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Sunday, March 17, 2013

The Real Race

New Jersey isn't taking the federal court's upholding of the ban on sports wagering sitting down.  While they are appealing, it appears the state's Division of Gaming Enforcement will be introducing 'Fantasy' wagering where gamblers will put up money as entry fees and play against other players with winners to get paid off in cash.  Of course, it will be interesting to see if casinos will be able to take a percentage of the entry fees as a 'handling fee'.  Fantasy gambling is expected to come to the casinos on April 22.

Oh, racetracks are not included in this effort.  In the meanwhile it's just the virtually non-existent standardbred breeding industry in New Jersey which is suffering, the runners are hurt as well.  In Part 1 of an Examiner article, it begins with:

It’s March. ‘Tis the season for Thoroughbred foals in New Jersey. Or is it?

Spring is in the air and the Thoroughbred farms in the Garden State look oddly tranquil. In years gone by, one would notice herds of mares and their newborn foals dotting the fields of New Jersey’s Thoroughbred horse farms. This year, there are few Thoroughbred mares and foals to be seen. Fields are empty and farms are up for sale. In large part, the situation is due to a Governor who apparently chose to abandon the horse industry in exchange for indulging in a “new and improved taxpayer-funded” Atlantic City.

In part 2 of the article, we learned in 1997 there were 401 NJ-bred horses born.  In 2011, that number dropped to 186 and who knows what the final numbers will be in 2013?  Granted, in New Jersey when it comes to breeding, standardbreds have been king but that number is declining.  The NJSS is in shambles with it being a matter of time before the finals of the NJSS will be non-wagering events, or even worse; walk overs.  Yet the state continues to funnel money to Atlantic City, another failed business model due to the influence of party bosses and investment banks while offering little, some would say none, assistance to racing.  Unless change in Trenton comes soon, the real horse race may be which industry disappears first, the runners or the standardbreds.

Jeff Gural responds to a HRU letter claiming that his request for loyalty was naive.

Well, at least the standardbred industry in Ohio has learned from the debacle in Ontario.  From Harness Racing Update comes this quote:

Both Mossbarger and Greenfield [breeders] said it is imperative that Ohio learn from some of the mistakes made in Ontario, where the core product of harness racing was forgotten while slots mania took over. They say that can't happen in Ohio.  "Ohio has that tradition and people love to race horses here," Mossbarger said. "We are going to have a great program, one that's going to cause excitement and bring people back. But I hope we in Ohio will get together and develop a good marketing and promotion plan rather than just put out a sign say 'racing tonight.' We have to do these things ourselves. Our tracks are run by casino operators and it's no secret they prefer that the customers go to the casino."

Moosbarger and Greenfield recognize there is no sense asking the casino companies to promote racing, like it or not it is up to the horsemen.  Hopefully, the horsemen buy into what these two say otherwise, the Ohio renaissance will be over quick.

Lastly, management and others at the Meadowlands did their own version of The Harlem Shake.  I said I wasn't going to talk about it anymore, so I will just  post it without further comment other than to say track management was part of this video and the drivers colony got involved in video #2.

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