Friday, April 19, 2013

Slots, Breaking Bad and Some @Itsthejho & @keenegal

Good morning racing fans!

Slots at Thistledown gets off to an inauspicious debut. Horsemen have blocked the signal, and hey, why not right?:
  •  Ohio horsemen don’t appear to be worried, since a new law grants them at least nine percent of revenue from the track’s slot machines if there is no agreement with the track on a set portion. The first condition book still contains purses which are an average of 65 percent higher than last year in anticipation of coming subsidies, and there are an average of 9.9 horses entered in the eight races on the opening card.
I don't know how many customers have been lost over the years with signal blockages, but it's probably more than a few.

Speaking of slots, a bettor-type talks slots at the Meadowlands and what that can do for harness racing (pdf):
  •  Currently, even with many jurisdictions with slots, change and vision and reinvestment is not part of the picture. In Ontario we saw the Racing Development and Sustainability plan left unfunded. In many other jurisdictions we see some tinkering, but very little in the way of investment or major change. If slots are approved at the Meadowlands I'd bet dollars to donuts the proceeds would be used much
    differently. And everyone - every fan, every bettor, every customer, every yearling buyer or breeder, every horsemen, every track executive and every third party software maker like Dave Vicary - should be pulling for it to happen.
Speaking of slots (III), Sue Leslie of OHRIA commented about if the Slots at Racetracks program in Ontario will ever come back:
  •  "I personally don't think it will return, particularly in the form that it was. I'm hopeful that there may be some form of slot revenue sharing at some racetracks but I would doubt very much that there's going to be an industry program called slots-at-racetracks going forward."
#FridayFollow - Yesterday, everyone's twitter friend Melissa made her TVG debut, handicapping the fourth race at Keeneland. By all accounts she did a good job, and arguably had the best bet in the race, with the 12 horse coming third after a super-wide trip. You can follow her at @keenegal on twitter.

We've spoke about it here for bigger harness races, The Prince of Wales Stakes might be raced this year on a Tuesday.  Packaging a race like that when there are fewer races (and competition) going on is smart in this day and age.

I was handicapping Keeneland's 7th race yesterday, looking for some sort of a bomb, because I was not in love with the chalks. I came across a replay for one horse, who just so happened to be in Java's War's maiden attempt. Guess what? Java's War broke bad. It's something to think about come Derby Day, I think.

John Pricci said what needed to be said about the Baffert situation.
  • Common sense dictates that seven cardiac-related deaths from one barn in 18 months, five during training hours, is way beyond the pale. Horsemen interviewed by myself and others are warily suspicious to say the least, their observations going beyond the usual competitive jealousy. The animal is at the heartbeat of this way of life. What is problematic has been the public deference shown toward Mr. Baffert by CHRB members one day before--through a public relations firm and on the advice of counsel-- he would issue the ill-considered “personally troubling” statement. 
California racing, in my opinion, acts like it is on an island, and like its participants and governing bodies can somehow control it in any way they see fit. California racing is one of the faces of racing in the sport, and right now (from the outside looking in) I agree with John that it appears it is suffering from a lack of strong and informed leadership. If that is happening, it affects everyone in the sport, not just California.

#FollowFriday II It's the JHO! Justin over at Vernon has created a Showvivor contest for harness bettors with a $1500 first prize. If you win, who knows, maybe you'll meet his cousin JLO! You can follow JHO here: @itsthejho

Have a nice Friday everyone.

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