For photos from the Meadowlands contact

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Dead Before it is Built; Getting Tough on Program Trainers

I've said it before, I say it now.  The Lawrence Downs Casino and Racing Resort will never be built.  The state of Pennsylvania should pull the plug on this project once and for all.  Penn National Gaming, which was going to manage the project has decided to back out, a move which no doubt will end up in court as they were going to provide a significant amount of financing for the project, putting Endeka Entertainment in serious trouble.   

Penn National Gaming (PNG) argues the saturation of gaming in the area makes it hard to get financing.  No doubt there is a saturation of gaming in the region, especially with the gaming available in Eastern Ohio, which happens to be operated by PNG.  Endeka is now taking PNG to court, claiming they entered into the partnership knowing they would back out due to the saturation.

I am no legal expert, so I won't comment on the merits of Endeka's claims.  I do know there is an over saturation of gaming when you look at Ohio, PNG also claims the same situation occurs in Pennsylvania.   What I do know is the proposed site is relatively close to the Meadows.  As long as the Meadows will race year-round, there is no need for another track in the Western part of the state.

Were I the regulators, I would give Endeka one year to choose an alternate site in the state; perhaps in the central part of the state to identify a location for a track where the competition with other tracks and gaming sites would be minimized.  After that, I would pull the license and put it on the shelf.

Lawrence Downs will never be built.  It is about time everyone admits it.                                                                          '

Program trainers are a scourge at many tracks for all breeds.  The Racing Officials 
Accreditation Program (ROAP) is working this year on the problem of program trainers. also known as beards.  Some people call the existence of program trainers a conspiracy because dealing with program trainers is basically done on a track level and it depends on the willingness to go through the steps necessary to prove a trainer is a beard.

As reported in  The Bloodhorse, what ROAP is proposing is the following:

The recommendations include investigating any person suspected of being a program trainer; develop enforceable penalties and sanctions for rule violations; and ensure that any such trainer, when suspected of being simply a name on the program page, be subject to a regular stewards' hearing. Owners would be brought into the process as well by being asked if they know who is actually training their horses.

It will be interesting to see how receptive commissions and tracks will be towards implementing the process necessary to deal with this issue.

In an effort to keep the supply of horses steady at the Meadowlands, a new series "The Spring Preview" will be established for green horses.  Races for NW1 and NW2 will be offered with eliminations of $12,500 or $15,000 with finals worth $30,000 (NW1) or $35,000 (NW2) the following week.  There is a starting fee of $500 for the eliminations.  Expect to see more of these types of races (called 'overnight stakes' in the t-bred world) to help fill the entry box.  

No comments: