For photos from the Meadowlands contact

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Pennsylvania Horsemen About to Take Another Shave?

The Paulick Report reports that Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett is proposing to give the racing industry another shave.  Under the Governor's budget plans, the Governor plans to take from the Race Horse Development Fund $72 million for each of the next three years to fund the state's Universities.  This cut would be on top of an already planned cut for this year of $47 million.  If the Governor gets his way, thoroughbred and standardbred purses and breeder awards will be cut $119 million for the fiscal 2012-2013 fiscal year.

Who said slot subsidies are a divine right for horse racing?  This may work to the benefit of the Meadowlands depending on how Chester and Pocno Downs cut purses if the budget cuts are approved.  They can either race for regular purses until July 1 and then take a massive cut or the tracks can reduce purses at the start of their meets in anticipation of the cuts to keep the purse cuts reasonable.  If purses are cut ahead of time, the horse population at the Meadowlands may remain stronger than anticipated. 

As for breeding, the price of Pennsylvania yearlings may go down if the state gets a reputation of using horse racing slot funds as the state's piggy bank.

Slots are a double edged sword.  Pennsylvania horsemen are learning that lesson now.

I mentioned in an earlier posting a couple of other items which bear repeating.  The Meadowlands and the DRF announced a strategic partnership for 2012 as well as announcing how progress is being made at the Meadowlands in their goal to get more people and money wagered at the track.

The Raceway at Western Fair District is a small track in Ontario, Candada, but darned if they don't keep trying to improve their business.  They announced starting next week, their guarantee on their Pick 4 for their daytime cards is increasing from $4,000 to $5,000.  Small potatoes?  Perhaps, but for a track like The Raceway, it is a major commitment.  In addition, The Raceway tries their best to get known in the community.  Recently, they paid a visit to a London Lightning basketball game.  Any racetrack that doesn't get out into the community to promote their racetrack is destined to fail.  Is your track making similar visits to community events?  If not, it is time to ask why not. 

Cal Expo cancelled the February 16 race card.  Another Thursday card goes out the window.  They will be racing Friday and Saturday night that weekend.  The stated reason for the cancellation was a shortage of horses.


Harry Lare said...

This is the first step of politicians eventually taking away all slot subsidies.
Harness Racing will be on it's own and will not survive.
Casino expansion and Hotels will be built on weed ridden ovals.
Only a matter of time.

Pacingguy said...

I hope you are wrong Harry. I think Jeff Gural may be able to show how racing can survive without slots. He may be our last hope.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure I agree the subsidies will go away altogether since horse racing is still a large industry in general in some states but the horsemen do need a reality check. Purses that are 2x/3x the handle of a race without any of that money used for promotions, etc. does not make sense on any level.