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Thursday, March 14, 2013

Where to Start....

Penn National Gaming has instituted an 'Equine Fatality Inquiry Process' for all their thoroughbred tracks where in the event of a racetrack fatality, the trainer comes in with veterinary records and explains the fitness of the horse, how the horse was trained, any history of injuries, and a copy of the necropsy report if it was performed.  This rule was in effect in 2012 at Penn National's flagship track and while there was no 'ah ha' moment, there was an opportunity to make some changes as a result of these interviews.

Unfortunately, this rule does not apply to any of their harness tracks such as Bangor Raceway,  Freehold Raceway (in partnership), Raceway Park, and Rosecroft Raceway.  While racetrack breakdowns in harness racing are thankfully significantly less, there is no reason such inquiries should not take place, especially when there are so few of them it won't exactly be time intensive.  PNG and other standardbred racetracks should adopt such inquiries in an effort to cut down the few breakdowns to an even smaller number.

Here is an article on the battle Running Aces Harness Park is fighting for its survival.  The article speaks for itself.

Today is Valley View Down's deadline to secure financing to build the racino.  Will they make it?  Based on past performance, not likely  The latest connections of the vapor racino faces a vote next week by the PAHRC at their regularly schedule meeting.   If the financing is not secured,  the PAHRC should revoke the license and open the bidding once again or just kill the project once and for all.  UPDATE:  Valley View Downs gets a 78 day extension and is talking with Penn National Gaming about financing, including an equity stake.

I have evolved somewhat on the use of furosemide,  more commonly known as Salix®.  As you know furosemide is the anti-bleeding medication used on race horse for EIPH.  Now, don't get me wrong, I criticize the industry for not looking at EIPH horses as a breeding defect and keeping them out of the breeding shed in an attempt to eliminate the tendency of bleeding from the gene pool.  That being said, the real problem with race day furosemide is not the drug itself, but the reputation racing has as being a drug infested industry.  If racing had a reputation of racing on oats, hay, and water, no one would be questioning the use of  furomeside.  The use of race day treatment with this medication  should be allowed.  At the same time, racing needs to clean up its act with regards to illegal medications.

With regards to the use of phenylbutazone (Bute) which is allowed in certain racing states, this is a drug which should be banned on race day.  My reasoning is simple.  If a horse is too sore to race cleanly, the horse belongs in the field or the barn to continue their recovery.

Regarding my comments yesterday on how the Meadowlands will be providing trainer comments explaining layoffs, once again, I congratulate the Meadowlands on instituting  this policy.  The success of this program depends on what the trainer reports.  I don't think trainers will be lying to pull one over the horseplayer, but may be hesitant in their remarks to temper unrealistic expectations from the gaming public.  I hope this program is successful, but time will tell how it works.  If it works, it may be one of the greatest pro-gambler improvement we've seen in a long time.

There is a bipartisan effort to ban the slaughter of horses for human consumption as well as the transport of horses to Mexico or Canada for slaughter.  While the Safeguard American Foods Export Act of 2013 is enjoying bipartisan support, there will be opposition to this those looking to make a buck on the misery of these unwanted horses.  Yes, there are too many unwanted horses but instead of slaughtering these horses, we should hold horse owners responsible for their charges.  If you agree with this legislation, contact your Representatives and Senators urging their support.


Anonymous said...


Regarding Valley View Downs; Unless the state changed the rules, Penn National can't have a stake in more than one racino or casino in Pennsylvania. It owned two tracks before slots started and had to choose which one to keep.

Pacingguy said...

Penn National is planning in splitting into two parts. One will be the one which operates Racinos, the other part will be a REIT (Real Estate Investment Trust) which will own the physical buildings of racinos. They probably will have the REIT invest in Valley View Downs thus charge Valley View Downs rent for their share but not be involved in the operation.

Anonymous said...


Thanks for the explanation, but here's another puzzler. Why would Penn National directly or indirectly want to be involved with Valley View Downs? It's building a competing race track just across the border in Ohio! I'm far from a high finance wizard, but it makes no sense to me.

There's still plentymuch doubt that earth moving equipment will ever show up at Valley View Downs

Pacingguy said...

I'm not sure the equipment will show up either. Why PNG would want to be involved with this is a puzzlement. For all I know they may abandon their OH plans if this one gets off the ground or if there is going to be one there, they may as well earn some money off of it.

We would need to ask PNG for an explanaition of their logic.