Initiative to Boost German Funds Succeeds

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Georg von Ullmann (second from the right) | Getty Images

An ambitious concept to counter the ongoing disruption caused to Germany's racing finances by the COVID-19 lockdown, initiated by entrepreneur and racehorse owner Lars-Wilhelm Baumgarten along with Guido Schmitt and Christian Sundermann, has succeeded in its objective. The idea is based on popular television entertainment show “Wetten, dass..?”, which subjected contestants to viewer-determined forfeits if unable to complete bizarre tasks. In one case, a blindfolded farmer successfully recognized his cows by the sound they made while chewing apples.

However, in this sporting scenario, the trio declared they'd find 100 people committing to place a €50 bet in each of Germany's 227 scheduled races from May 4 through June 15 and, if successful, wagers totalling €5,000 per race would generate a €1.135-million turnover for betting pools. It was a high bar set and, notwithstanding a swift recalculation of goals due to the delayed resumption of racing, was met with enthusiasm from all corners of the industry.

In just seven days, the requisite number of participants was achieved at the weekend and the full list can be viewed here. Additional fun aspects to the concept have been introduced in conjunction with Deutscher Galopp and publisher Deutscher Sportverlag and, in the spirit of solidarity, online betting providers have unanimously agreed to waive commissions while also introducing competitive betting options during the period.

Gestut Schlenderhan's Georg von Ullmann captured the mood and told GaloppOnline, “Our family has run Schlenderhan for 150 years and we have had difficult times and great triumphs. German racing needs innovation, courage and doers so we very much support this campaign.”

Stefan Oschmann, who races Germany's Horse of the Year Rubaiyat (Fr) (Areion {Ger}) in his Darius Racing colours, added, “At this time, racing needs support from betting and maintaining the large number of jobs in this industry. I am very happy to be involved and, despite all the difficulties of launching such a venture, we have got off to a good start.”

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