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Sunday, December 28, 2014

Hope for Vernon Downs?

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo sent a letter to the New York Gaming Commission asking them to reopen bidding for a casino license in the 'true' Southern Tier of New York.  If bidding is reopened, Tioga Downs would be the leading candidate as the only other bidder in the Southern Tier, Traditions, has scrapped plans for a casino and have joined Gural's Tioga Downs project.

While it is imagined any new bidding would allow for new applicant's to join the fray, it is expected Tioga Downs would be the leading candidate to win.  A victory by Tioga Downs would bolster the chances of Vernon Downs to continue racing as any expanded gaming at Tioga would contribute to Vernon's continued operation.  Of course, while likely, there is no guarantee the NYSGC will reopen bidding and even if it is, the date additional applications would become due and when any selection is made is unknown.  

Having been away for a few days, I have been quiet, but going through my mail and elsewhere, I can't help but note the Meadowlands Pace has a named sponsor, Crawford Farms.  Sponsorship of the Meadowlands Pace means not only funds for the Pace and marketing, it adds panache to the event.  While it is great someone in the racing industry is stepping forward to support one of the premier events, it would have been better if a national brand would have been a sponsor as it would increase visibility to an event.   Hopefully, sponsorship to other events, Meadowlands and elsewhere, can be found.

Do you remember Susan Looney?  A racing accident made Looney decide the racing game was no longer for her, but what does a high-school drop out do?  Looney got her GED and went back to school and never left the world of academia.  While we focus almost exclusively on the standardbred sport, the fact is not ever driver and trainer makes it in the industry.  It is nice to see someone walk away and become successful, especially since consolidation will force some racing participants to seek employment elsewhere.  Here is a profile of Looney, courtesy of  the Times Leader.

While of no interest to racing fans, Workers Compensation is an important factor for many industry participants.  Some states require owners or trainers to have workers compensation plans for their employees.  In New Jersey, case was decided where trainers are ruled not to be employees of owners as they have control over most decisions regarding horses, hence they may be considered independent contractors.  The status of stable employees is clear.  Less clear is the status of drivers.  In New York, they are considered employees but in other states, drivers may be considered independent contracotrs.

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