Moore's father took him to a race when he was a teen-ager, and it was love at first sight.
"I fell in love with racing the moment we arrived," Moore says.
Moore's "racing" career began shortly thereafter, while he was still in high school, when he got a job working part time at the Latonia racetrack -- the track he visited with his father -- where he was a $2 show seller.
Following college graduation, Moore became assistant mutual manager at Remington Park in Oklahoma City. That was the first of many management jobs that moved him up the ladder and to Churchill Downs, the owner of Hoosier Park.
Moore has been with Hoosier Park since before it opened, in 1994, and he takes great satisfaction in its positive impact on the community.
"It [Hoosier Park and the horse racing industry] touches all 92 counties in the state," he says.
Moore is also pleased with the park's purse sizes, with more than one purse reaching $500,000. But not all is roses. Financially, the park is struggling, and Moore is engaged in a battle for what he considers the park's greatest hope - alternative gaming.
Moore says if state legislators approve the addition of alternative gaming -- slot machines and electronic pull tab machines -- at the state's two horse racing tracks, Indiana Downs and Hoosier Park, it could boost the state's economy. He contends that hotels and convention centers could be built on the Hoosier Park campus, and big-name entertainment acts would make the park a destination spot for more people than currently visit the track.
"It [alternative gaming] will widen our demographics and can be a stimulus for economic growth," he says.
Moore's strategy to make this dream a reality revolves around educating the public and legislators about the positive impact the horse racing industry has on the state. To do that, stakeholders in the industry have formed a coalition to get the word out.
"We will march forward, a united voice," Moore says.
Smart Business spoke with Moore about alternative gaming, the current status of Hoosier Park and his future plans for growth.
Hoosier Park is a relatively young venue in its current form. Is it what you'd hoped it would be?
In some ways, it's better than I envisioned. In other ways, it is worse. Where we are exceeding my expectations is the impact we've had on the Indiana horse racing industry. The number of breeding operations, owners and feed companies is better than I had anticipated.
And when I look at our signature races, we are way ahead of where I thought we'd be. I look at the $500,000 Hoosier Cup and the $400,000 Indiana Derby, and I never envisioned it would get to that point in such a short time.
However, I am disappointed about where we are financially -- we are posting losses. The fact that a second track was built (Indiana Downs in Shelbyville in 2002) and we are now sharing our subsidy and market with it, and the market has not grown with the second track, that's why our numbers are not good. We experienced a 19 percent loss overall, 17 percent trackside (since Indiana Downs opened).
Our plan is to try and get alternative gaming passed in Indiana. Several states that, like ours, already offered pari-mutuel gambling, have introduced alternative gaming as well, and it has been a win-win-win for everyone. Some of the states that have successfully introduced alternative gaming are Delaware, Iowa and Louisiana.
It's a win for the state because it receives additional tax revenue. It's a win for the owners and racers because it generates higher purses. And it's a win for the racetrack because of additional revenue. Alternative gaming has taken some shaky operations and put them on solid footing. Alternative gaming includes slot machines and electronic pull tab machines, and all we are asking is to allow another form of gaming where it is already taking place.
The racing industry actually touches all the counties in the state, and state legislators are beginning to recognize the tremendous impact it has and it can have if we get the support.
What have been your biggest obstacles to achieving growth?
Our biggest obstacle was the fact that a competitor opened in the Central Indiana market, and there hasn't been any additional market growth to accommodate it. We are sharing the same pie, and getting smaller slices.
Every year, we receive a subsidy to support the horse racing industry. It was an economic development tool that we've had to fight to keep in the last seven or eight years. The subsidy is the lifeblood of the industry here, especially with the additional track.
And not only are we competing with Indiana Downs, but we are also competing with the Pacers, the Colts and downtown Indianapolis itself. There's a lot going on downtown, restaurants, shopping. It attracts people like a magnet. And there's been an educational curve we've been working on. A lot of people come here for the first time and they need to learn how to read a program and racing form, and we are a relatively young venue and industry here.
