Let's start today with some good news. Standardbred owner Ken Wood depends on his horses' winnings to keep his dream alive and it was profiled in Tuesday's USA Today. Well, to call it a dream may be incorrect, it is more like his calling. Either way, Lifetime Wells for Ghana has saved an untold number of lives over the past ten years, first drilling wells for clean water in Ghana and later moving on to Tanzania. If you are unfamiliar with Wood's efforts, check out the story or visit Lifetime Wells For Ghana's website. While 90% of his groups funding comes from his race horses, feel free to make a donation if you are so moved, the 10% of funding from alternative sources still does a lot to help the charity do so much more.
Other good news is North America's youth ambassador, Sydney Weaver, is heading to Ireland with her parents for Vincent Delaney Memorial weekend. Some may be envious of Sydney but is there any other youth with such enthusiasm for the sport? Kudos to the Vincent Delaney Memorial committee and SSG Gloves for sponsoring the trip and here is looking to read a recap of the weekend from Sydney.
This should not be a surprise to anyone in favor of or opposed to casino gambling coming to North Jersey. As reported in Blood Horse, New York is making plans to respond to a possible approval of the Jersey referendum, either by converting the Yonkers and Aqueduct racinos to full fledged casinos or even toss their own self-imposed seven year moratorium on New York City casinos. Part of the New York planning is an attempt to choke off funding for any New Jersey projects, which should be noted was attempted when the Meadowlands Sports Complex was first built by Sonny Wreblin; the other part is to make sure New York minimizes any windfall New Jersey casinos may hope to get.
Let's face it, anyone who thinks casinos in North Jersey will be operating in an vacuum are delusional. Realistically, the best in the long term North Jersey casinos can do is recapture the money wagered by New Jersey residents elsewhere. New York will strike out to make sure any revenue to be derived by New York gamblers will remain in state. As for gambling tourists? It will be split between the two states. Like with racinos, it is all about slicing up the same pie in different portions otherwise known as cannibalization. I am not saying a New Jersey referendum shouldn't be supported, but with horse people, there should be realistic expectations with regards to purse hikes. With New York planning to get their 'fair' share, it is important to watch over-extravagant plans for casinos so the debt service will be manageable otherwise it will 'Atlantic City on the Hudson'.
Sunday's Graduate Series pacing leg at Tioga Downs features an eleven-horse field featuring Wiggle It Jiggleit. A good wagering race except New York requires two entries, a two-horse and three-horse entry, leaving the race with eight betting interests. As a former firm believer of coupling everything, this is counterproductive to racing overall and it will become more evident as foal crops continue to decline. As a gambling industry, racing needs volume in handle. With declining foal crops, keeping horses coupled will cause racing to strangle its own handle.
There has been a rash of barn fires this year (and in prior years) and Equine Guelph has started a trial program to stop barn fires. They are inviting a few Canadian farm owners to schedule tours of their facilities to see what can be done to prevent future fires. It would serve those qualified to participate to do so. For those unable to participate or in the United States, here is a checklist of things which should be done to minimize loss of property and lives (equine and human).
While Michigan shows some resistance to ADW wagering, Minnesota has moved ahead and authorized ADW wagering in state where money will be recaptured from the ADWs and be used to increase purses both at Canterbury Downs and Running Aces, the harness track with additional revenue dedicated to Breeders Awards. As for Michigan, revised versions of SB504 and SB505 have been affirmed by the Senate by a vote of 36-1 and now goes to the Governor for his signature.