On the Trackside racing show in New Zealand, trainer Kelvin Harrison discusses the problems Auckland Reactor has with heat in North America and how a fall campaign starting at Pocono Downs may be in the future for the New Zealand wonder. Apparently, the problem Auckland Reactor is not unique as Harrison explains that 60-70% of the New Zealand imports he has encountered have similar problems with the heat; typically it takes them a second season to get acclimated to the climate conditions. The interview is just under nine minutes but it is worth a listen.
Ever wonder why Freehold Raceway hasn't opened any more OTW locations? It seems the operator of Freehold, Pennwood Racing, was supposed to build a OTW at the site of the old Garden State Park. According to Penn National Gaming (PNG), it seems their partner in Pennwood, Greenwood Racing, is refusing to pursue opening an OTW there. Could it have anything to do with Greenwood owning OTW facilities and Philadelphia Park across the river? PNG feels that is the case and has filed a lawsuit alleging anti-trust violations and a breach of fiduciary duties. Why should we care? Some of the revenue from an OTW in Camden County, one of the more populous counties in Southern New Jersey, would have found its way into the purse account at Freehold.
Lest anyone think thoroughbred racing doesn't have medication issues, we learn Pennsylvania will begin testing thoroughbreds for milkshaking.
Come July 1, purses at the Meadows will be cut 10% as a result of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania diverting slot revenue from the horse racing business to the state's general fund. This is the second year the state has diverted money from slots Despite all the wishful thinking, there is nothing to say another cut won't be forthcoming in the future.
Real Joke qualified at Gaitway Farms yesterday, winning in 1:49.3. Clearly he is ready to pick-up where he left off before his brief vacation. How impressive whas his victory? The second fastest mile of the day was a 1:55 qualifying victory by Sharks Legacy. As for the two year old qualifiers also raced at Gaitway, top honors go to On The Radar, a precocious son of Western Hanover, who stopped the timer at 1:56.3.
It's no secret racing is in bad shape in Illinois. If the proposed slot bill does not pass the legislature this fall, all racetracks in Illinois may no longer be viable. Maywood Park would be the first to go according to reports.
Racing returns to Quebec this weekend with a regional card scheduled for Sunday, June 27 in St. Hugues. This will be the first harness meet since the previous track operator in Quebec went bankrupt. There will be a few more regional meets conducted before a ten day meet at the Hippodrome de Quebec in the early fall. Granted, it is a far cry from the previous racing circuit in Quebec, but the important thing is racing is back and being run by people who feel racing can be marketed without slots.
For today's "What Ever Happened?" segment, we last reported on August, 27, 2009, the NJRC had approved a petition to propose a rule change to implement a Fair Start rule in New Jersey. Well apparently, regulation moves slowly without political pressure. Roughly ten months later, the proposed rule is being reviewed by the Attorney General's office before being published. While others may have forgotten, I haven't. Further updates will be forthcoming as merited.
In the "Under the Radar" segment, Running Aces Harness Park in Columbus, MN is in foreclosure as a couple of minority partners surrendered their stake to the majority owner and additional minority owners refused to make payments (likely due to the inability to get slot machines at Running Aces). The foreclosure will allow the majority owner to take sole ownership of the track. In the meanwhile it is business as usual, with business actually improving. Business should be improving as many of the Illinois horsemen have abandoned their state to race at Running Aces with their relatively lucractive purse structure.