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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Harness Racing at Hazel Park?

Over at Hazel Park Raceway (still called a raceway?), track management and thoroughbred horsemen spent purse money like a drunk during this meet, spending an extra $24,000 a night.  Perhaps they thought additional spending on purses would improve their product and the excess would be made up in handle, but regardless of their reason they have dropped the last 10 days of their meet because they ran out of money in the purse account.

But of more interest is there is $1 million available for standardbred horsemen in their purse account if an agreement between standardbred horsemen and management can be reached.  My question is why haven't the standardbred horsemen asked for this money to be transferred to Northville Downs which is still hosting harness racing?  Perhaps both sides see an eventual compromise to their disagreement and the resumption of harness racing at Hazel Park?

They aren't going to make things easy for Jeff Gural are they?  The Lagos casino (to be built) and Senaca County have suggested the NYSGC adopt a 90 mile exclusionary zone statewide for casinos to avoid competition.  Just so happens Tioga Downs falls within this zone at 86 miles.  No doubt coincidence?  Of course not.  Personally, I don't think the state will adopt such a policy as downstate, the two most logical places for casinos, Aqueduct Racetrack and Yonkers Raceway are certainly far closer than 90 miles so it could cause problems down the road for the state. But still, you never know what could happen.  If Lagos is so worried about competition, why did they apply for a license in Tyre, near Indian Casinos and instead apply for a license in the Southern Tier proper rather than a location where competition already exists?

Prairie Meadows was given a lecture by their most successful owner that they needed to advertise more if they want racing to succeed to which she was told the facility spends $200,000 or 60% of their advertising budget on racing.  Well, I am not sure what $200,000 gets you in advertising in Iowa, but based on their results, it goes to show you spending money on advertising for advertising sake is worthless, you need to think about your campaign.  By the waay, Prairie Meadows has not committed to racing past 2019 when their contract ends.

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