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Friday, December 20, 2013

You Win One, You Lose One

In Michigan, it is harness horsemen 1, thoroughbred horsemen 0 as the MGCB turned down the request to convert Northville Downs to a thoroughbred/mixed meet facility after a 10 day harness meet.  However, the MGCB has not yet ruled on the request by Hazel Park to switch over.

In the request, the MGCB said the business plan was based on 'what ifs' with  regards to the state legislature and said the change would not be in the best interest for horse racing in the state.  Of course, this precludes the runners from being at Northville Downs in 2014, but there is nothing to say the request may be refiled for the 2015 meet with a more definitive business plan.  In that case, harness racing's victory may be short lived.

On the other hand, it would appear racing at Rosecroft, at least under the control of Penn National Gaming, is likely coming to a conclusion in the near future as the MGM proposal to build a casino at National Harbor was the winning proposal for Prince George County, meaning Rosecroft will have to go it alone as a racetrack.  Quite honestly, with Penn National really interested in gaming operations, how long will they stick around and operate Rosecroft?  The crystal ball is getting cloudy there.  The contract with the horsemen is guaranteed for 2014 with a two year option.  Unless something changes, I would sadly expect Penn not to exercise their option for the two years. 

Being Ocean Downs races what they have to race, I don't see them picking up additional dates so it would put Maryland standardbred racing back where it was before Rosecroft was reopened.

While we can't say the die were cast ahead of time, it should be noted that Pols wanted National Harbor to get the casino.  However, to be fair the vote was 5-2 in favor of MGM with the two votes for Parx's plan for a racino.  The Rosecroft proposal got no support at all though lottery officials said if their mandate was to consider horseracing, they may have voted for the Penn National Proposal.

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