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Friday, February 15, 2013

Friday Briefs

Thunder Ridge Raceway is on the way out according to the Paulick Report.  Assuming historic racing is ratified by the Kentucky Supreme Court of the legislature, plans are to convert the harness license to a quarter horse license and relocate the track to a new location.  It remains to be seen if the harness dates already scheduled for Thunder Ridge must be raced even if a deal is completed.

Anyone who had delusions that all the Ontario racetracks will be racing this year, albeit shorter seasons better take note of the Premier Wynne's statement that racing must contract to be sustainable.    Specifically, Wynne claimed, "My vision for horse racing is that it be sustainable, and in order to be sustainable, it has to be smaller, and that’s the transition we’re in right now”.   It's sounding like a game of musical chairs but who knows how many chairs have been pulled?


Normally, I mourn the loss of any harness track but considering the joke racing has become at Thunder Ridge, it is time to put that track out of its misery.  Of course, as poor as the racing at Thunder Ridge has been, it means even fewer days of racing in the Bluegrass State for harness racing.  Somehow, the industry needs to come up with a way to extend their racing season in Kentucky.  The industry can't survive on harness racing in June at Bluegrass Downs and then at the Red Mile in August and September before the Grand Circuit meet begins.


Sounds similar to the nonsense a few years ago with Rosecroft.  The thoroughbred horsemen are asking the Minnesota Racing Commission to shut down Running Aces for refusing to pay the thoroughbred purse accounts 3% of the card room revenue, a payment stopped since Running Aces claimed in a suit that Canterbury Park violated the terms of the contract.  Time will see if arguably the most successful racing at a new racetrack gets nipped in the bud.  A more logical solution instead of pulling the license would be to have Running Aces put the money in an escrow account pending the outcome of litigation.


It has been reported elsewhere that TVG will be taking over 4njbets.com, assuming regulatory approval is received.  As poor as the existing NJAW system is, there are no fees involved in having an account so as long as existing NJAW holders are grandfathered in without having to pay TVG's traditional fees, the transition to TVG will be a welcomed development.  On the other hand, if existing 4njbets customers are charged the standard fees of TVG, the small time player may be left without a viable ADW option due to the expense involved.  As per New Jersey law, horseplayers will still be denied the option to shop around for an ADW.  Harness Racing Update reports the target date is March 1, it remains to be seen if regulatory approval is received in time for that date.