Quiet at Thunder Ridge
June 11, 2013 7:14 AM   Subscribe

Horse (particularly harness) racing is often accused of being a dying sport, and if that's the case then Bill Finley attended a funeral at Thunder Ridge Raceway in (near?) Prestonsburg, Kentucky. Even if horse racing isn't your bag, though, a worthwhile read for those interested in a night in the life of an entertainment venue on the border of Johnson & Floyd Counties (combined population ~70k). It's not the middle of nowhere, but it's not where you'd expect to find a gambling venue either.
posted by EJXD2 (6 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
PDF warning for first link.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 7:22 AM on June 11, 2013

Yeah, unfortunately there's no other version of this available. Is .pdf warning proper etiquette here? Thanks for the tip.
posted by EJXD2 at 7:26 AM on June 11, 2013

Yeah, just put [PDF] or something next to the link. This article is GREAT, by the way.

They won’t go out with a bang. They won’t even go out with a whimper. Here, at Thunder Ridge, the least successful racetrack there ever was or ever will be, they will just go out. Someone will turn out the lights, a bunch of birds will defecate on the premises and the weeds will get a wee bit higher. You can’t die if you were never alive.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 7:28 AM on June 11, 2013

That article is amazing!
posted by Jahaza at 8:08 AM on June 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

Related and depressing.

Breakdown: Death and disarray at America’s racetracks.

A state-by-state survey by The Times shows that about 3,600 horses died racing or training at state-regulated tracks over the last three years.

In one 13-day stretch of racing in 2010 at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino in New Mexico, nine horses died racing, five were hauled away in ambulances and two jockeys were hospitalized, one in critical condition.

posted by emjaybee at 9:35 AM on June 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

Yeah, that was a great article -- thanks for posting that. IIRC, the vig in parimutuel wagering is typically quite large -- I remember reading that 17% was a typical vig, but that's just a recollection and I could be off by a bunch. But it's still a hefty price for not terribly great action. In the freakishly small-action situation described, it seems like it would be easy to exploit some of the weaknesses of parimutuel wagering, as the author describes. Except that you're literally playing for pennies, so...meh. But it was interesting to read about this dying track's last days.
posted by mosk at 1:32 PM on June 11, 2013

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