For photos from the Meadowlands contact

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Tightening the Screws on Racing in Michigan

I guess if you can't get the horsemen in Michigan to give up, you tighten the screws on them. The Michigan-Bred Claimer, a thoroughbred blog covering racing in Michigan, reports that the Michigan Gaming Control Board has upped the estimate as to what is costs to police the sport. In fiscal year 2009, it cost the state of Michigan $4,300 to regulate racing. In FY 2010, the cost was calculated as $5,923, an increase of 37%.

A 37% increase in regulation in one year. Makes you wonder what all the fuss over health care is about. More disturbing is the fact the MGCB will not provide horsemen with a breakdown as to what comprises this cost. According the HBPA, it appears this additional cost came to light only after the Michigan legislature increased the line item for regulating racing by 20%. According the MIHBPA, this will allow a total of eight more days of thoroughbred racing in Michigan allowing for three additional days of racing at Pinnacle Race Course. If the runners want to run their full meet, horsemen will have to come up with $367,000 from their purse account meaning thoroughbred horsemen will race for peanuts. If this happens to the runners, the same thing will be happening to harness racing. How little can standardbred horsemen race for? We may be finding out.

It may be coincidence, but notice how the cost of regulating racing has gone up 37% once the racing commission was eliminated and regulation was transferred to an agency that regulates casinos? I will leave it to those more familiar with Michigan politics to past final judgment but to an outsider, one must wonder if it is not coincidence. Atlantic City casino interests must be wondering why they didn’t think of this strategy. New Jersey horsemen better watch the New Jersey budget process play out to make sure the racing commission remains intact.

It took a while but finally there are harness tracks which will no longer allow trainers whose horses end up at slaughter through deliberate or indirect (by lack of doing due diligence) action, from participating in racing at their facilities. Bangor Raceway and Raceway Park has instituted this policy because Penn National Gaming was implementing this policy at all their tracks, emulating what is being done at other running tracks. Now that the wall has been breached in the standardbred world, here is hoping other harness tracks will implement similar policies.

News comes that Gefilte Fish will not be participating in the Passover Pace at Monticello Raceway on April 5 after ending up on the qualifying list at Flamboro Downs. Gefilte Fish raced in a qualifier in an attempt to get into the race but did not meet the qualifying standards at Monticello. Hunch players will have to wait until next year for the Gefilte Fish angle.

No comments: