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Press Releases

Horseplayer Boycott of Keeneland (October 5, 2017)

Barry Meadow and Nick Mordin Join HANA's Advisory Board

Executives Hear Horseplayer Concern from HANA

Cary Fotias and Dr. William Ziemba Join HANA's Advisory Board

HANA Announces Incorporation, Appoints Officers



(Charlottesville, Virginia October 5, 2017): HANA and have jointly announced that a horseplayer boycott of Keeneland is underway, citing an increase in takeout despite a revenue windfall from Historical Racing machines located at The Red Mile as reasons for the boycott.

"Keeneland decided to hit horseplayers with a takeout increase," HANA President and spokesman Jeff Platt said. "Keeneland claims they are going to use money raised by the takeout increase to boost purses. But higher takeout in the name of bigger purses has been tried before and it has failed, big time."

Platt cited past takeout increases as examples:

"For the first 6 months immediately following the takeout increase at Los Alamitos in 2010 on track handle was down 27%.

Horseplayers boycotted Santa Anita and Golden Gate in the early months of 2011 as a result of takeout increases there. Instead of bigger purses the result was purse cuts and layoffs. In October, 2011 the local paper in Arcadia, CA where Santa Anita is located reported Santa Anita was cutting one third of its staff.

Churchill had a takeout increase for their spring 2014 meet. Handle fell by 25% outside of the Derby and Maggi Moss reported on her Twitter account that Churchill had quietly announced a 20% purse cut for their fall 2014 meet.

"None of this would have happened if higher takeout was the answer. Keeneland is doubling down on the same bad idea."

Platt also mentioned that he reached out to Keeneland management beforehand:

"I reached out to Bob Elliston of Keeneland and we had a 90 minute phone call. We discussed the actual outcomes that arose from the above takeout increases. But it became obvious that Keeneland believes players would support a takeout increase because money raised by the takeout increase would be going to bigger purses. I did my best to make it clear that takeout increases lead to the opposite of bigger purses. In the end we agreed to disagree."

Beginning Friday October 6, 2017: Takeout for WIN-PLACE-SHOW wagers at Keeneland will be 17.50%. (An increase of 9.375% vs. last meet's takeout rate of 16.00%.) Takeout for all EXOTIC wagers at Keeneland except the pick5 will be 22.00%. (An increase of 15.79% vs. last meet's takeout rate of 19.00%.)

HANA and are asking horseplayers to consider the idea that horseplayers are consumers and that every handle dollar bet at Keeneland is a vote for higher takeout everywhere.

HANA and are asking horseplayers to send a clear message by not betting one track, Keeneland, for one month, October 2017. That’s it.

Platt finished with the following message to horseplayers:

"Join us. Together we can convince Keeneland to reverse their decision."



(Charlottesville, Virginia November 12, 2008): The Horseplayers Association of North America (HANA) is pleased to announce that horseplayers Barry Meadow and Nick Mordin have joined HANA in an advisory board role. The HANA Advisory board is currently made up of Cary Fotias and Dr. William Ziemba. The advisory board oversees HANA’s general goals and planks, and provides feedback and direction to its management team.

It has been a centerpiece of HANA that our members should ideally be horseplayers - the lifeblood of the sports revenue - and Barry Meadow fits the bill. Barry has been a horseplayer, author and gambler for well over 30 years. His book “Money Secrets at the Racetrack” is considered a racing bible for money management. His work in harness racing with “Professional Harness Betting” is widely considered the most comprehensive look at that sport. In addition to being an every day player, Barry writes a column on betting for American Turf Monthly and has had his work published in Sports Illustrated. Barry is also a proponent in reaching a new audience via alternative betting outlets like betting exchanges. Barry’s work can be seen at

Also a player first is Nick Mordin. He is the international racing correspondent to The Racing Post Weekender. His articles also appear in racing publications around the world. He has appeared on radio and TV and produced a documentary on betting for Channel 4 in England. Nick has written four books on the subject of horseracing. One of them, "Betting for a Living", is the best selling book ever on handicapping and betting in the U.K. His greatest acclaim comes from his research into Racing Systems. He can fairly be said to have altered the way horse races are analyzed in Great Britain. His speed ratings and analyses of Grade 1 and Group 1 races can be found at

HANA is very happy to welcome aboard two more horseplayers who live and breathe racing. They will be a tremendous asset to the ever-growing HANA membership.

