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TDN op/ed

Welcome to the TDN Op Ed page, where a selected stable of writers will, from time to time, offer their opinion and perspective on matters concerning the racing industry. The viewpoints expressed herein are not necessarily those of the management, but promise to represent what we consider to be responsible comment.

Comments? Please respond to TDN management at

Fred A. Pope is the president of The Pope Advertising Agency, a Lexington, Kentucky award-winning firm that has specialized in the Thoroughbred industry the past 25 years. Fred's agency handled the start-up of the Kentucky Horse Park and The Breeders' Cup. In the early 1990's Fred created the National Thoroughbred Association (NTA), a major league for the sport of Thoroughbred racing. He is a frequent contributor to horse publications on matters of marketing for Thoroughbred racing.

  • 3/30/2012 - PROTECTING THE BREED

    This is a tough time for Oliver Wills. He can't sleep. His annual review is approaching and he will be asked to grade his own job performance last year, then to present his plan for the next two to five years. — (click here to read the entire article)


    The decision by TOBA's American Graded Stakes Committee (AGSC) to withdraw the ban on medication in this year's 2-year-old graded stakes races was a crushing blow to the industry and the organization's members. — (click here to read the entire article)


    Tomorrow starts the Masters golf tournament. Millions of people will watch this great show and then go out and increase their participation in golf. The Masters is the premier event in the structure of golf. When it started, there was no PGA Tour, just a bunch of golfers being jerked from one event to the next, kind of like racehorse owners today. When the major league PGA Tour was established, they decided the Masters, The PGA and the U.S. Open should remain separate, distinct events. In the Masters, the players' strategy on the course and greens at Augusta is just about as important as their ball-striking ability. — (click here to read the entire article)


    Don't you just hate politics? Seems like politics creeps into everything today. Banks, real estate, autos, you name it and politics is now involved. The Kentucky horse industry has thrust itself into politics in pursuit of slots at the tracks. For those of you outside Kentucky, adding slots at the tracks might seem a no-brainer for the center of the Thoroughbred industry. But politics in Kentucky, like everywhere, is complicated. My ad agency used to do political campaigns in Kentucky, including an amendment to the state constitution. During such campaigns, you gain insight into what Kentuckians value and hold dear. — (click here to read the entire article)


    When assigned a marketing project, you gather all the facts and then write a situation analysis. If you are good at it, the analysis gives an accurate picture of where things stand on four key items--the product, price, distribution and marketing communications. In a TDN Op/Ed piece on July 18, I addressed the distribution and pricing of racing and concluded it was upside down. This time, let's look at the basis issue--the racing product. — (click here to read the entire article)


    In 1978, the Interstate Horseracing Act (IHA) became law. It legalized wagering across state lines. This gift of distribution could have taken Thoroughbred racing to a level unimaginable today; however, there was a catch. Racing would get nationwide expansion of its monopoly on legal wagering, BUT the law would take away control of its product and distribution by empowering the weakest segment of racing with "approval.” It was a curse. — (click here to read the entire article)

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