Eric Carlson is taking his shot at the Meadowlands this winter. Personally I love it when the newcomers come and take their chance at the Meadowlands, it was one of the best things in its early years, when the likes of Peter Blood, William Fahy, Walter Paisley, Gerald Sarama, Greg Wright, and others would decide to take a shot. Some left after a season or earlier, others stuck around for a while. The Meadowlands was never an easy track to thrive at and it is still somewhat challenging but it the infusion of new drivers made things interesting and allowed for great wagering opportunities.
Deweycheatemnhowe is another top stallion to get out of Ontario with all the uncertainty regarding the racing and breeding programs. The beneficiary of this defection is New York State as Dewey will be standing at Morrisville College for a fee of $10,000. To see what is happening to what arguably was considered the best breeding program in North America is criminal.
In the meanwhile, slots will remain at Western Fair District and Kawartha Downs as they have signed lease agreements with the OLG to keep the machines running until new casinos are built (possibly at the track). While the tracks will benefit from this arrangement and keep the tracks operating, it is unknown if this will benefit purses in any manner.
Go West Young Man: Not all of Canada is against racing. In British Columbia, slot revenue going to horse racing will rise from the current level of 15.5% to 25%, an almost 10% increase in support. Unfortunately, with only 89 standardbred race days each year, it is not as if BC racing could support a massive influx of horses, but still it is nice to see things go up somewhere in Canada.
Walnridge Farm is the NJ Breeder of the Year. While congratulations are in order for the Meirs in keeping Walnridge Farm going, we must note the number of breeders competing each year for this award is getting smaller each year. This is not meant to cheapen the Meir's accomplishment. Hopefully this will change in the future but right now, things are gloomy in the Garden State.
In Federal court, the Judge handling the New Jersey Sports Wagering lawsuit has found the leagues do have legal standing to contest the state statute authorizing sports wagering in New Jersey. This was expected even by Governor Christie. What was not addressed was the question of the constitutionality of the Federal law banning sports wagering. That question will wait until after January 20 when the Feds need to decide whether or not to defend the constitutionality of the law. While the state can issue a license to Monmouth Park as soon as January 9, I wouldn't suggest anyone plan on placing a legal wager there as I expect either the state to delay issuing a license or the NFL obtaining an injunction against it.
I realize I am a cynic when it comes to this issue, but I suspect if the leagues got a cut of the action, their opposition to sports wagering would melt away That being said, what puzzles me is how any state can in effect confiscate the rights of the leagues and offer gambling on their games without paying any compensation to the leagues for the right to use these games. Alas, I imagine this is the beauty of being the government.
Au Revoir Trot/Pace set for December 27. Call me a sentimentalist, but I love these Au Revoir-type races, where the 14 year olds get one last chance on the track before they head off for retirement. To see these horses still competing until this age is a testament to their determination and competitiveness. While they may not be champions in the classical sense of the term, they are champions in their own right.
A field of five pacers and two trotters (that's correct) will compete in Monticello Raceway's Au Revoir Race this coming Thursday, December 27. Thanks to the NYSRWB, an exception has been made to allow the trotters to race with the pacers in a wagering event. As a result of this decision, the trotters draw the inside two posts and sure enough, the trotter Speedy Big Ras is the morning line favorite. No matter where they finish, here's wishing these seven horses a wonderful retirement from racing. May their retirment off the track last as long as their racing campaigns.