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Friday, May 10, 2013

The Tides of Alternative Gaming; Saying Goodbye and Outrage

First a quick note.  If you live near Woodstock, Virginia, there is a Wine and Trotting Festival at the Shenandoah County Fairgrounds in Virginia this Saturday from 11am-6pm.  This is the last fair in the state to host harness racing so it would be great if it can get a good turn out.  The event will go off rain or shine.  Admission is $20 ($10 without the wine tasting; $2 for those 16 and under.

Delaware racinos, already hurting badly from expanded gaming in Pennsylvania and Maryland could be getting pounded more if House Bill 135 gets legislative approval and is signed off by Governor Merkel.  This bill would allow the building of two new casinos in Delaware, specifically in Sussex and New Castle Counties.

Delaware moves fast so if this bill becomes law, a nine-member committee will determine where the casinos will be built and the decisions will be final.

This is going to become more common as states react to the increased competition.  A state builds racinos because everyone else has them; then the surrounding states improve their offerings to drive more business to them; then other state builds more casinos to get business back.

With the exception of New Jersey where the gaming money flows out to surrounding states, gaming revenue is like tidal water; flowing in at high tide, flowing out at low tide.  The only problem is as states start or expand gaming with additional casinos, whether brick and mortar or virtual, it is like beach erosion, tracks will not get back to where they started so purses begin to erode and erode and erode..... 

Even in states most friendly to racing, slots are going to carry racing only so far.  Racing needs to figure out what comes next to ensure its survival.

Passport Time - I would be remiss not to mention that Arch Madness is over in Europe to race in the Oslo Grand Prix this Sunday, doing battle against the likes of Maharajah and Commander Crowe.  He will remain in Europe to do battle in the Elitlopp at the end of May.  It will be interesting to see Arch Madness in the Grand Prix being he just shipped over this week for the race.  Quarantine is tough on horses, throwing them off their normal routines.   [Update: Arch Madness was scratched from Sunday's race due to tying up during a training session on Friday.]

Also heading overseas is Take My Picture who is aiming for the Elitlopp on May 26. 

Unfortunately, both the Oslo Grand Prix and Elitlopp look not to be available for wagering in North America.  I expect the day to come when races like these will be available to North American audiences.  It is a question of when, not if.

Did You Know that besides being on the USTA website, The Grand Circuit has a presence on Facebook?  You can click here and like their page and keep up to date with all the doings.

It's Not Just the Standardbreds.  Venerable Hollywood Park is rounding into the final turn for the last time as they have made official the worst kept secret that the wrecking ball is coming to the Inglewood track shortly after Christmas this year.  While Southern California still has Del Mar and Santa Anita for their racing circuit, there has been talk about Los Alamitos expanding their track for a more regular thoroughbred meet.  When Churchill Downs sold the track to the current operator they twice tried for slots with no success.  Long time harness racing fans remember the days Hollywood Park also featured harness racing, with Niatross and driving greats such as Joe O'Brien having raced there.

Outrage in West Virginia.  The WVRC is investigating the death of Slippin' Around at Mountaineer Racetrack who collapsed in the receiving barn of the thoroughbred track prior to racing.   From the news story, it appears the WVRC is investigating the abandonment of the horse and whether it was abandoned as it was dying and who is responsible.  No animal, especially one which is cared for by humans, deserves to be abandoned as it dies..  Not having first-hand knowledge, I cast no judgment but if the investigation shows the horse was indeed abandoned as it lied dying, whoever is held responsible, be it the trainer, veterinarian, or someone else should never be allowed to participate in horse racing again.

1 comment:

JLB said...

LOng-time fans also remember Los Alamitos as a hotbed of harness racing, and veteran Monticello reinsman Jim Grundy established a successful West Coast career there. Other stars included Joe Anderson and Shelly Goudreau. In the 70's, quarterhorse racing there was one of the jewels of that circuit. It is remarkable how that breed's fortunes have plunged, as the track now relies upon $ 2000 claimers to fill the card,and consistently presents 6-horse and 7-horse fields at a track where the norm used to be 10.