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Friday, January 8, 2016

Alberta on the Ropes

There is uncertainty in the future of racing in Alberta as the province has not yet renewed the memo of understanding which allocates slot revenue to racing.  The MOU expires in March.  Failure to have a MOU will bring racing to a halt at Northlands Park for both breeds as well as the relatively new Alberta Downs.

Another year, another story on how Scarborough Downs is on the ropes.  There is an attempt underway for a referendum to allow another casino in Maine.  There is talk of a potential buyer who may wish to by Scarborough to have a racino attached to it while there is speculation the person who wishes to have the casino may press for a stand alone casino which would have no connection to the track, putting it out of business.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

I really haven't talked about the tragic fire at Classy Lane Training Centre because there is little to be said.  It is great the racing community comes together to support those impacted by the fire, but one has to wonder if a greater effort was spent towards fireproofing barns (as well as one can), we can avoid the need to fundraise for those effected.  If you haven't yet made a donation and wish to do so, there are GoFundMe fundraisers to benefit those who lost their racing stock at Classy Lane.


Anonymous said...

Let's face it. There is no profit guarantee for a track. Never was. Even before slots existed to help racing, tracks went out of business. Cahokia Downs, Louisville Downs and Liberty Bell come to mind.

It's sad when people lose jobs and places to play, but when the money or demand isn't there, a business disappears. Smart, aggressive and customer oriented track operators who build a customer base have the best chance for a future. Those operators who have no money, or choose not to spend it, fade away against the competition.

Marv said...

Horse barn fires are among the most horrific things that can happen in the horse industry. Since the barns are open to the outdoors (given that horses, equipment and feed need to go in and out frequently), it becomes very difficult to put sprinklers and non-lethal fire suppression systems into what amounts to a tinderbox (straw, hay, wood walls, heaters, etc.) in cold climates.

The one heartening thing about the fire is how the industry has come together to support the horsemen and women who have suffered devastating losses. Hundreds of thousands of dollars have been raised and offers of horses to train and equipment have been made to help those who have lost everything. How do we translate this unity into other initiatives to help everyone in the industry?