Sunday, June 17, 2018
Thorotrends Thoroughbred Racing Survey: Your Topline Results

Thank you to each and every Thoroughbred horse racing enthusiast who took the time to participate in our survey. The online survey began Thursday, February 24, and was open for five days, closing February 28. In the end nearly 500 highly engaged fans, horseplayers, owners, breeders, and others shared their views and opinions by answering most of the questions.

How did we find qualified respondents and solicit their participation? Various methods were used:
  • There was a link to the survey here on
  • We tweeted the survey link to our followers on Twitter, and others retweeted our tweet.
  • The link was seeded in popular discussion forums at both and
  • The horseplayers advocacy group, Horseplayers Association of North America, added a link to the survey to their blog.
  • And the link was promoted in various effective ways on Facebook.
  • Lastly, participants shared the survey link with others via email and other methods.

In short, online Thoroughbred racing enthusiasts were strategically targeted with news of the survey and how to participate. All quite unscientific -- a convenience sample of self-selected respondents. But we'll take it, and caution all those who consume the research results that the numbers cannot be generalized to the overall population of Thoroughbred racing enthusiasts, or even those on the internet. On the other hand, the numbers cannot and should not be summarily dismissed either.

Almost as an afterthought I added an open-ended question at the end of the questionnaire - "Is there anything else you wish to share?" I've barely scanned the nearly 200 lengthy, thoughtful responses. But I will carefully read each and every answer -- and give industry leaders the opportunity to do the same.

In the interest of releasing some high-level results quickly, basic charts will follow with little commentary. The really interesting findings will require more time and drilling down into the data, some slicing and dicing. I look forward to sharing those insights with you. Until then consider the following. Just click on the charts to zoom in.

Everyone is interested in Thoroughbred racing. They wouldn't have qualified for the survey otherwise. I'll have to calculate the percentage interested in ANY of the other listed sports. And I still think NFL fans represent a target market for racing, but that's just me.


They really are "enthusiasts". I actually expected far more defection to other sports in this question. And maybe there could be a seasonality effect as well. Might the results be different if this survey was done during football season?

Looks to be a useful cross-section. We'll have to speculate why some do not consider themselves "fans". I know more than a few horseplayers who would bristle at being labeled a "fan". The "other" category is populated with a fascinating mix of equine vets, jockey agents, horse rescue and rehoming professionals, and many others.

From a betting standpoint, might the ladder of involvement look something like this? Not in terms of betting handle of course, but as far as a head count goes?

Nearly 4 in 5 respondents have been involved for more than 10 years. Still, here is at least some evidence that "new" fans aren't completely unheard of.

This is my favorite question. We'll focus on this one in the future in great detail since I think it may provide rich insights. The "other" responses are plentiful and I need to break them out. The way males answered this compared to females is night and day. What jumps out at you?

The ever-increasing reach of Facebook.

It sure seems like Twitter is buzzing with racing tweets and tweeters, but there's plenty of room for growth.

A fundamental, key metric here. It will be interesting to cut the data different ways and identify meaningful differences in satisfaction. Not the prettiest of pictures.

This is the ranking of issues importance question with 1 being most important. There is a lot that needs to be said about this one. For now, there it is. Surprised?

Again, a cursory sentence or two is inadequate. Despite the many problems surrounding racing, including customer service, enthusiasts are more likely than not to recommend the racetrack experience to others.

boycottbybettorThe results for the bettor's boycott questions are best illustrated in a tabulation by bettor typology. These measures are highly correlated with volume of betting.


Education. Yawn. We've been down this road before.

Looks about right. Maybe even younger than you might have guessed?

Hope that you found these results highlights to be interesting. And check back again for the explanation and results of several special analyses that I have planned, as well as comprehensive data tables. Thanks again for sharing your opinions.