In Kentucky, the Kentucky Derby is preparing for its 130th run, but we've only been here 10 or 11 years, so we are relatively young.
The subsidy comes from the riverboat admissions tax. The state government knew that if it allowed the riverboat gambling it would affect our business, so the horse racing industry receives a part of each $3 admission to the riverboat. Sixty-five cents of that goes to the industry, and a percentage of that goes to breed development, another percentage to purses, and the rest goes to the track.
So far, we've been successful in keeping the subsidy, and we are building on that success to get alternative gaming.
What has gone extremely well for the park since 1995?
Our acceptance in the city of Anderson and the impact we've had here is one thing that's gone extremely well. We are very involved in the community, which has helped, and our affiliation with Churchill Downs helps, too.
I think our focus on customer service helps us. We conduct surveys throughout the year of people that have visited the track, and the surveys show that the people who visit will come back. We also use mystery shoppers. We are constantly monitoring our level of customer service.
Do you plan to open additional satellite wagering facilities?
Right now, we are licensed to operate four off-site wagering centers. We have opened three, and are allowed to open a fourth. But we have looked throughout the state and we have not found a site that makes sense for us financially.
The centers help our profitability by supporting live racing. They also help support the purse. Five percent of every $1 wagered goes to the purse structure. They also offset the taxes we pay.
What are your growth plans in the next five years?
All of our growth plans are dependent on us getting alternative gaming. Alternative gaming has helped a lot of operations. Look at Mountaineer Park in West Virginia. It used to be the last stop for thoroughbreds before they retired. Now it's become a destination spot with big-time acts.
We could become a destination spot, too, and hotels and convention centers could be built here on the grounds. We could also book big entertainment acts. In the next five years, we have that ability if we get alternative gaming.
Our strategy for getting alternative gaming is to form a coalition to lobby for it. The coalition is made up of the two tracks [Hoosier Park and Indiana Downs], breeders, owners and other stakeholders of the Indiana horse racing industry. Our lobbying efforts revolve around education. There has already been a big investment made in the industry. We can and could have a huge economic impact on the state.
People think of the track and don't realize all the others that are involved in the industry -- the breeding operations, owners, drivers, feed and food providers. We w ant everyone, including legislators, to know that we touch all of Indiana and are one of its biggest industries. But it all revolves around education.
What is your Plan B should you fail to pass alternative gaming?
Without alternative gaming, we'll just limp along year to year like we have been doing. It's not a very pleasant picture. We keep trying and trying. ... The objection that we're hearing is that alternative gaming would be an expansion of gaming, and the objectors are saying there is enough gaming in Indiana already.
But we're not asking for new locales, just a new gaming opportunity at existing locations.
How do you deal with a crisis situations that arise at work?
What I do is analyze the problem. Before I react, I tend to sit back and think things through and assess the situation and assess the alternatives. I like to look at all sides and find out best to resolve it.
Early in my career, I overreacted. But I've learned that the best thing is to think through a situation. I have an inner circle of people that I like to bounce things off of, but ultimately, I make my own decisions. The most important thing is not to overreact.
Close the door; think it through, however long it takes. The key word that bests describes how I deal with problems is methodical.
What was it about horse racing that attracted you to the sport/profession?
When I was in high school, my dad took me to Latonia racetrack, where they conducted standard bred racing. I can still remember that night, years later. I got a part-time job at the track, went to college, then picked up work. I got my business degree and was fortunate to get a job and work my way up. And I learned something at every track.
I have never held jobs outside the racing industry. At one point, I owned horses and had my trainer's license. I think it's the action; it's so fast-paced. And I have always enjoyed the different folks involved in racing. There are so many different kinds of people involved. And there's the beauty of the horses and racing.
It has always fascinated me, and I have never gotten tired of it.
How to reach: Hoosier Park, (800) 526-7223 or www.hoosierpark.com