VaHorseRacingNews.com has halted publication effective today, February 26, 2014. The website created and edited by former Virginia Thoroughbred Association Executive Director Glenn Petty was first published on July 2, 2013 not long after Petty was surprisingly fired after 30 years of involvement in the Commonwealth’s Thoroughbred industry.
“I started the new web page because I thought there was a niche and I had the expertise and a perspective to offer which was unique. I wanted to remain relevant and have a platform to simply report the news without any particular agenda,” Petty said. “I think VaHorseRacingNews.com accomplished that I’m proud of the product and the fair, unbiased presentation.”
Petty sighted the ongoing decline of the industry and the lack of potential readers for halting the web site’s publication. “While readership of VaHorseracingNews.com eclipsed that of its predecessor – the VTA Blog – the total reads didn’t justify the effort.”
“The industry is mired in a pattern of deep decline. The foal crop is down below 250 and we don’t yet have a horsemen’s purse contract,” Petty said. “There is nothing apparent on the horizon that will create meaningful change or real solutions to the problems that face the industry locally, regionally or nationally. There just isn’t a very big audience anymore and ever dwindling participants and nobody seems to know how to change that,” he continued.
“Sadly, mainstream Americans are no longer racing fans for a variety of reasons, and the cultural and political roadblocks here in Virginia have unfortunately grown more entrenched. I don’t see the stakeholders offering viable potential long- or short-term solutions. Even the Virginia Derby is getting squeezed by competition.”
“Unfortunately, the Virginia Racing Commission (VRC) can’t control the political environment nor can they control Colonial Downs or the VHBPA, so in many ways their hands are somewhat tied,” continued Petty.
“Virginia is a great place to raise racehorses, but the financial rewards in other states make horse ownership there a more attractive proposition. The economic incentives and racing days in Virginia can’t compete with even our nearest competitors in Maryland, West Virginia and Pennsylvania. In the end, total handle, live racing days, purses and Breeders Fund dollars fuel the industry,” he said.
There are no known plans to restart the publication of VaHorseRacingNews.com in the near future.