Doubling Down: Once again, Jeff Gural has signaled failure of obtaining a casino license will result in the likely demise of Vernon Downs. What is different this time is Gural sounds the alarm Tioga Downs would likely face closure as well. You may ask "What Happened?" Wasn't it just in December when the casino license went to a location in the Finger Lakes that Gural indicated Vernon Downs was in jeopardy but he would keep Tioga open as the people have been supportive of the facility?
You would absolutely be right. However, by getting the state to reopen bidding in the Southern Tier region, should the gaming license be awarded to someone else, it would be in Tioga's backyard. Right now, Gural is the only one known to be filing an application, but there are rumors the Mayor of Binghamton is trying to get casino operators interested.
Doubling down may wipe out both tracks. Should the Meadowlands not be awarded a casino license within the next three years, it is possible all the Gural tracks may end up being relegated to history.
RUS, One Solution to the Dwindling Owner Issue: Meanwhile, people are wondering what can be done to attract new owners to the industry. Here is one suggestion; supporting RUS. That's right, Racing Under Saddle attracts new owners, as is evidenced by this "In the Sulky" broadcast with Tara Hynes. If you wish to get right to the point where this topic is raised, you may click here. However, if you wish to watch the whole segment where Justin Horowitz interviews Hynes on several subjects, including the social network effort which managed to save seven horses from the kill pen, watch the video below. From watching this segment, you can see Hynes is something; something good.
Hynes is not the only person who got involved in harness racing as a result of RUS. It also gets more women involved in the sport and provides a different take on standardbred racing which will interest existing players as well as attract thoroughbred players.
Lou Pena Back in the News: I thought all was settled with the Lou Pena situation but I was wrong. As reported late yesterday, the New York State Gaming Commission was victorious in the appeals court in getting the charges against Pena reinstated. The NYSGC will review the hearing officer's recommendations and likely expel Pena from the sport and hit him with heavy fines. Then it will be back to court.
I don't agree with the court's decision. How does a hearing report due in 30 days which gets finally handed in 13 months later not be considered a violation of Pena's right to due process even if the law which specifies a 30 day deadline on hearing officer's decisions is considered 'advisory'. Sixty days, Ninety days, maybe considering the size of the case, but thirteen months? Even if advisory, this is far too long. With regard to the court's finding the delay was not done with prejudice? The whole case has been a witch hunt; you can't tell me the board was not trying to leave Pena out to dry. That being said, the court has people who studied law and case law so while I disagree with it, one must respect the decision.
I'm not saying Pena is innocent, but he's a victim of the NYSGC and the NJRC which aided the New York regulator.. This could all be part of a movie called "Get Pena".