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Saturday, May 10, 2014

Jackson Raceway Rises Like a Phoenix?

Is harness racing about to return the jab it was dealt by the MGCB, Hazel Park Raceway, and Northville Downs?  Former head of the MHHA, Brett Boyd (Editor: Not Nick Boyd as originally listed) is looking to lease the Jackson County Fairgrounds to revive Jackson Raceway.  Make no mistake, time is of essence and it would require the MGCB to make a couple of exceptions to their rules in order for it to happen.  Likely?  Well, being the MGCB allowed these two tracks to revise their dates request and change the breeds, it seems the Michigan regulators bend the rules already so while a long shot it is a possibility.  We can only hope so.

Penn National Gaming claims when Lawrence Downs opens up it will keep the focus on racing, as they were once told gaming came into Pennsylvania on the back of horses.  According to Chris McErlean, this is their intent as being one of the few mile tracks in the country (extended meets), they expect a big program.

Pardon me for not taking them at their word.  Even if they intend to put an emphasis on racing, how can they expect to do so by having takeout rates in the 30s.  With rates like this, they may put on the best standardbred party in the world, but is it a party if few gamblers show up in person or virtually through their ADW?  If Penn National Gaming truly wants to keep the focus on gaming, they should be working now on reducing the take out rates  on bets, before the track opens.

A trio of New Jersey organizations are developing a plan to offer enhanced purses and racing opportunities for NJ-sired standardbreds.  It is about time as the stated policy for allowing horse racing in every state which allows parimutuel horse racing is to stimulate the breeding industry.  Unfortunately, you can't stimulate the breeding industry if you offer substandard purses with few racing opportunities.  Some may argue the Meadowlands is what is keep the industry going in the States and it may be true, but before worrying about the entire nation, it needs to take care of its own.  After all, with the exception of the Grand Circuit meet at Lexington, find me a track which doesn't offer a preference to its own state's horses.  The Meadowlands should be no exception.

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