The Herald Bulletin

March 26, 2014

Rick Teverbaugh: Turning Twitter into tip sheet

The Herald Bulletin

---- — As if there weren't already enough uses for Twitter, now Hoosier Park is getting into the act.

On Wednesday there was a luncheon held at the Anderson track for drivers and trainers with the primary purpose being to introduce and educate those people in the fine art of the tweet.

Hoosier Park opens its standardbred racing season on Friday evening with a new first post time of 5:15 p.m.

If the encouragement by Hoosier Park is successful, patrons of the track will be able to get some inside information about the horses who are in races that evening by the people who know those horses the best — the trainers and drivers.

"Social media is the way the world communicates now," said Rick Moore, General Manager of Racing at the track. "If we don't ride this new wave, we will be asking 'What just blew by us?' But this won't work if you guys and gals don't participate."

What Hoosier Park is hoping will happen is that these horsemen will tweet information about their horses. Included in that information would be how the horse worked out that day, how the training is going, how much confidence they have in the horse given the competition in a particular race. That information could be a lot more dependable and a lot more current coming from the drivers and trainers than from tip sheets printed from handicappers.

The track has even spent a considerable amount of money to be able to put some of those tweets up on the screens during live racing, not only at Hoosier Park but also for those tracks carrying Anderson's simulcast signal.

"I have never been so confident that this is what we need to do," said Moore, who admitted to needing help as recently as a year ago with the ins and outs of Twitter.

The biggest hurdle is getting the horsemen to buy into the idea. Many of these people are part of families with a deep-rooted history in the sport. A lot of the methods for being successful in this sport are handed down from generation to generation. That passage doesn't include social media.

Hoosier Park tried to give the horsemen a gentle nudge in the right direction Wednesday. There was a Power Point demonstration as well as an offer to help establish new accounts and give instruction on what to include and what to exclude in those tweets.

"We want you to have fun with it," said Moore.

He pointed to Meadowlands driver Yannick Gingras as a prime example of the way to do it.

"He is promoting the Meadowlands and harness racing, but most of all he is promoting himself," said Moore.

Moore also encouraged the horsemen to use tweets to offer fans a glimpse of the barn area behind the scenes that most of them can't see.

This seems like an excellent idea. Check into Twitter this weekend to see if it works.

Sports Editor Rick Teverbaugh can be found on Twitter @rteverbaugh.