We think this is marketing genius on the part of Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI), and perhaps, virtually, the future of horse racing in the US.
Think about it. Virtual horse racing would mean zero overbreeding, racing two year olds, those horrific claiming races, cheating, doping, cruelty and traumatic breakdowns; no more racehorses killed on the racetrack, no more killed in the slaughterhouse. Gamblers could gamble to their heart’s content and hurt nothing more than the content of their wallets. CDI et al would still make their millions with none of the hugely damaging mess that goes with live horse racing as it is run today in America. What a concept.
The virtual horse race they put on Saturday among all the Triple Crown winners in our view was CDI testing the waters on a big stage. We have been trying to find how much the handle (or amount bet) was* because profits are king; profits are everything, and the only way virtual racing will become a reality. So, what do you think? Is this the future of horse racing? Watch the replay.
Insofar as the horses themselves, we do not believe it will be, nor do we wish it to be, the demise of the Thoroughbred.
*There was no legalized gambling on this race.
Featured Image: WDRB, Fox Ch.41, Louisville, Kentucky.