos of Silver Charm, I do appreciate the thanks though =)

As far as Celebrities and the BC, I did not mean to use the celebrities during BC coverage, but as hype and a draw to the Breeders' Cup.

I have worked many years in concert/show promotions and talent is a draw to the event. That would be a good angle to promote with and gain general public attention.

The point I am focusing on is gaining new viewers. I totally understand the more horses and less story, but that is for avid race fans, and I do love more horse as well. However, we need to reach beyond our walls and that is really the point I am trying to communicate, in how to do that well.

 If TVG can continue to cover the BC simultaneously, that is a win win, because the industry fan can watch TVG without all the extra story lines and see just horse and handicapping, as the major networks can insert the creative pieces.

I really appreciate your all's feedback!

06 Nov 2008 2:03 PM
Dreamer's Mom

I loved the stories about the horses and their connections.  I also agree with the celeb angle.  Get the pretty people there!  I bet more people buy People magazine every week than The Bloodhorse.  Not a slam by any means, but get the everyday folks involved.  When they become "industry" people, then go after more new fans and if Kurt Russell gets them there then thanks to Mr. Russell.

You can bet if my orphan filly makes it to the Oaks you will hear her story so many times it will make your ears bleed!  I will tell it until I am blue in the face and I hope it will bring newbies to the fold!

06 Nov 2008 6:18 PM
Bellwether

WE NEED A REAL PROMOTOR (V8) to get the EXPOSURE we so BADLY WANT...got to be a RACE HORSE OWNER WITH FLAIR & the GIFT TO GAB... Long Live Bellwether Productions!!!

07 Nov 2008 1:14 AM
Wanda

Thanks for the heads up on Silver Charm Adam. I  followed him from when he was sold as a yearling because people I know bought him as a baby and resold him as a 2 year old. We bred Larry's mother to Silver of Silver(Silver Buck) and got him. The TC races were exciting to watch, the two grays fighting to the finish all spring and then being beat in the Belmont. Thanks again for the imfo.

07 Nov 2008 10:07 AM
Vikki

Horse racing has its own celebrities.  Bring more exposure to our sport's stars.  Tell about the bush tracks in Louisiana and all the great riders that have come from those beginnings.  Tell the public how riders like Edgar Prado,  Rafael Bejarano and Alan Garcia got into the game and tell us about their journeys. Show us stories about the back side and all the daily activities that most people aren't aware of.  How could that not interest new fans?

07 Nov 2008 10:44 AM

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