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Monday, December 31, 2012

2013 Predictions

As we are about to turn the page on 2012, one begins to wonder what 2013 will hold for horse racing  Here are some predictions for 2013 (a couple of them come from contributors).  Admittedly, some of these predictions are wishful thinking, a few may be a swing for the fences.  Predictions are listed in no particular order. 

  1. Balmoral Park and the Meadowlands both continue to grow their handle. 
  2. An attempt to pass and have signed a new streamlined racino bill in Illinois in the first full week of January before the new legislative session begins will probably fail.  Another attempt will be made later in the year to make horsemen wonder what can go wrong this time? 
  3. Meanwhile, ADW wagering in Illinois, which becomes illegal on January 1 due to its authorization expiring is renewed before the end of January making it once again legal to wager via phone and/or Internet.  Horsemen are shocked that the legislature can do something right after all.
  4. Valley View Downs remains a dream as another operator fails to secure their funding.
  5. On a macro level, racing will continue to operate with a limited long-term vision.
  6. Racing Under Saddle continues to grow interest off of 2012's re-debut and the product will be better as horsemen realize RUS is not a novelty, but a legitimate expansion of harness racing.   Looking further ahead, I see pari-mutuel racing on monté racing in 2014, 2015  at the latest.
  7. Exchange wagering is successful at Cal-Expo without impacting handle.  It won't be the smashing success some predicted (this is Cal Expo), but a success just the same.
  8. Seeing how exchange wagering is doing at Cal Expo, the Meadowlands and Monmouth Park will ask the NJRC to expedite the rules for exchange wagering in New Jersey, looking at exchange wagering to debut no later than January 1, 2014.
  9. Despite the success of exchange wagering at Cal Expo, thoroughbred horsemen in California refuse to offer their endorsement of exchange wagering.
  10. The NJRC will continue to study a fair start rule for the Garden State, a process which started back in 2010.  Heck, let's make this also the first prediction for 2014 as well. 
  11. Governor Christie wins re-election in New Jersey as Governor, defeating current Senate President Sweeney in November.  Why is this important? See #12 and #13.
  12. Democrats continue to hold sway in the state legislature, but with a smaller majority.  As a result of this, Senate President Sweeney loses his grip on the Senate Presidency for the 2014-2015 legislative session.
  13. Atlantic City casinos continues to lose share yet Governor Christie refuses to endorse a Meadowlands casino.  However, come 2014 the Governor evolves and endorses gaming at the Meadowlands.
  14. New Jersey's attempt to introduce sports wagering which would benefit Atlantic City and horse racing dies as the Federal courts rule against sports wagering proponents.  The U.S. Supreme Court refuses to hear an appeal having already ruled in favor of the law when Delaware attempted to add single game wagering.
  15. Despite the NJTHA assertions that without sports gaming, Monmouth Park is done racing, the NJTHA applies for racing dates in 2014.
  16. Atlantic City Racecourse once again has a successful mini-meet.  Everyone dismisses its success basically because horsemen want to race as many dates as possible. 
  17. The Meadowlands application for racing dates in 2014 features an increase in racing dates. Those dates will likely be added to the winter and fall meets. 
  18. An annoucement is made that the Meadowlands will be hosting the entire Breeders Crown slate in 2014 over a period of two days (Friday the 2yo and 3yo events; Saturday the Open divisions).
  19. Rumors surface that Freehold Raceway is for sale.  By the end of the year, Pennwood announces 2014 may be Freehold's last year of racing unless slots are approved.
  20. Single pool wagering is approved by the NJRC and implemented in time for the Meadowlands Championship meet. 
  21. The license for the final harness track in New York state is awarded to Bonnie Castle Down in Alexandria Bay over others applicants.  Expect Bonnie Castle Downs to be completed and open before the first shovel of dirt is moved for the Valley View Downs project (if ever).
  22. The Meadowlands, in an experiment, coordinates post times with Vernon Downs on Fridays and Tioga Downs on Saturdays, alternating races with multi-race wagers featuring races from each track.  As part of the experiment, the handicapping show at the Meadowlands will include race analysis for each track along with live interviews from each. 
  23. Plainridge Racecourse wins the slot parlor license in Massachusetts; the local referendum is a squeaker.
  24. Monticello Raceway announces 2014 will be the last year of racing at the current location, with racing moving to the town of Thompson no later than January, 2015.  The inside joke is the new Monticello Raceway will be up and running before the first shovel of dirt is taken at Valley View Downs.     
  25. Without instant racing, another standardbred track closes in Michigan.  Rumors abound that thoroughbred racing may return to Hazel Park in 2014 (the harnes meet remains intact).  The possibility of quarter horses racing at Hazel Park is also rumored. 
  26. Iowa harness racing continues in obscurity.
  27. Speaking of obscurity, new life is breathed into the NJSS program as the races are opened up to NJ-bred horses starting with two year olds in 2014.
  28. As a result of the new funding formula for Ontario tracks, Americans will find themselves on the outside looking in when it comes to overnight events in Ontario.  The plus side is there will be no horse shortage at the Meadowlands this year when Harrah's and Pocono Downs re-open..
  29. Breeders get abused once again at Lexington and Harrisburg (admittedly not much of a prediction).
  30. The New York Legislature again approves casino gambling and it is approved by voters.  Now comes the question of where full casinos are built (tracks, standalone, a combination of).
  31. Horsemen in various states will complain about being frozen out of certain tracks claiming racing should be open to all.  They then negotiate with their local track preferences in an effort to freeze horses and horsemen from other states out.
  32. Other tracks finally wake up and notice Cal Expo and Western Fair District handles when they are on TVG.  All of a sudden, other tracks realize paying to be shown on TVG is smart business.
  33. With the success of the Meadowlands Super Stakes for older pacers and trotters, the Hambletonian Society and Grand Circuit decide to offer super finals for the highest point earners on the Grand Circuit as a way to perk up support for the Grand Circuit races.  Plans are to introduce these races in 2014.
  34. Governor Christie makes the winner's circle presentation for the Hambletonian.
  35. While a noted opponent of heat racing, Ray Schnittker still shocks the standardbred world by scratching his entrant after the first heat of the Hambletonian.
  36. The legislature in Georgia approves a referendum to approve horse racing.  Referendum goes to the voters in 2014. 
  37. Florida legislature decides Barrel Racing is not a legitimate use of a quarter horse track license.  Creek Entertainment Gretna goes to court.  In the meanwhile, no quarter horse or thoroughbred horsemen association agrees to simulcast races to Gretna, but some harness tracks do.
  38. Expanded gaming is approved in New Hampshire.  Harness racing and thoroughbred racing to return in 2014.


