The Fourth of July weekend has some interesting racing on tap. Friday night Northfield Park, debuts the Cleveland Trotting Classic. For its initial run, the $170,000 race draws a strong field of trotters making it an interesting race. Also on Friday, the Meadowlands hosts the $250,000 final of the Graduate Series.
On Saturday, Pocono Downs is hosting their 'Sun' Stakes, a quartet of stakes races going for a value of $1.8 million in addition to another quartet of consolation races. Once again, to protest the high rake at Pocono, I will not be reviewing the races though you my review what HANA's handicappers have to say about it on Saturday morning.
Taking a look ahead to the Graduate Final, it should be a good day for trainer Steve Elliot as his horses should come in 1-2 with Doo Wop Hanover (2) taking top honors with Rockeyed Optimist (1) taking the second position. Rounding out the top four, will be All Bets Off (4) and Limelight Beach (9).
Nothing goes easy for Jeff Gural these days. One week before the deadline for submitting bids for the one Southern Tier casino license, the city of Binghamton, NY has approved a site for a casino, allowing a new group to enter the sweepstakes which up to this week was a walkover for Tioga Downs.
The vote was highly unusual as most ordinances require two readings before becoming law. As a result of the single reading of the ordinance, the people of Binghamton didn't have a chance to voice their opinions. But when it comes to casino licenses, governments tend to overlook normal procedures in an effort to grab the low hanging fruit, the casino license.
Regardless, now Tioga needs to compete against a group for that license. Based on what is known as of now, I would guess Tioga would still come out ahead but with the kind of year Gural has been having, I wouldn't be betting on anything.