A special guest editorial from Del Mar Racing VP of Marketing Greg Dodo:
In 2001, I was tasked with beating a dead horse back to life. The glory days of the Del Mar Racetrack seemed long past. Attendance was down. Our image was fading and grimy. But I changed the conversation: away from gambling and toward socializing. I made the Racetrack the place to be — and more importantly, the place to be seen. I made it "Cool As Ever." And that slogan gave us a helluva ride.
But ten dead horses into the 2014 season, I realized it was time to change the conversation yet again. I'd been watching that one TED talk, "Bug or Feature?" You know the idea: companies took apparent problems with their product and found ways to present them as advantages.
Now, we can't seem to fix the problem of horses dying on our track. Hell, we can't even figure out exactly why they're dying. So, we've got an apparent problem. But then, I started thinking. Why do people go see car races? To see men go fast in big machines, sure. But also, to see the spectacular crashes. Fans don't like to admit it, but the danger of violent death, right before their eyes, is part of the thrill. Wheels flying, fire everywhere, bent bodies and bent metal — awful, terrible, stuff. And yet that's the stuff that shows up on the highlight films, and on YouTube.
You see where this is going. I decided to let my bug serve as a feature. Nobody here at Del Mar would ever intentionally hurt a horse. But if we all go in with the knowledge that horse racing is an inherently dangerous business, that something tragic could happen out there at any minute...well, maybe that's one more reason to watch. That's the reasoning behind our new tagline: Del Mar Racing: As Real As it Gets.