It must feel like Boon times in Illinois. Thanks to receiving their share of the $141 million owed by the riverboat casinos, purse are going up approximately 50% effective with their new condition sheet. $4,000 claimers who were racing for $2,100 are now going to race for $3,000 and the Open will now go for $17,000, bring their purses in line with Tioga Downs. This should improve their racing somewhat and stabilize them, albeit for the rest of the year. What happens next year all depends on the Governor's decision regarding slots at the track for which a decision has not been made.
Thanks to new accounting standards, in 2012 the OLG will cut their payments to local municipalities and racetracks generated from slot machines between 2% and 3%. A track like Windsor will loose about $112,000 in 2012; who knows how much WEG's share will be cut? Funny thing is Standardbred Canada saw the reduction of slot revenue and wanted horsemen to contribute 5% of their purse fund to market the sport but the horsemen voted thumbs down. This is a problem of horsemen all over; thinking of today and never tomorrow. Well, tomorrow will be here in less than six months and hopefully the purse cuts won't be that severe.
Mike Hall, the chief judge at Chester Downs was on Trot Radio and talked about his feelings about the Ontario Whipping Rule and if such a rule ever got adopted in Pennsylvania. He feels penalizing the bettor for a driving infraction like this is counterproductive. He also feels fines are not appropriate as there is nothing to keep an owner from paying a fine for a driver. His suggestion? Five to ten day suspensions for drivers. If a driver is a top driver a suspension like this will cost a driver potentially thousands of dollars in purse funds. I agree with Hall; of course the problem is some drivers will be appealing their suspensions and then dropping their appeal when they are ready to go on vacation. I would like to see something which makes these types of violations being handled on an expedited basis to avoid a driver from getting an injunction.
The Bourbon Slush team has a couple of horses in at Vernon Downs over the next couple of days. Bourbon Slush, the stable namesake, races tonight in the New York State Fair race for 2yo Colts and Geldings trotters in the first race tonight. It appears Bourbon Slush may have a hard time from the eight hole hole, especially when he is going against Stirling Adonis who starts next to him in post seven. It appears Dan Daley will be leaving from the start and should be able to get the lead without a problem. If he stays flat, Stirling Adonis should wire the field on the basis of his 1:58.4 qualifier at Vernon.
In Friday's 5th race at Vernon Downs, Lil Miss Bourbon seems to have a better chance even though he has a 15-1 morning line. She has been qualifying nicely with her last qualifier a respectable 1:56.4 at the Meadowlands. The problem was in her first start at Yonkers in a NYSS event, she broker right at the start and then in the deep stretch. Assuming she didn't care for the half mile oval, a better performance can be expected. Not that there aren't some logical contenders in the race who deserve serious consideration. Silk Pure has won two NYSS events on the half mile oval and gets Jason Bartlett to drive and Park Lane Paige is another winner of two races; one a NYSS race at Buffalo and a winner of a division of the Tompkins-Geers at Tioga. This race may tell the Bourbon Slush team what kind of horse they may really have.
The Gold Cup and Saucer kicks off this weekend with the first of three trials taking place on Saturday evening at Charlottetown Driving Park (CDP). The race keeps getting bigger and bigger with horses like Awesome Armbro N and George Teague Jr's I'm Gorgeous competing in the first trial. On Sunday, in the second trial, there are a couple horses which will ring familiar to American racing fans as George Teague sends another horse in the name of Southwind Lynx to compete against a field which includes Rare Jewel. The third heat will be contested on Monday. The final will be held next Saturday, August 20 during CDP's evening card. There is limited simulcasting in the United States this year, as the race gets a bigger reputation as the Maritime's Little Brown Jug. Outlets in the States carrying the Gold Cup and Saucer are Xpressbets, Racing2Day, and TwinSpires. There is a slight chance NJBETS may carry the Gold Cup and Saucer but that may be just for the final but that has not been confirmed yet.
Free Programs for all the action at CDP may be found here. If you have Microsoft Silverlight installed on your PC, you may watch all the action live via streaming audio by clicking on this link.