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Monday, January 31, 2011

New Jersey Racing Bills Approved, Tioga and Vernon Schedules Announced

Governor Christie has signed the legislation authorizing Exchange Wagering as well as Single Pool Wagering into law in New Jersey.  It is a formality that the NJSEA will select Betfair to run the exchange wagering pools, but it will be a question of negotiating the fees to be charged and when the NJRC and the Attorney General sign-off on the deal.  Hopefully, we will see exchange wagering in place by May.

As for single-pool wagering, it is promoted as away to allow huge bets to be placed without causing the odds to take a hit (and protect tracks from losses) in addition to accommodating new wagers which can be introduced as a result of implementing the single-pool methodology.  The single-pool legislation does not mean it will be implemented any time soon; it just allows for its implementation. 

In other NJ-related news, SBOANJ President Tom Luchento was named Co-NJ Horseman of the Year by the New Jersey Equine Advisory Board.  In a bit of irony, the award is named the Governor's Trophy.

Meanwhile, Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs has announced their tentative schedules pending the approval of the NYSRWB.  Vernon Downs opens their meet on Friday, April 15 while Tioga Downs raises the curtain on the 2011 meet on Saturday, May 7 (Kentucky Derby Day).

No news yet regarding the takeout rates for the 2011 season at these two tracks but I would assume the rates will, at worst remain the same at Tioga, being the lowest rates in the United States for harness racing. As for Vernon Downs, I suspect the horsemen will once again reject any attempt to do something to improve the wagering business there as they seem to take delight in being a thorn in management's side.

As many of you know, usually when I talk about the thoroughbred world, it usually is about some type of injustice.  Well, we can add the absurd to the list.  Thanks to Pull the Pocket and Standardbred Canada for alerting us to the races in Australia being cancelled at one track do to kangaroos taking to the course.   While you can go to the SC website for the 'roos, PTP also shows the bears crossing the track at Sudbury Downs.  I'll add in the infamous Rabbit incident at Northlands Park (one of two, though the second one didn't cause a spill).

It makes our animal encounters in the States seem so darn boring.  I've seen skunks near the tote board at the Meadowlands, the incident of a large bird meeting it's unfortunate demise in the first turn at the Meadowlands and recall seeing on television of a video of deer deciding to cross the track at Turfway Park during a race.  But I admit, these encounters pale to the ones our friends Down Under and up North experience. 

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