Hats off to Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI). They are geniuses at making money, the kings of gambling in the horse racing world.
All the while, the horse racing industry in the U.S. continues to be scrutinized for doping, maiming and killing its athletes for which there doesn’t appear to be any sort of remedy for except to shut it all down.
We believe CDI, in possible anticipation of the above has a plan, and that is to eliminate most of live horse racing and replacing it with historic racing, also called instant racing. Heard of it yet? Here’s a quick explanation. Historic or instant racing is is an electronic gambling system that allows players to bet on replays of horse races (or dog races) that have already been run.
First Saturday in May
The Kentucky Derby will not run the first Saturday in May this year; it will run the first Saturday in September instead. We now have a novel replacement for the original May date.
CDI have come up with an idea which is more genius on their part — betting on “historical” horses who have already run — a reinvented Kentucky Derby race run “virtually” among the 13 Triple Crown winners.
Peter Amsel on calvinayre.com describes it for us:
The Kentucky Derby may have been postponed due to COVID-19 but a virtual all-star version of the race will take its spot on the calendar to raise funds for the state’s pandemic relief efforts.
CDI is taking a page out of the UK’s Grand National, which was supposed to take place in early April but was cancelled due to COVID-19. For three years, Inspired had run a Virtual Grand National prior to the real deal as a teaser but the virtual race took the spotlight this year, raising £2.6m for charity and attracting six times its normal TV audience.
The Triple Crown Showdown will air on NBC on May 2 and, starting April 30, race fans can log on to KentuckyDerby.com to make their pick for the virtual winner. Participants will be encouraged to make a donation to COVID-19 relief efforts and CDI has pledged to match these donations up to $1m.
So what do you think? Will you be watching?