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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Gold Cup and Saucer Season Has Arrived

As the Meadowlands season is wrapping up, we turn our attention north to Charlottetown?

Yes we do as it is time for the Gold Cup and Saucer to take place at Red Shores Charlottetown, formerly known as Charlottetown Driving Park, where the Canadian version of the Little Brown Jug takes place with a whopping purse of  $60,000.  Twenty-five horses have been entered into the Gold Cup and Saucer which will require three trials (eliminations) which will be contested this coming Sunday and Monday as part of the Old Home Week festivities which will culminate in the running of the Gold Cup and Saucer final at midnight (11:00pm EST) on August 18.

No, you will not see any of the FFA pacers on the national scene making the trip to Prince Edward Island to compete and that is good, for this is the beauty of the Gold Cup and Sauce, it is the Holy Grail of blue collar horses, horses are purchased and sent from other parts of Canada to compete in the Gold Cup and Saucer.  Ask the many drivers and trainers who call Prince Edward Island home and are plying their trade in Ontario what race they want to win and the Gold Cup and Saucer is mentioned just as quickly as any other Canadian race, even though the others go for much greater financial reward.

While not a six figure race, don't think just shipping any horses to Charlottetown is your key to victory.  Last year after meeting with PEI horsemen in the winter, George Teague Jr. compete in the race so he shipped two of his better horses (anyone hear of Southwind Lynx and Im Gorgeous?) up to compete in the trials and it turned out to be short stay as his horses left the Maritimes with their tails between their legs, failing to make it to the final.  The horsemen competing play for keeps.

What is the fascination of the Gold Cup and Saucer?  Where the Hambletonian is a throw back to racing's rural roots, the GC&S is harness racing's rural roots, a race conducted on Prince Edward Island where a field of Open Trotters compete for a purse of $1,500 and preliminary legs of late closing series for their best mares offer a $2,250 purse..  As for crowds, the Meadowlands and WEG could only dream of such crowd which rival the attendance of the Little Brown Jug. .

If you have never seen the Gold Cup and Saucer, here is a replay of the 2011 edition.

Horses and drivers better come with their A game because there is no such thing as courtesy tucks here.

Pullthepocket provides his view on the Gold Cup and Saucer as well.  You may see his thoughts here.

Mohawk Racetrack had their second racing under saddle exhibition event last night and six trotters answered the call. 

As has been the case in most events this year, the field was spread out, likely from the exhibition nature of these races where qualifying of the horses under saddle has not been required.  As this form of racing becomes more accepted, more horses will become adept at RUS and the regulatory process will be put in place to make sure more competitive events take place.

The next RUS event will take place on Friday, August 17 at the Meadowlands, part of the closing night's festivities.

Rosecroft Raceway Given Another Two Years - Penn National Gaming has agreed to extend their commitment to race at Rosecroft Raceway for another two years by hosting fifty-four day race meets with racing two days a week in spring and the fall meets sandwiching the Ocean Downs meet.  Two more years of racing is good for Maryland horsemen, but of course there is a catch.  If casino gambling comes to Prince George's county anywhere besides Rosecroft Raceway, it allows Penn National Gaming to end racing.  Clearly PNG continues to operate Rosecroft with the hope of getting casino gaming there.  But there is a special session of Maryland's legislature starting Thursday to discuss allowing card games and expanding gaming to Prince George's county, with an eye towards establishing a casino at National Harbor to the detriment of Penn National Gaming.  In fact, PNG claims the process is rigged to the benefit of another casino operator with the bill focusing on National Harbor.  Should a bill pass the special session and be approved by the voters in a referendum this fall, there is a possibility the two year extension may never have a chance to be implemented. .

Sports Leagues Sue New Jersey over Sports WageringThe NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, and the NCAA have filed suit claiming New Jersey's law permitting sports wagering to be illegal under the 1992 Federal Ban imposed when sports wagering was made illegal except where it already existed.  New Jersey may have had a case if treated like every other state but they were given a period of time to approve sports wagering under the law which they failed to take advantage of.which makes me suspect the state will have a hard time getting this ban overturned unless done in congress (of course I am no lawyer).  So let the battle be joined.

I for one could care less if sports wagering was legalized.  Yes, it would help New Jersey racetracks for say, two or three years at which time you will see sports wagering in all surrounding states, making sports wagering a commodity as slot machines have become.  However, I dare challenge the NFL not to be hypocrites and stop publishing injury reports and make it a requirement in any future network television contract banning their football analysts from talking about taking a certain team and the points or giving the points.  I would ask the NFL and all other sports leagues and the NCAA to ask Nevada's gaming commission to ban the dissemination of their sports betting lines outside of Las Vegas.  Of course they won't, for one reason the popularity of the NFL would be diminished without the illegal gambling taking place on their games.  In some ways, these leagues are like racetracks.  The moment one league is offered a percentage of money wagered on their games through legal sources, their objections would go away and they would leave the other leagues out in the cold.

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