TrackNet blackout could’ve been averted

Hallelujah! After three weeks, the TrackNet blackout is over. As soon as today, we could be back betting and watching Santa Anita, and four other tracks, in the race books of Nevada.

What got me annoyed was this blackout of TrackNet tracks didn’t have to happen. It was an attempt to draw blood out of a turnip.

I’ve said this many times: I wish the parties in racing could spend as much time and money creating new fans as they do fighting over a shrinking revenue pie. If you create more new fans, the money will follow in betting and in horse ownership.

The recent inconveniences have been major to Nevada horseplayers. Hopefully, life in the race books as we know it should remain about the same.

There might be some tweaking because the race books’ cost of doing business will go up. However, Las Vegas is a super-competitive market. A horseplayer’s allegiance is tied to how well he or she is treated.

Racing can win because no entity presents horse race simulcasts in as nice of surroundings as Las Vegas. If we were perceived as partners and not adversaries, then a lot of good might come out of this.

ROAD TO THE ROSES — The free Internet game Road to the Roses, sponsored by Churchill Downs, starts this weekend.

To sign up and play, go to roadtotheroses.com. First prize is two tickets to the 2010 Kentucky Derby and Oaks, free round-trip air fare and hotel, plus other additional gifts.

You get to pick a 10-horse stable, two jockeys and two trainers. Scoring is based on how well your team of horses and humans does in Derby prep races.

I won the RTTR Pros category in 2007. So here is my Vegas Baby Vegas Stable: Capt. Candyman Can, Danger to Society, Friesan Fire, Giant Oak, Haynesfield, Mr. Fantasy, Old Fashioned, Patena, Pioneer of the Nile and The Pamplemousse. I picked jockeys Edgar Prado and Gabriel Saez and trainers Richard Dutrow and Larry Jones.

This weekend also is Pool One of the pari-mutuel Kentucky Derby Future Wager. The KDFW is made up of 23 horses and the field, which typically is favored in Pool One. In Nevada, we have the advantage of price shopping among the KDFW and our local Derby future books.

RACE BOOK NOTES — The Orleans race book will host two one-day qualifiers today and Saturday for next week’s Horseplayer World Series. … The Las Vegas Hilton has restarted its popular Super Book Saturdays handicapping contest. … And congratulations to Tony Nevill, who next week will take over as race and sports book manager at Treasure Island.

Richard Eng’s horse racing column is published Friday in the Las Vegas Review-Journal. He can be reached at rich_eng@hotmail.com.

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