Executives Hear Horseplayer Concern from HANA



(Charlottesville, Virginia. November 9, 2008): The Horseplayers Association of North America, through its President Jeff Platt, called for an immediate end to the Advance Deposit Wagering dispute between tracks, horsemen and ADW companies. In addition, HANA has been in direct contact with the parties to ensure that the horseplayer’s concerns are heard.

In speaking with Ryan Conley of the Bloodhorse, Jeff stated "They [horseplayers] are very frustrated, and discouraged; some are outraged, that the signals aren’t going out. The level of frustration is an eye-opener to us. And a lot of players are telling me they are going to play something else."

"You don’t walk into a casino and have someone tell you the craps tables are closed, or the blackjack dealers are on strike," Platt said. "Racing is making it difficult on its players. Players are leaving the game. They are spending their money elsewhere. And many of them are not coming back."

In a previous open letter to the Industry, HANA stated the following:

"Racing is at a crossroads. Thoroughbred handle is down nearly everywhere. That in itself should be your wake up call. Track management, horsemen's groups, and ADWs - ALL of you should be working together - doing everything within your power to grow handle by bringing new fans to the game.

Instead you have done just the opposite.

This is exactly the kind of mess the industry doesn't need at a time when the last thing the industry needs is any kind of mess at all.

I implore you to put aside your differences. End this now - before you do the game more damage than you already have."

Platt has been working the phones on behalf of horseplayers, the ones who have been lost in this stalemate. "It's been a busy week. I've burned a ton of cell phone minutes talking to all sides involved in the signal wars - track executives, horsemen, ADW operators, and yes - customers."

Jeff was impressed with Chairman Jack Liebau: "Here is a track executive that really does understand the short-sightedness of the signal wars and how it impacts the customer. He understands that players not only have the option to spend their money elsewhere but are actively doing so."

Jeff is hopeful that a deal can be struck soon. "From my conversations I pressed the issue and received good feedback. It seems everyone realizes this fight does no one any good. Although horseplayers fund the sport, they are rarely represented in these issues. We are determined to give players a seat at the table and be heard.”

HANA will keep members and the media updated when further information becomes available.

Horseplayers Association of North America (HANA) Announces Cary Fotias and Dr. William Ziemba Join HANA's Advisory Board


(October 3, 2008. Charlottesville, Virginia) The Horseplayers Association of North America is pleased to announce that Cary Fotias and Dr. William Ziemba have joined HANA's Advisory Board as its first two members.

Mr. Fotias spent almost a decade on Wall Street as a currency trader, but was lured to racing and fulfilled a dream of becoming a full time handicapper and has done so for the last 16 years. He is currently the Founder and President of Equiform, a New York City firm that produces The XTRAS and The SHORTS, which are handicapping products for evaluating current condition and form cycles. He is also the author of the critically acclaimed handicapping book, Blinkers Off, which describes an innovative numerical approach to form-cycle analysis.

His philosophy meshes well with HANA's goals as he is a vocal proponent of lower takeouts and delivering our product in a better way. In addition he has a strong interest in the cutting-edge concept of betting exchanges and how they might be developed in the U.S. He feels the game would prosper if it would only adapt to the economic and technological realities of the information age.

Dr. William T. Ziemba is the Alumni Professor of Financial Modeling and Stochastic Optimization, Emeritus in the Sauder School of Business, University of British Columbia where he taught from 1968 to 2004. He now teaches as a visiting professor. To horseplayers however, he is best known for co-writing the book "Dr. Z's Beat the Racetrack" which revolutionized the way that horseplayers wagered. He has also co-written a new book titled "Handbook of Sports and Lottery Investments".

"Seeing that membership has been growing rapidly, we feel that an advisory board was a good next step for our group," said HANA President Jeff Platt, "and we are thrilled that Dr. Z and Cary have chosen to join us."

HANA's Advisory Board is being assembled to offer input to HANA members and to act as a sounding board for its direction and mission. It will be adding new members in the near future.

