Let's face it, as long as the government regulates horse racing, racing and politics will be intertwined. Whether it is as simple as a state government shut down shuttering racetracks like Running Aces and Canterbury Downs in Minnesota, the fight for racinos in Illinois and other states, you can't get away from the government.
Why racing gets shut down in states where budgets are not in place by July 1, I can't figure out; especially when racing pays for its own regulation. Increasing salaries for commission employees? Racing picks up the tab. Perhaps even more puzzling is why in racing states where the tracks pay for their own regulation, horsemen and tracks don't get together to propose legislation to get an exemption from any government shut down. Once the legislators are properly educated that the budget process for racing is really a wash, there should be no problem getting an exemption passed; especially when non-government employees are forced out of work no matter how temporary it may be.
Now that New Jersey Racetracks are being operated privately, horsemen and tracks must be somewhat happy with Governor Christie's poll numbers, where 53% of respondents disapprove of the Governor's performance compared with 43% in favor of his job performance. Now, rest assured it has nothing to do with what happened with horse racing; 54% disapprove of his education policies; 55% disapprove of his tax policies. Perhaps more important, 33% of the people think worse of him than they did before so it is more than just Democrat versus Republican. There is a long way till the next Governor's race, but there is a chance Governor Christie may be a one term Governor. If the Governor loses the election and with many Democrats in the legislature being displeased with their leadership and possibly looking to have another coup in leadership after the next legislative election, there is a chance the state's leadership may become more receptive to alternative gaming in New Jersey's racetracks; at least the Meadowlands.
As a follow up to yesterday's blog entry where Governor Christie skewered the NJRC for asking for a subsidy for New Jersey racetracks when he vetoed it, I saw nothing wrong with the NJRC asking for the subsidy. The purpose of the NJRC is not only to regulate racing but to promote it. There was legislation in place to give racing a subsidy from the Atlantic City Redevelopment Agency and while everyone suspected the Governor would veto the meeting minutes, the NJRC would not have been doing their job if they did not ask for the money. While the Governor was in his right to veto the proposed subsidy, I found his veto letter to the NJRC disrespectful. He owes the commission an apology. If Christie wishes to have a second term, I would suggest to him he get off his bully pulpit and be a little kinder.
Ellen Harvey has a blog entry about her Goshen memories which you may wish to read. While not having a racing pedigree, I too have my Goshen memories in the thirty plus years I have attended the races. Whether it was the annual 'road apple' raffle; stopping at some of the local watering holes with friends; visiting with some of the friendliest people at the track and Museum (Hello Joanne!); sitting on the rail while the races are contested; taking photos from all angles of the track, my visits to the track every year is special. I must admit, this year will be a little bittersweet when I visit Jodi Riedel's barn and don't see Clyde in his usual stall, but this is part of life. I know this year some new Goshen memories will be created. That's the beauty of Goshen; each year is different. No, there is no betting at Historic track (other than some friendly wagers), but quite honestly, it would ruin it. If you have never been to Goshen you don't know what you are missing.