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Those of you with ideas for improving Monmouth Park's contest offering for 2012 might best be served calling the track directly or approaching Sophia at SSC2, scheduled for Saturday, February 18, but feel free to continue the discussion in the comments field below. There are people in the industry eager for customers' opinions on how to improve the contest product.
Some self-serving thoughts I shared with Sophia:
- Keep the entry fees within the $100-$200 range
- Avoid scheduling NHC-based contests on holidays (i.e. one on a past Father's Day comes to mind, where contest participation - if I recall - did not come close to matching the 250-300 for 2010's SSC events); perhaps holiday-based contests could reward seats to the less-seductive Horseplayer World Series
- Be more discriminating/selective about handicapping contest partnerships with other tracks.
On the latter, I recall a summer 2010 contest featuring races from Monmouth, Canterbury and Emerald Downs where only 207 contestants entered between the three tracks. In my view, during that sweet spot of the thoroughbred season, contest players are more selective about which contests to enter and which races will comprise a particular contest format; the aforementioned tracks featured extremely lackluster 5- to 7-horse fields of indistinguishable claimer-type races. Running some handicapping contests around, say, the Triple Crown races or Breeders Cup may boost on-track handicapping contest participation.
We'll see whether any of these suggestions prove valuable to Sophia and company and/or fit within Monmouth Park's presumably constrained budget and business model for the 2012 meeting, or whether they even jive with the broader populace of NHC Tour players. Again, feel free to weigh in with your opinions.