Horseplayers Association of North America (HANA) Announces Incorporation, Appoints Officers


(September 21, 2008. Charlottesville, Virginia) The Horseplayers Association of North America (HANA) is pleased to announce that it has been incorporated as a Virginia non-stock corporation with the goal of obtaining 501(c) status as a non-profit organization with the Internal Revenue Service.

HANA believes that this is an important first step in becoming a force to help grow the sport of horse racing.

HANA would also like to announce that they have elected their Officers.

Jeff Platt has been elected President. Jeff, a computer programmer by trade, has been a horseplayer since 1981. In addition, he is the owner, operator and creator of JCapper, a popular thoroughbred handicapping software.

John Swetye has been named Vice President. John is a business professional, long time horseplayer and one of HANA’s founders. The Treasurer is Theresia Muller, CPA, CFP, who is an investment professional, avid horseplayer, horse owner and thoroughbred racing forum owner. Finally, Dean Towers of Toronto will add international flavor to HANA as its Secretary. Dean is a marketing professional, a horseplayer; and like Theresia, a horse owner.

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Who are we and what do we want?

H.A.N.A. is a grass roots Non Profit organization made up of horseplayers just like you. Simply put, we are not happy with track management and horsemen's groups. We are less than thrilled with what they are doing to the game that we love.

Instead of promoting awareness of the sport and growing handle they have become bogged down with industry infighting and have completely forgotten something: The importance of the customer.

We are tired of the signal wars, exclusive ADW deals, excessive takeouts, breakage, trainers who are rewarded for cheating, an obsolete tote system, and an attitude that smacks of entitlement.

We want open access to all track signals for all ADWs, takeouts that are competitive with other forms of gambling, the abolishment of breakage, severe penalties for trainers who cheat, and odds updates in real time. But most of all we want those who run racing to recognize us. The player matters. The player is a stakeholder too. Without money bet by us players the game would cease to exist.

We can effect change. We can bring racing back to the prominence it once held in people's hearts on a national level. But it won't be easy and it won't come overnight. It's going to take vision, committment, and effort. But change IS possible... IF we band together in numbers.

We are an independent grass roots player's organization that desires change.

Won't you join us?

We're on a mission. Won't you join us?

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(membership is free)
Where The Game Is Broken:
  • Public Awareness and Perception
  • Pool Integrity
  • Odds Updates in Real Time
  • Drugs and Cheating
  • Excessive Takeouts
  • Making it tough to get Rebates
  • Breakage
  • Distribution Of Signals and Account Deposit Wagering
  • Open Access to Past Performance and Results Data
  • Open Access to Live Track Video and Race Replays
  • Parking, Admission, and Concession Prices
  • Racing Surfaces
  • Avg Field Size on the Decline
  • Arizona's Racing Law
  • Taxation
  • Transparency and Full Disclosure
  • Scratches and Changes

Awareness - There is a gap between those running the horseracing industry and the customer. This gap has been widening for decades. But track management and horsemen's associations continue to act as if no problem exists at all. An alienated customer base, stagnation of handle growth, and a faltering industry is the result.

They haven't listened to the individual horseplayer. Ever. But they will listen to horseplayers in numbers. Together we can accomplish that first step: We can make them aware.

Promoting Handle Growth - Every form of gambling except horseracing has enjoyed explosive growth in the past two decades. Instead of growing while other forms of gambling have prospered, horseracing handle has actually stagnated. Why? Handle stagnation is the direct result of an industry whose management continually fails to listen to and address the needs of its customers.

Handle is the one thing that drives the industry. Increased handle means more revenue for race tracks. It means more money that can be distributed back to horsemen in the form of purses. It should be obvious to track management and horsemen that there's just one thing and one thing only they should be focusing on: promoting handle growth. But they haven't done that. Instead they manage to operate the industry in a way that prevents handle growth instead of promoting it.

Frankly, this hurts racing and we at H.A.N.A. have had enough.

By banding together in numbers we can finally get industry management to listen to and address customers needs and wants. That will only lead to one thing: Handle Growth. And when that happens everybody wins.

Copyright © 2008 Horseplayers Association of North America