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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Chicago Racing Going Under?

It is ironic, but a bill to help Chicago's harness racing tracks may be their undoing as it is expected that both Balmoral Park and Maywood Park will be filing for bankruptcy after an $80 million judgement against their owner, who apparently was shaken down by former Governor Blagojevich to get casino payments for tracks.  The hope is the tracks will be able to race after their expected Chapter 11 action if their negotiations with the casinos aren't productive.  However, being these casinos would love to see horse racing gone, the possibility of racing not being conducted does exist and is more than a longshot possibility.  The IRB has ordered expedited payments owed to the thoroughbred tracks so payments will be made prior to a bankruptcy filing.

Now for some Wednesday Briefs.....

The Dan Patch awards for trotters were named yesterday and Sebastian K was named aged trotter of the year yesterday by the USHWA.  While his victory doesn't surprise me, I am somewhat surprised by the margin, being first choice on 144 of 157 ballots.  On the aged mare trotter of they year, it was Classic Martine taking down the hardware, defeating Maven by being named on 91 of the ballots.

As for the younger horses, Team Takter had a hat trick with Father Patrick (3yo male trotter), Shake It Cerry (3yo filly trotter) and Pinkman (2yo male trotter),  With regards to the 2yo filly trotter, Team Burke gets its only entry with Mission Brief.

I have no arguments with the selections made and we'll see how we do with pacing awards being announced today.  On Thursday, trotter and pacer of the year winners will be announced as well as horse of the year.

If I had a vote, as much as I love Sebastian K, I think I would have to name Father Patrick as the trotter of the year although a case could be made for either.

The Confederation Cup returns to Flamboro Downs in 2015 although it will now be a race for 4 year olds in the early part of the season, helping to make racing for 4 year olds lucrative as they need to continue to order for their first crop to be eligible for stakes races.

EL Titan joins Father Patrick in the 'You Can Have it All' program as it is announced that Riina Rekilia's soon to be 4 year old will be returning in 2015 to  race and breed as a 4 year old.  Hopefully this is a new trend in having horses do double duty, not just as a 4 year old to get around the 'Gural Rule' and have their foals from their first season at stud  eligible for stakes races but perhaps in future years.

From Australia, here is an article labeled "Where Have Our Customers Gone?'.  While it is written
with regards to greyhound racing, pretty much what is said can be said for horse racing.  It is worth a read.

While we bemoan the decline of harness racing in the United States, it is nice to read about a revival of the sport in Ireland with the help from Le Trot.  This makes good business sense for not only does it improve the sport in Ireland, it helps develop a new market for PMU to simulcast its races to.  A win-win effort.

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