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Saturday, December 20, 2014

Saturday Briefs

There was an interesting interview with Jeff Gural about the casino site selection decision in the Finger Lakes/Southern Tier region after he had time to reflect on the decision.  Tioga Downs is safe, Vernon has at least two years before its continued profitability is determined and possible closing may come.

On the Thoroughbred side, negotiations between horsemen and Suffolk Downs broke down so it looks like there will be no racing in 2015 in East Boston.  Suffolk Downs is lobbying the state to have them change the law to allow simulcasting without live racing.  Good luck to them on that for even if the state legislature goes along with it, how many horsemen groups are going to allow their signal to be exported to the track?  Most likely any simulcasting will be primarily greyhound and standardbred.

While Brockton Fairgrounds is willing to host a thoroughbred meet, the HBPA has told the Massachusetts Gaming Commission that they don't want to race on a 5/8 mile track.  While I can understand their preference for a mile track, beggars shouldn't be choosy.  Racing on a bull ring is better than nothing.

Congratulations Spider M who is finally retiring from racing at the age of 15.  That's right, while the mandatory retirement age is 14, Spider's connections managed to get a one year extension by the judges at Fraiser Downs after the horse went through a physical because he loved competing.  Granted, his extra year has not been successful, a record of 12-0-1-1, earning $1,447.  One has to love a competitive horse who keeps on racing.  Best wishes on your retirement.

While Spider M has not been successful with his extra year, one has to wonder if the rules need to be changed in an effort to fight a shortage of horses.  If owners wish to race their horses past retirement age, there should be a way for judges to approve an extension on an annual basis after an extensive physical.  However, to protect the public, the judges should have the ability to rule off a horse if they feel it is not competitive even if they meet qualifying time.  To even things out, race secretaries should card races for the senior circuit, horses aged 10 and up.

The current edition of Trot magazine celebrates its 40th anniversary and highlights the biggest events of the last 40 years which occured primarily in Canada.  One thing which struck me was how many tracks closed over the last 40 years.   How it must have been going to tracks like Garden City now a memory.  Windsor Raceway an 'A' track along with Flamboro Downs.  If racing in Canada was like what we had back then at Yonkers and Rooeveilt, it must have been a great time.  A time which unfortunately will never come back due to the change in the public's preferences.

Have a great Saturday.

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