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Sunday, November 3, 2013

How is the NJ Thoroughbred Breeding Doing, Election Day the Start of a Recovery?

In this blog I often talk about how the stanadardbred industry is being hurt by the refusal to offer slots at the racetracks.  Not that I am a big fan of slots, it is making a deal with the devil but when the rest of the industry has embraced the (formerly) one arm bandits, it is a case of you better join in or you won't be around much longer.

Anyway, the thoroughbred industry is struggling greatly, if not worse than the standardbred industry.  Good thing the runners don't have a sires stakes program as the 2013 foal crop in New Jersey is a mere 122 foals with the drop expected to continue.  New Jersey standardbreds are fairing slightly better with 166 foals registered thus far this year.    By the time these foals get to the races at two, how many will actually be starters?  How many of those will actually race in New Jersey?  Not many.

As with standardbreds, thoroughbred breeders are bailing on New Jersey and heading to more lucrative states including the newly resuscitated program in Maryland.  The way things are going, it is possible in a few years, New Jersey will be a state without any breeding programs per se, needing to import their entire racing stock from other states.

Of course, as bad as breeding has become for both breeds in New Jersey, we know how quickly things can turn around with the introduction of slots into a state.  As quick as the exodus was out of the state, they will be lining up on the border fighting to come in when (if) slots comes to New Jersey.  The big question is if and when this will happen?

Two things seem certain come election day.  In New Jersey, Governor Christie will win re-election and he has said Atlantic City has 2.5 years remaining on their exclusivity with gaming.  In New York, it is likely the Constitutional Amendment to legalize casino gambling in the state will pass.   While this amendment will keep casinos out of New York City for a few years, you know they will be coming, coming to seduce New Jersey gamblers even more.  That 30 minute drive to Yonkers is too much?  New York will have a casino just on the other side of the Hudson there to take New Jersey dollars and make them New York dollars.

So while the Governor of New Jersey is beholden to Atlantic City interests, the question is will Christie be able to ignore the mocking which will come out of Albany; a virtual glove slap across the face?  My guess is no.  It is my personal opinion that an amendment to allow casino gambling at at least the Meadowlands will be put up for a vote next year with the provision the first casino doesn't open until the 5 year period of exclusivity is over.  The question is who will operate the casinos and how much money will go to racing.

Partner in Crime - You may have noticed I have not been introducing Joe F.'s columns of late.  Since he has come up with some excellent columns discussing quite honestly topics which are not my forte, I have decided to give him the virtual keys to the blog, allowing Joe to post directly, skipping the middle man.  Of course, I will likely be posting more than Joe, but if you want to see who is posting what, just look at the bottom of each post and it will indicate either Pacingguy or Joe f.

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