- The Fair Grounds will reopen, according to its owner Churchill Downs, but when that will happen is unknown; the company is expected to make an announcement about the 2006-07 season by April 15. Churchill has found insurance coverage for the track, and one can only imagine at what cost.
"We're presently working on plans to open Fair Grounds for racing once we can guarantee we'll have a workforce in place and that there is a desire for racing in the area," [CFO Mike] Miller told shareholders. [Thoroughbred Times]While increased business at New Orleans OTBs indicates that there is the desire, the workforce is another question. 200 more employees are needed to conduct a meet. [Louisville Courier-Journal]
A study released earlier this week concluded that by September 2008, the city’s population could reach 272,000, which is only 56% of the pre-Katrina count. The current population is estimated at about 155,000 and could increase to 198,000 by September, the study says. [Shreveport Times]
- The bill before the Kentucky House of Representatives to authorize a referendum on casino gambling does not specify locations, nor that the parlors would be located at racetracks. It also does not spell out any revenue split for the racing industry. In any event, the measure is not expected to pass before the House adjourns on March 28. If a bill is not passed during this session, supporters of casino gambling will not be able to get another constitutional referendum on the ballot until 2008. [Daily Racing Form]
- Not every trainer thinks that Gulfstream’s Derby prep series sucks. While Todd Pletcher has skipped town, and Frank Brothers intends to send First Samurai (does anyone still think he’s a Derby horse?) to the Blue Grass, Kiaran McLaughlin is keeping Flashy Bull right where he is.
“…the timing of the races down here is excellent if you're looking to get a horse to the Kentucky Derby, and I really didn't want to disrupt his schedule."McLaughlin nearly won the Derby last year with Closing Argument. He had intended to run him in the Florida Derby five weeks out, and switched to the Blue Grass only after the horse hurt his foot.
"A lot of people say you can't win the Derby running in a prep five weeks out. But that's because very few horses have tried it, since traditionally most of the final preps have been carded three weeks before the Derby.” [The Downey Profile]