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Monday, November 14, 2011

Indiana, Maryland and Florida News

In good news, the Indiana Inspector General cleared the Indiana Horse Racing Commission from any ethical or criminal violations of state law. As you may remember there were allegations last year that there was wrong doing going on at the IHRC, which likely was generated by politics. That being said, a member of the Indiana legislature called for the Inspector General to get involved and so he did.

This does not mean the IHRC gets off without any suggested changes.  The IG has made a suggestion that instead of the judges holding the first hearing when a violation is alleged, the hearing be held by the IHRC or a member of the IHRC staff.  In a way, it makes sense.  If a state judge charges you with in infraction, does it make sense for him/her to be the judge and jury?

Now, the bad news comes with the IG suggesting the subsidy being paid to the racing industry to be cut 51.7%, "Assuming that a continued subsidy to the horse racing community is deemed proper by the Indiana Legislature"  furthermore, the IG suggests the amount of the subsidy be capped at pre-racino figures, meaning at the level where riverboats were paying $3 per guest to the racing industry.

The report claims the subsidy was intended to jump-start the industry and is now in need of re-evaluation, making the presumption that the entire racing industry received $427 million in subsidies since it started is no longer needed, meaning the industry should have been able to come up with a new game plan for its survival.  Of course, we know what racing's game plan is in lieu of subsidies; not a darn thing.  That would require planning and racing has been content to become a welfare industry.

How did an investigation into the IHRC delve into subsidies?  Once again, probably political insider involvement.  If you recall, Indiana wanted to cut subsidies last year which got repealed so this recommendation is probably the start of another attempt to cut the subsidy once again.

I am curious to see if Prince George county officials are equal in their criticism  with regards to gambling. Some of the officials at the beset of religious officials have wanted to zone Prince George County to prohibit slots.  Well, now Mark Vogel, prior owner of Rosecroft Raceway, wants to buy a hotel in Prince George County and offer card and table games, but no slots.  Let see if Prince Georgy county clergy come out in opposition to this.

What a mess in Florida with their quarterhorse licenses.  How does a state hand licenses out like toilet paper and let groups sit on licenses until they are ready to use them?  Hamilton Downs Horestrack is the second quarterhorse licensee that is wishing to start pari-mutuel Barrel Racing.  Well, being curious, I wanted to know who Hamilton Downs Horsetrack is, so I did a search and found out it actually the latest jai lai fronton in the nation which was built to get a card room for the fronton.   The horsetrack at present is on paper; it apparently doesn't take long to set up barrels and call it a horsetrack.  This follows the approval of pari-mutuel racing at Gretna from the FL DPMW.  According to a statement from the DPMW, the reason parimutuel barrel racing is being allowed is more than half of the races will be quarter horses.  Well apparently, the Hamilton Quarter Horse Barrel Racing Association had agreed to provide horses and rider for Barrel Racing in 2011-12, all the way back in 2005,  Under the same logic, they should be issued a license.

Isn't it funny that it seems anyone can get a quarterhorse license, but there is only one standardbred license in the state?  I am not saying Florida could support two competing pari-mutuel harness tracks, but if someone wanted to have a harness meet when Pompano is closed during the summer, it may be profitable.  Who knows, instead of traditional harness racing, we can have wagering on standardbreds swimming across and equine pool and call it pool racing.

Quite honestly, if these two backwater towns get slots is not that big a deal as each of these backwater towns have a population of roughly 1,600 people.  Horse racing at these locations could never succeeed.  The problem is Hialeah and other thoroughbred tracks have quarterhorse licenses as does Pompano Park.  If Barrel racing is allowed as a pari-mutuel sport, all existing racetracks may go with barrel racing in lieu of regular racing as it will be a cheap way to have a casino.

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