The Triple Crown is a series of three thoroughbred horse races for three-year-old horses, which occurs each year during May and early June. Over time it has been considered one of the most difficult accomplishments in horse racing, and quite possibly across all sports because it requires a three-year old horse to win the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes (two weeks later), and then the Belmont Stakes (just three weeks thereafter). In all of racing history, only 13 horses have achieved the Triple Crown. So, what is it about this race that has millions gearing up all across the country?
While there are many traditions associated with horse racing, in recent years, many changes have also occurred within the industry. Given new technology, individuals can now place their wagers on the big horse races via cell phones, tablets, computers, and smart TVs. Off-track simulcasting, where available, offers another convenient alternative to going to the track. Many of the thousands expected to attend will spend an exorbitant amount of time and money in preparation, dress fashionably, and even make it an outing for the entire family.
However, for thousands of others who rely too heavily on gambling, they can often view these types of championships as a last-ditch effort to improve their financial situations or circumstances brought about by problem gambling. Yet, realistically speaking, these gamblers and others have zero control over the outcome of such events, as it is still a game of chance, so why do so many hold out hope?
Historically, the pari-mutuel industry has served as a significant entertainment and revenue source in Florida. For many, being at the track, here in Florida and elsewhere, is tradition. Over time, these operations grew and today provide horse and greyhound racing, Jai-Alai, and cards. But, given the increased competition in the marketplace (e.g. the establishment of the Florida Lottery, gambling cruise ships, tribal casinos, etc.) the industry began to struggle. To revitalize the pari-mutuel industry, state governments across the country implemented strategies, such as approving the presence of slot machines in licensed facilities. Further, facility operators have also taken steps within the past decade to expand their service appeal, making investments to welcome younger adults and women.
If you are among one of the thousands of gamblers who are relying heavily on a win for tomorrow’s race or on the Triple Crown, it is suggested that you take a moment to ask yourself how you arrived at your current destination. If gambling is more than recreation and is something you have difficulty doing without, take the time to call Florida’s 24-hour Problem Gambling HelpLine, 888-ADMIT-IT, for alternatives to watching or betting on the race. You can also attend a self-help meeting with recovering problem gamblers as a source of support. The point is that it is up to you to declare yourself a winner by making your life a priority now.
If gambling is creating challenges in your life or a loved one’s, and is making you question varying aspects, it is time to take a closer look at recent behaviors and patterns. If you or someone you care about is:
- Spending more money than one can afford to lose
- Exhausting funds earmarked for other essential things
- Jeopardizing relationships in one’s personal life or at work
- Turning to others for financial bailouts
- Lying to conceal betting activities
- Preoccupied with thoughts of gambling
- Experiencing feelings of hopelessness due to gambling
It is important to recognize that it is not too late to admit that gambling may be at the root of the problem. Call the 24-Hour, Confidential, and Multilingual Problem Gambling HelpLine at 888-ADMIT-IT (236-4848) for a variety of services and supports, including financial assistance for treatment for Florida residents who qualify.
Declare your freedom from a gambling addiction by taking the first step.
Walk away a winner and secure the help you need.
We are here to help, and we don’t play games…
 “Triple Crown Winners.” Kentucky Derby, Churchill Downs Incorporated, www.kentuckyderby.com/history/derby-history/triple-crown-winners.