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Thursday, July 3, 2014

A Thaw in NJ Slots?

Hell must have frozen over as it has been revealed that NJ State Senate President Sweeney has held private conversations with individuals regarding a North Jersey casino, presumably at the Meadowlands, with eyes looking forward to a referendum in November 2015, a full year before Governor Christie originally indicated.  Now, Senator Sweeney did indicate one condition would be the casino would have to provide, dare I say it, a subsidy to Atlantic City to help with its redevelopment.

Senator Sweeney is the key person supporting the Atlantic City logjam with his refusal to advance any casino legislation for votes in the State Senate.  True, Governor Christie has said Atlantic City should get five years without competition which means 2016, but the truth is the Governor can and likely would change his tune if Senator Sweeney voiced his approval being he cites the Senate President's blockade as a reason not to talk about an expansion of gaming; it would be a moot point.

The lunacy of the fight between Gulfstream Park and Calder Race Course has come to an end with the Stonarch Group's Gulfstream Park coming out victorious.  Of course the cynic may say Churchill Down's Calder Race Course has won.  The two tracks which are a mere eight miles apart were racing this year head-to-head and an agreement has been reached for Gulfstream Park to take all the racing dates in South Florida.  In return, Calder will lease 40 of the Gulfstream dates in order to race the minimum number of days required in order to maintain their slot license.

Of course it was lunacy to have two tracks that close to each other in the first place but that's the way it was.  With Gulfstream controlling all the race dates in South Florida for thoroughbred racing, my guess is it will put a damper on any idea to add thoroughbred dates at Hialeah Park which currently races quarter horses.  Once before, Hialeah took on Gulfstream Park which resulted in Hialeah to close up and bring it to the brink of extinction.  Back then, Calder was in the mix as well but now with Gulfstream holding all the 'thoroughbred' cards, a trainer and jockey would be foolish to risk racing at Hialeah as they may find themselves on the outside.  Of course, if Florida develops a proper racing commission which could assign dates, then Hialeah may be able to secure thoroughbred dates.

Where is the standarbred connection?  With a behemoth like Gulfstream in the neighborhood, is it possible they may be able to exert their muscles on Pompano Park?  Time will tell.

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