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Thursday, April 28, 2005

Florida Slots Stalled

- Competing proposals on slots have emerged in the Florida House and Senate on slots approved by Broward County voters, and, like in Maryland, the differences are profound and some, including Senate President Tom Lee, are not optimistic: "I would say it's less than a 50-50 chance right now.” The House bill is much closer to the desires of Governor Jeb Bush, who just signed NRA-backed legislation increasing citizens’ rights to shoot first and ask questions later; in fact, Lee says there could be "nothing happening until there is a new governor." [Sun-Sentinal] The House provides for a high tax rate of 55%, and declares that the voters who clearly went to the polls thinking they were voting for genuine, Las-Vegas slots, in fact voted for the Class II “bingo-type” machines. The idea that they might be voting for anything else but the real deal was not even a possibility until Bush mentioned it shortly before the vote, when he also promised that despite his opposition, he would follow the will of the people should slot be approved.

Given the fact that his last name is Bush, his dishonesty should be no surprise. His brother pledged to “reach out” to Democrats after the election, and he has done so by trying to ram John Bolton down even moderate Republicans' throats, as well as re-nominating already-rejected and contentious judges with wacked-out conservative views like California Supreme Court Justice Janice Rogers Brown, which may lead to the Republicans to invoke the nuclear option by arbitrarily changing the rules of the Senate to prevent filibusters and snuff out the voice of Democratic Senators who represent nearly half of American voters.

The Florida House bill also contains a provision that would allow slots to be overturned by referendum, which some say will discourage companies from commencing building projects. The Senate’s bill is far more friendly to the pari-mutuels, with Las Vegas slots, a lower tax rate, and no limits on the number of machines. The pari-mutuels could file a lawsuit if no agreement is reached.

- I mentioned the other day the move to re-open Hialeah as a way to gain approval of slots in Miami-Dade county. (via Albany Law School) notes that: Instead of slots saving the tracks, a track would reopen to save slots.

- Embarrassed after the resounding defeat of their botched investigation of Marty Wygod, the CHRB has dropped their “conduct detrimental to racing” complaints against Julio Canani and Jeff Mullins.

- This is a great piece by the Philly Daily News’ Dick Jerardi on the local gang that owns Afleet Alex, detailing the road the group and the horse each took leading up to the purchase. As he notes, it really is amazing that for the second time in three years, you have a prominent contender owned by a bunch of regular guys that hit the big time, in this case with their very first horse, that they pooled their money to buy for $75,000.

Within days, Ritchey was telling the partners they had something special, that they might be taking the colt to Saratoga for the big races. Five weeks after he was purchased, Afleet Alex made his debut at Delaware Park. He won by 11 lengths. Barely 2 weeks later, the colt won by 12 lengths at Delaware.

They were all off to Saratoga, where Afleet Alex won the Sanford Stakes in a time so fast that it seemed something must have been wrong with the teletimer. Only it (1:09.32) was real. So was Alex's victory in the Grade I Hopeful Stakes at the Spa. [Phila Daily News]

- As for my so far somewhat less fortunate entry into horse ownership, the final day of the Ocala April sale is underway, and our Tactical Cat colt, hip 1180, will be, hopefully, sold soon. I don’t have the proper plug-ins to watch the sale live, which really sucks! But we should hear something soon.