Slotted for success

Stories toward the end of the year must be about where we go from here.

So I'd like to take a moment to introduce you to the future of horse racing.

It's a couple, a man and a woman.

He's a little heavy, a lot of that going around this time of the year. He's really upset about the Bailout Nation in which we live, particularly the automobile situation, during which the government is paying car companies to make more vehicles that nobody wants to buy, rent, or steal. Just look at Toyota, he says. Toyota just lost money for the first quarter in 70 years, making expensive cars you plug in next to the leaf blower. Here's when he will pay $25,000 for the unproven technology of an electric car: two weeks from never.

He is in business for himself and is caught up in bailout fever. Only he has to bail himself out. Here's the way you do that. You arbitrarily raise prices.

The woman smokes like it's going out of style.

She lights one cigarette from another.

After sitting 10 minutes next to some of the people who speak for horse racing across much of American, you might have to leave your sweatshirt on the front porch of your home, as the cigarette smoke can penetrate into the fiber of a fabric. I have heard it said that if you're in one of these places too long, your tongue can retain a smoky odor. Secondary smoke might be passed on later that night with a hug.

Would that the future of horse racing emanate from a bed of roses; would that the gaming public get its head out and attend the horse races in person on a regular basis, instead of frittering its discretionary and indiscreet money away on the mindlessness of team sports wagering.

But here's where they are: in a hurry.

And here's where we are: in a local casino.

Cuts from local and regional slot machine action enables average horses to race across the land for purses of $25,000, in front of crowds 120, including connections. Without slot machine revenue, some of the horses that help pay various rents would be strolling across dude ranches outside Jackson Hole, designer jeans preferred, and numerous tracks would close and horseplayers would have to learn Internet poker, sounds honest, doesn't it.

Perhaps you have caught sight of Steve Wynn's new Encore hotel and little slice of Dubai in Vegas. Given the state of the global economy, which is California-like, CEOs and conventioneers might need to do a perp-trot into anyplace plush. Local or regional Indian or horse track casinos should benefit when it comes to gambling costs on the fringe.

Striding through a casino that contributes to the thoroughbred industry, the horse player feels something like a stockholder. As such, here is a suggestion based on the time spent with the aforementioned couple, into whose lap our favorite sport and pastime has been placed: Let the slot machine players win a little more, all right?

The two people I watched playing dollar bills like they were GM stock certificates, which they almost were, seemed to have been shown an expensive display of dissimilar objects. Cherries weren't in season. Bars didn't match. Watching without seeming to, I estimated that in one hour, the woman lost about $150, the male half that. Before leaving, I bought them each drinks. The woman hit for $60, the man $300, and faster they played.

This isn't our industry's unspoken motto for nothing.

Spin baby spin.

Write to Jay at jaycronley@yahoo.com.