Looking for a pony payday

| Print |  Email
Archives - November 2008
Saturday, November 01, 2008

PortlandMeadows

PORTLAND It’s two minutes before post time for the first horse race of the season at Portland Meadows and the odds to win seem more favorable than betting on Wall Street.

Moments later the starting gate bell rings and the horses are off. It’s dreary outside on this early October day and rain has turned the track into a muddy slop. The horses stream past an odds scoreboard that resembles a stock exchange ticker.

The business of horse racing isn’t just rough in a bad economy; the Meadows, Oregon’s only racetrack, has to compete against the state lottery and Indian casinos for gambling dollars. On the opening day of the 2008-2009 season, while 401(k) plans were losing value and the unemployment rate was rising, racing managers were keeping their expectations modest.

“We just wanted the day to go off without a hitch,” says William Alempijevic, the track’s GM. Admission is free so the track gauges turnout by beer sales, the number of cars in the parking lot and how many racing programs are sold.

More important is the size of the day’s handle, industry jargon for how much money is wagered. On this day, the handle is just over $150,000, a 5% increase from last year’s opening day. But the kicker is that most of that amount is from out-of-state satellite wagering facilities, not from gamblers at the track. At-track betting was down 12% from last year, while out-of-state betting increased 18%.

Bets from outside of Oregon are precisely what Alempijevic hopes will keep the track in business, because horses run live there on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday in the winter when other tracks around the country traditionally are closed.

So far it’s worked since the new schedule was adopted three years ago. But the overall horse-racing industry is down about 5% this year, a dip Alempijevic blames partly on the economic crisis.

Betting on horses, like betting on stocks, can be a costly game. But in down times one looks for any sign of hope. In the fourth race a young Oregon-bred named Mystacallie, declared by the announcer as the “people’s horse,” won.

Just then, the rain let up a bit.

JASON SHUFFLER


Have an opinion? E-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

 

More Articles

Department of Self-Promotion

Linda Baker
Wednesday, June 17, 2015

061715-awards1Oregon Business wins journalism awards.


Read more...

Oregon businesses face destruction from future earthquake

The Latest
Wednesday, May 20, 2015
htctthumb1BY KIM MOORE | RESEARCH EDITOR

An earthquake would completely destroy many Oregon businesses, highlighting the urgent need for the private and public sectors to collaborate on shoring up disaster preparedness, said panelists at an Oregon Business breakfast summit today.


Read more...

No Boundaries

June 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN

Floor plans embrace the great wide open.


Read more...

Up in the Air

June 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY ANNIE ELLISON

Portland tech veteran Ben Berry is leaving his post as Portland’s chief technology officer for a full-time role producing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) aimed at first responders and the military. Berry’s AirShip Technologies Group is poised to be on the ground floor of an industry that will supply drones to as many as 100,000 police, fire and emergency agencies nationwide. He reveals the plan for takeoff.


Read more...

Apartment Mania

Guest Blog
Thursday, June 18, 2015
4805983977 11466ce1d6 zBY BRAD HOULE | CFA

While most categories of commercial real estate have performed well, one of the most robust has been apartment buildings.


Read more...

Green workplace 2.0

Linda Baker
Thursday, May 28, 2015
IMG 2808BY LINDA BAKER | EDITOR

Reinventing capitalism. Office dumpster divers. Handprints versus carbon footprints.


Read more...

5 things to know about veterans in the workforce

The Latest
Wednesday, July 01, 2015
070215-vetsthumbBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

There are more than 10 million former military members working in the United States.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS