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Monday, July 6, 2015

Some Good News for Gural, Tioga, and Vernon Downs

After a drought of good news for Jeff Gural, you would have to excuse him if he has a smile today as the one known opposing bid for a casino license in the Southern Tier has withdrawn from consideration as some financial backers have dropped out due to concerns regarding New York tax credits. 

While another unknown developer could come to the forefront at the last minute (bids are due today), for all practical purposes the NYSGC will only have one application for the Southern Tier license.  While the licensing committee could decide a Tioga bid is not satisfactory, it is highly unlikely this would be the case as Gural certainly must have learned from the first time Tioga Down's application was rejected.

In addition to Gural, horsemen at Tioga Downs as well as Vernon Downs must be smiling and relieved.  Vernon Down's existence is dependent on how profitable Tioga is as Tioga sends money to Vernon Downs to keep them operating..  Of course, Tioga's horsemen are smiling at the fact a casino appears to be on its way for it keeps Tioga operating at its current level and secures their purses (state law caps how much horsemen get from alternate gaming, unless something creative 
is negotiated with the horsemen as was done at Monticello). 

How big will it be for Tioga Downs if they do receive the sole gaming license?  Pull The Pocket wrote an excellent piece as to why no one worries about handle at tracks anymore once there is gaming revenue coming in as can be seen from Plainrdige's recent racino opening..In the long run, it may sink racing, but for the immediate and near term, slot revenue is like manna from heaven.

When talking about European trotting, one talks about France, the Scandinavian countries, and Italy to a lesser degree,  You may even occasionally hear of racing from Holland, Germany; even Ireland and the UK.  But Hungary?  Yes, Hungary?  Harnessslink has an article about the 101st edition of the  Hungarian Trotting Derby.  If you have windows media player or flash player, you ill ble able to see the Derby as well as other races on the card.  

At Goshen on Saturday, there was an accident in the 10th race, an amateur event when two horses locked wheels and the drivers were dumped.   The two horse ran off, one going the wrong way.  Fortunately, one trainer ran out onto the track to get one horse to stop and a driver done for the day jumped out of the grandstand to grab the other, avoiding disaster.  Fortunately, drivers and horses were unharmed from the incident.  

One may ask where the outrider was?  Historic Track doesn't have an outrider for their short four day meet in an obvious cost cutting move.  I understand the reason but I reject the thought racing can be conducted without an outrider.  If not for the two individuals who jumped into action, who knows what disaster may have happened?  It is not only Historic Track which lacks and outrider, Saratoga Harness also does without.  The USTA should mandate an outrider at all tracks anytime racing takes place.

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