Anonymous said...

"Balmoral Park and the Meadowlands both continue to grow their handle"

In order to CONTINUE growing your handle, you have to be GROWING it in the first place. While this holds true for Balmoral, the opposite is (unfortunately) true for The Meadowlands. The Big M needs to reverse their current trend, NOT continue it -- hopefully that will be the case!

Pacingguy said...

The Meadowlands handle increased last year. To try to compare the handle now with the handle from a few years ago would not be fair. Hence, the Meadowlands should continue to grow their handle.

Anonymous said...

I suppose we can view statistics any way we want to -- rosy pictures can always be painted by focusing only on select data. While The Meadowlands MAY have officially shown a gain of 2.5% in 2012, that number is actually WEAK when compared to other tracks that enjoyed MUCH better gains. It's hard to get excited about 2.5% growth when lowly Batavia improved by 14%! Even sister track Vernon Downs saw their handle rise by a much better rate than the Big M! Balmoral's growth dwarfs that seen in East Rutherford, and I suspect the same will prove true at the big Canadian tracks.

The simple truth is that last year's mild winter helped MANY tracks benefit with larger handles...unfortunately, The Meadowlands saw a lot less "growth" than many (most?) of them. Only the most rose colored optimist could view last meet as a "success" -- and the replacement of most of the senior management further confirms that SOMEBODY thought things should have been much better ;)

Pacingguy said...

I agree the growth was not as good as it could have been, but it did grow.

Perhaps it would have been better to say the Meadowlands and Balmoral grow their handle this coming year.

LI Guy said...

I just want to say I have enjoyed your blog and look forward to it in 2013, Have a Happy New Year!