Gulfstream officials envision an unmatched racing and entertainment complex, but today it's a sea of cranes, exposed girders and patches of rocky land. A bettor probably would wonder if a grand opening just four weeks away shouldn't be a long shot on the tote boards. If there were tote boards.I believe him when he says they’ll be racing there on Jan 4, but what facilities will be ready for the public is hard to say. I hope they still have some of those tents handy.
What are the odds Gulfstream won't reach the starting gate Jan. 4?
"Zero," President Scott Savin said. "Because if me and everyone on my staff has to pick up hammers and nails, we're going to be running races on Jan. 4 and taking care of patrons. Failure is not an option."
Partially because of delays from Hurricane Wilma, Gulfstream officials are prioritizing work that must be finished before opening. That includes the first floor of the structure, including the jockeys' and simulcasting rooms; the paddock and its apron; a walking ring that wraps around a fountain; and second-floor club-level seating.I’m planning my trip there for President’s Day weekend as I usually do, and I imagine they’ll be a bit further along by then. Patrick will be there a couple of weeks before then; he'll see much better racing than I will, but he may be watching them while wearing a hardhat in the heat (though I imagine that Frank Stronach himself will make sure that the air conditioning is working from Day One). Unfortunately, the hotel on Hollywood Beach that I generally stay at is closed due to damage from the hurricane. Seems like they had a bit of a mess down there.
- Pennsylvania’s slots are not just about horse racing. The state’s Gaming Control Board is now accepting applications for licenses, and when they are done awarding all its licenses, there will be 14 slots parlors in the state _ a dozen that can offer as many as 5,000 slot machines and two that will be limited to 500. [AP] That’s a lot of gambling for one state. Just seven of the casinos will be at tracks. Two of the stand-alone 5,000-slot parlors are for Philly, one for Pittsburgh, and two more are up for grabs for the rest of the state, and the competition for those, as well as for the ones designated for the cities figures to be fierce.
The board will not disclose who has applied until after the deadline. And rumors are rife about who is interested in what site _ some even claim that Las Vegas casino magnate Steve Wynn was spotted in Philadelphia and the Lehigh Valley.Still unresolved as well is the last remaining harness/casino license, for which both applicants were rejected a couple of weeks ago
"For every supposed application out there, there's probably another four or five entities that have seriously looked at entering the Pennsylvania market," said Joe Weinert, the vice president of Spectrum Gaming Group, an Atlantic City, N.J.-based gambling consulting firm.
- Three horses from the Cigar Mile were retired to stud. Winner Purge (Pulpit) will stand for $20,000, Mass Media (Touch Gold) for $7,500, and Value Plus (Unbridled’s Song) for $10,000, that for a horse who won three races in 15 career starts. I was at one of those, an allowance win at Gulfstream in Feb, 2004, and it was quite eye-catching; so much so that I bet him in the Derby futures pool. He only won one race after that, and it was also at Gulfstream, the following year, and it equaled the career high 108 Beyer he earned the day I saw him. He actually never came anywhere near that number in his other 12 races, but you can bet that his stud advertisement will say something like “Earned 108 Beyer speed ratings at 3 and 4!” He was purchased privately by the breeders who will stand him prior to the Cigar, so it figures that he shot out to the lead, because now they can also put in their ad “Led the Grade 1 Cigar Mile through six furlongs in 1:09!” I should be the guy who writes this stuff, doncha think?