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Monday, March 21, 2011

ThoroFan Making Some Noise in NY

As many of you know, I'm involved with the Thoroughbred Racing Fan Association, Inc. (aka ThoroFan) as both a Board Member and the TBA liaison for the weekly edition of their Handicappers' Corner.

The Chairman of the not-for-profit 501(c)(3) group was recently invited to present at the March 8th meeting of NYS Senate Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee hearing. The group's motto is "The Voice of the Fan," and based on recent happenings, it appears that it is making inroads, at least in New York State, for having a seat at the table. Earlier this month the aforementioned Senate Committee unanimously passed three amendments to the New York State Racing, Pari-Mutuel Wagering and Breeding Law (S3759-2011).

The bill has three major components that amends current law all initiatives pushed by ThoroFan:

1) Establish a fan advisory board
2) Establish an annual Horse Racing Farm Award and
3) Establish an "I Love NY Racing" Marketing Campaign

This bill has the potential to be landmark legislation for horse racing and one that will likely be replicated across the country. If the bill gets through the NYS Assembly and is signed into law by Governor Cuomo, New York would be the first state to statutorily allow fans an opportunity to advise the regulators of their sport on issues important to them.

The group is asking NYS residents to write to their Assemblyperson in favor of the bill. A sample letter and instructions from ThoroFan can be found here. Even if you do not live in New York, we would encourage you to send the letter, especially if you enjoy the Saratoga Race Course in the summer, Belmont in the spring/fall and well, even Aqueduct in the winter if you're really a true fan. It only took me about 10 minutes today to email and fax the letter to Assemblyman Hoyt.

What I find the most encouraging by the bill is the Marketing Campaign. The I Love NY marketing campaign is by far and away one of the most successful campaigns ever. Imagine the traction that the tracks could gather with a focused campaign bringing back the creative slogan and logo and adding RACING to it? This would not only benefit the NYRA tracks, but the harness tracks across the state, so I would implore those marketing directors to jump on the band wagon also.

Michael Amo, ThoroFan chairman, was on "Down The Stretch" with Dave Johnson and Bill Finley on Sirius Radio on Saturday and discussed the bill and potential impacts it can have in the future. Take a listen. For once we're not just throwing ideas out there, we actually did something concrete. If you can spare a few minutes for the sport you love, please write a letter of support.



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