I hung out with a racetrack newbie the other day, he's a retired mailman who plays poker with my husband occasionally. He came along with a group of the poker night people. We figured he'd want to know all about handicapping, and my husband was busily picking winners and explaining why he picked each horse, etc. I directed his attention to the payoffs of the races to show how it can be lucrative to bet exactas and other exotics, but he was not particularly interested in that stuff.
He wanted to know, "Who are the people in the red coats out there, what do they do?" (outriders) Then when the starting gate was right in front of the grandstand for a 1 mile 40 race, his attention was rapt. He was fascinated by the pony guy who looked like the Marlboro man might look at age 70, and his extremely well turned out pony that looked ready for the hunter ring. He even quizzed the track vet about how she got that job and what was she looking at out there on the track during the post parade.
What do you know? Potential new racing fans don't necessarily start out by betting on races! But those who have a good EXPERIENCE at the track usually end up betting on races.