Purses have doubled at Chicago area tracks, which while not the greatest purses possible, are a great step forward. So what could go wrong? A Governor who looks like he will at least conditionally veto the casino legislation if not out right veto the legislation if the Senate will deliver the approved legislation to him and on top of that, there appears to be some horsemen who raced in Chicago during the period the riverboat casino funds should have been dispensed if the riverboats didn't fight releasing the money who are looking to possibly sue to get what they should have paid if the money was released in a timely manner.
Governor Quinn the other day at the Illinois State Fair made it clearly known that he has no desire for slots at the fairgrounds; something admittedly even I would have a problem with. Quinn then talks about expanding casino gambling to racetracks as 'canabalizing' the product. Of course, there was no concern outside of racing by anyone about cannibalizing horse racing when establishing riverboat gambling. There is talk about a 'trailer bill' to be passed at the October veto session to address Quinn's concerns about the bill, but being one of his concerns is about having casinos at the racetracks, the whole thing may collapse.
As for the horsemen who are looking in effect to possibly sure for back purses, I have mixed feelings about it. In some way, I feel with this group of horsemen who say they should be entitled for back 'wages', but there was nothing that kept them from leaving Chicago if the pures were so poor. Yet, there can't be no dial that the money was intended to supplement purses each year. Conversely, using the funds moving forward will make Chicago racing more relevant instead of it being the joke it has been lately. The best thing which could happen right now is for the dissident horsemen to negotiate with the current horsemen and tracks to work out a solution which will work best for all of them.
Clearly things in Illinois are far from settled. Who knows how it will all play out? Now that the Meadowlands has been saved, I would hope all those who fought for the Meadowlands' survival will work towards saving Chicago racing as it is the next biggest market outside of the NY/NJ region.
More Perretti Farms Fall Out - In an article from the Asbury Park Press, [Governor] Christie said he didn’t see the Perretti closing as fallout from this year’s overhaul to the state’s horse racing industry. Christie said he’s hopeful other farms can remain operating despite economic challenges. Sure, I am sure if the Meadowlands still received a $30 million subsidy and raced a 180 day schedule, Perretti Farms would have still closed. I suggest the Governor stop with the politics and look at reality. I talked to an unidentified source who said It was the Governor's refusal to allow New Jersey racing to compete against the tracks in New York and Pennsylvania on an equal footing (slots) which is directly responsible for the closing of Perrettti Farms. Any attempt to claim it is another reason is pure BS. You can spin it anyway you want Governor Christie. Everyone knows the truth.
Gold Cup and Saucer News: In addition to offering simulcast wagering at the Meadowlands, Monmouth Park, and Favorites, NJAW will also offer wagering on the entire Gold Cup and Saucer race card. Sure, the racing is not the level it is in Ontario or even in most of the United States, but it is an experience and for many of us, it will be the closest you will ever get to experiencing it unless you travel to the Canadian Maritime Provinces. So if available to you through your local track or ADW, take advantage of the opportunity.
A big weekend of racing ahead. I will attempt to handicap the Charlottetown Driving Park card as well as the Super Sunday card this weekend in addition to the closing day stakes at the Meadowlands (Sweetheart, Woodrow Wilson, Golden Girls, William Haughton Memorial). So check back over the weekend to see my selections.