Illinois Horsemen of both breeds must be sitting proud that the state legislature has approved slots at the racetracks. Only one problem, the Illinois Governor Pat Quinn has the ability to veto or conditionally veto certain aspects of this bill. Now, I am not from Illinois and sitting here on the East Coast, I can be blowing smoke for all I know, but for a Governor who has expressed concern about a massive expansion of gambling in the state, this bill may have overplayed its hand.
Pros:: Racetracks get slots which will allow them to increase moribund purses and get some horsemen and horses to return to the Illinois racing scene. Expansion of the racing season at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield, gets harness racing exposure more exposure outside of the Balmoral-Maywood circuit by putting a meaningful meet in Central Illinois. It also allows for the resumption of live racing at Quad City Downs in East Moline, Ill. Returns money to the state of Illinois which currently is going to Indiana (note that New Jersey legislators).
Cons: Do we really need slot machines in O'hare and Midway Airports? This truly is bringing a little bit of Las Vegas to Illinois. Allowing for three to nine months of racing at Springfield? Don't be surprised if the thoroughbreds attempt to get a race meet at the state fair as well. Plus there seems to be something unseemly about having slots at the state's fair grounds. Instead of just concentrating on slots at the racetracks, the legislature has come up with a huge bill that gives everyone something they want. Allows existing casinos to increase the number of slots they have, give Chicago a casino, adds four additional casinos statewide which will dilute the potential of racetrack slots. After all, if you are not a horse racing fan, are you going to the track to play the slots or a regular casino?
Yes, I know Illinois is cash-strapped,but is a massive expansion of gambling at one time too much? I realize to get this bill passed, it probably needed to include everyone's wish list but does Pat Quinn, issue a partial veto and does the racetracks lose out or deep pocketed private investors looking to open stand along casinos?. In my opinion, this legislation represents a blanket expansion of gambling in Illinois and not a well thought out plan.
Governor Quinn may let the bill pass as is; I don't believe he is going to veto it outright, but I suspect there may be a conditional veto of the legislation. Illinois horsemen must make sure they aren't the ones cut out. I suspect expanding the race meet and having slots at Springfield may be targets of the Governor's veto pen as are slots at the airports. Someone who has more knowledge of Illinois politics, Capital Fax, has more information on this issue.
Tioga Downs is going all out regarding the upcoming HANA Pool Party at Tioga Downs next Sunday. Here is a video they have been using on track and onthe web:
For those of us still used to the major races occuring over the weekend, you would be missing out on a stakes race at The Meadows today as the $125,000 Currier & Ives 3yo Open Trot is careded as the eighth race. It may not be the cream of the 3yo trotting ranks, but odds are you will see some of these horses advancing into the hunt for the Hambletonian. Let's take a closer look at the race:
Meadows 8th Trot - $125,000; Currier & Ives - 3yo Open Trot
1 - Washintonian (Stillings, 5-1) - Jumped in last. Prior to that he has been hot. Main contender.
2 - Fawkes (Merriman, 12-1) - Improved in last with a :27.4 final quarter. Share with trip.
3 - S J Better Days (Zendt, 12-1) - Solidly beaten in lower company. Pass.
4 - Glidenfordollars (Palone, 4-1) - Lightly raced horse broke maiden in last. Eligibile to imrpove.
5 - Bloomington (Bolon, 6-1) - Still a maiden. Share with perfect trip.
6 - Not Nice (Johansson, 3-1) - Has ability. Still struggling to regain last years form.
7 - Mythical Hall (Wilder, 6-1) - Trounced in PASS in last. Pass.
8 - Top Kick (Paver, 20-1) - Seems overmatched but expect improvement.
9 - Buffalino Hanover (Miller, 5-1) - Been solid in PASS. Saddled with the worst of the posses.