I received some feedback from California standardbred horsemen regarding my California Dreaming entry from yesterday and to say they are mildly optimistic, would be an understatement. With racing not resuming until November, horsemen are earning dark money which coupled with a reduced racing schedule, there is anticipation purses for the late fall meet will be significantly better than it has been in recent years. While the purse structure will not be equal to racinos or the major racing circuits, expectations are with many tracks closing for the year around the time racing resumes in Sacramento, some horsemen who were racing at the closing tracks may decide to head West to take advantage of some late closing events and race through the winter. Also pointed out is the abundance of stalls available which may also make California a winter training destination. Of course, time will tell if this will be the case.
Horsemen are also excited about the new management team, Golden Bear Racing, which will run the standardbred meet. The management team of Golden Bear Racing is headed by Chris Schick and Ben Kenney, both horsemen and in the case of Chris Schick, the former general manager for the Sacremento Harness Association and current a USTA director who is behind the USTA's successful Strategic Wagering Program. Ben Kenney is a former head of the California Harness Horsemen Association. The expectation is the current relationship with TVG will be continued, if not even expanded.
Time will tell if this optimism is warranted or if it turns out to be another disappointment.
I'm so glad I wasn't going to cover the Assembly hearings regarding gaming in the Meadowlands. Today, John Brennan covers the pro-Atlantic City argument expressed at the hearing. Let's talk about a couple of 'gems':
Assemblyman Amodeo - "We cannot control the proliferation of gaming in neighboring states. “But we can ensure that our casinos, and economic benefits that flow from there, are not changed but self-inflicted in-state competition in the heart of the largest feeder market for our casinos.” - Last I saw, there was no Great Wall of New Jersey keeping state residents from heading over the border to gamble in neighboring states. Are we to seriously think those who would consider gambling somewhere else besides Atlantic City haven't already done it? If so, cows do fly.
Michael Pollock, Managing Director of the Spectrum Gaming Group - “So achieving the goal of transforming Atlantic City is viable – but it will be difficult. It require some level of continued coordination and cooperation with the rest of New Jersey.” - And what would we expect a Professional Services Firm (aka Consulting Firm) which serves the gaming industry to say? They know where their bread is buttered. If they came to a conclusion that the damage to Atlantic City would be minimal or Atlantic City was hopeless, there is a good chance this company would be slitting their own throats.