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Racing on 31.03.2023
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Top at the top - flop at the bottom

In December 2022, the General Assembly of German Gallop decided on a funding programme of 2.2 million Euros for the season that has just begun. The 42 Group races and 22 Listed races will be subsidised and in some cases minimum prize money will be set. List races, for example, are worth 25,000 euros this year instead of 22,500 euros as in the past.

For races for two- and three-year-olds, 10,000 Euros will be offered on the so-called premium race days and subsidised accordingly, whereby it depends on the time of year the races take place and on which day. In the second half of the year, it will be cheaper for the racing clubs. The same applies to Equalisation I with 17,000 Euros and Equalisation II with 13,000 Euros, to name the maximum prices. The subsidy for Equalisation II, for example, is 2,500 euros.

And below that? In other words, at the basic level? Although there are also minimum prices for Equalisation III and Equalisation IV, there is no financial support at all. This has been going on for years and has had far-reaching consequences, because the grassroots do not feel wanted and have long since turned their backs on racing. The racing clubs feel this week after week in the fight for starting horses for their races, because there are simply not enough horses and active people to look after them. At the same time, it is precisely the horses most needed for the racing clubs` lucrative betting chance of the day that fall through the cracks. The last known statistics of Deutscher Galopp from 2021 state that there are still 158 owner-trainers, after 218 in 2015. It is mainly this group of people who fill such races with their protégés. In the so-called "rural quarters", especially in the south-west, according to these statistics, the number of horses in training declined strikingly - by about a third between 2011 and 2021.

Of course, it is difficult to find the right balance. A racing event must offer high-level races. There is no question about promoting them. However, this alone is not enough to organise and certainly not enough to finance entire race days. In order to show the athletes: "We are here for you", it would have made sense to promote the lower categories.

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In search of the substructure
Actually, press releases from the Association of Southwest German Racing Clubs do not exactly make for sensational news. But ...