Horseplayers don’t need much. But a little friendliness and appreciation would be a nice touch every once in a while, a prominent horseplayer told a room full of horse racing’s elite Monday night at the Eclipse Awards ceremony.
Las Vegan Richard Goodall, 65, told track operators to view bettors as their customers and to do a better job of acknowledging them.
Goodall, who won the 2008 Handicapper of the Year Award at Monday’s Eclipse Awards ceremony, was speaking to the top level of horse racing’s owners, trainers and jockeys. But it was the track managers in attendance in Miami Beach that Goodall seemed to be focused on.
Goodall told the story about his tremendous experience while winning the 2008 NTRA/DRF National Horse Racing Championship at Red Rock Station in Las Vegas. The Red Rock Station staff, he said, made him feel welcome by chatting with him and smiling a lot throughout the event.
Race track operators should greet bettors in the grandstand, Goodall said, and encourage their employees to be more outgoing and friendly. Track managers should also concentrate on important little things that keep customers coming back, he added.
“Make sure the pizza is hot and the beer is cold,” Goodall said.
Goodall also made a plea to Congress to repeal the federal tax on winnings that pay more than 300-to-1 and total more than $600. He called the law outdated from the days when gambling was a sin. Then he argued that the extra money in people’s pockets would help boost the economy because people would use the cash to buy things like automobiles.
The following is the complete list of the 2008 Eclipse Award winners:
Horse of the Year: Curlin.
Two-Year-Old Male: Midshipman.
Two-Year-Old Filly: Stardom Bound.
Three-Year-Old Male: Big Brown.
Three-Year-Old Filly: Proud Spell.
Older Male: Curlin.
Older Female: Zenyatta.
Male Sprinter: Benny the Bull.
Female Sprinter: Indian Blessing.
Male Turf Horse: Conduit.
Female Turf Horse: Forever Together.
Steeplechase Horse: Good Night Shirt.
Owner: Stronach Stables.
Breeder: Adena Springs.
Trainer: Steve Asmussen.
Jockey: Garrett Gomez.
Apprentice Jockey: Pascacio Lopez.
The Eclipse Awards are presented by the NTRA, the National Turf Writers Association and Daily Racing Form in recognition of excellence in Thoroughbred racing.