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Sunday, February 23, 2014

Sunday Briefs

Congratulations to Bob Marks and Kathy Parker on the nomination to the Communicators Corner at the Hall of Fame at Goshen,  Both well deserve their nominations and hopefully they will be elected this summer,

Tonight at the Dan Patch Awards dinner, expect Bee A Magician to be named horse of the year.

Will racing continue at Plainridge Raceway?  We should find out this week as those responsible for selecting the slot parlor licensee is expected to announce their decision this week.

Yonkers Raceway trumpets that last night, they hit a season high handle of  $1.024 million dollars for their race card.  Ho hum.  Meadowlands Racing and Entertainment reports their handle was $3.6 million.  So while Yonkers may be the king of racing purse-wise, gamblers clearly prefer the track in the 'swanp'.  While many complain about the purses at the Meadowlands, could you imagine what Tonkers would be racing for if there was no slot revenue?

The Monticello Raceway dispute continues on.  With the turning off of interstate simulcasting, purses so far have been cut 40%.  How united are the horsemen?  I suspect not as united as they would like people to think as some owners have taken horses away from Monticello-based trainers to race at other tracks as well as there being some trainers having problems paying their feed bills.  After all, before the purses were cut, some trainers were not exactly rolling in the dough, so racing for less money and losing horses (training bills), means financial difficulties for trainers.

Again, I am curious to know why the MHHA decided to take a principled stance whereas the SOA had the opportunity to do so but decided to punt on the issue as the hated legislation became law before their contract was agreed to.  It is a known fact there is no love lost between the SOA leadership and Jeff Gural.  Could the reason the SOA decided to punt on this issue have something to do with a cut of purses at Yonkers due to withholding the simulcasting signal would result in an exodus of horses to race at the Meadowlands?

Make no mistake, New York horsemen have a valid concern about the capping of subsidies at 2013 levels.  It is possible VLTs could be swapped out for traditional slot machines and cut subsidies to horsemen.  Some protection should be given horsemen to protect them from the effects of a track trying to swap machines out to avoid having to pay horsemen their commission.  If there is a cap on payments, there should be a floor on payments.  Yes, the tracks were involved in the crafting of this legislation but this battle needs to be fought in Albany, not at Monticello, Nichols, Saratoga Springs, Vernon, or Yonkers.

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