- Shut out of the latest slots referendum proposal for Ohio, Cincinnati is mad as hell and has come up with a counterproposal that would include a non-racetrack, downtown casino. "How do you win what will be a very difficult [gambling] campaign when you take out a whole area of the state?" said Jerry Austin, spokesman for a newly formed pro-casino group in Cincinnati. [Cleveland Plain-Dealer] Proponents are prepared to go forward even if it means competing proposals on the November ballot in a state in which the fate of even a single, unified plan is most uncertain.
The plan which excludes Cincy was a compromise agreed on last week by three groups sponsoring separate plans. Penn National signed onto that plan only when the city was dropped. The company has a big investment in the nearby Argosy riverboat casino in Indiana, so you can figure out why. Penn National was originally opposed to non-racetrack sites altogether, but the new plan, championed by a group called Learn and Earn, does include two sites in downtown Cleveland. That is sparking opposition from Mountaineer (MTR Gaming), which owns Scioto Downs in Columbus.
MTR is unhappy that Learn and Earn's proposal would allow only the four sites in Cuyahoga County [Cleveland] - two horse tracks and two downtown sites - to vote on adding table games in 2010. The five other tracks would have only slots. [Plain-Dealer]All corporate interests are at play here. Learn and Earn seeks to funnel 30% of the proceeds, an estimated $700 million per year, to college tuition grants for graduating seniors.
- We see the more conservative side of Barclay Tagg back in play in his comments about Funny Cide, who will pass the Pimlico Special in favor of a Grade 3 on Preakness day. “I want to keep it easy on him for a while….He has won one race in one year. Come on." [Albany Times-Union]
One could have said “Come on” to him before the Derby. Showing Up certainly proved that he’s a quality horse with his effort, but it seems obvious that he would have been better suited in an easier spot for his 4th career race. Tagg, having read about the colt’s pedigree right here at Left at the Gate, knows that Showing Up is “all turf,” and is contemplating entering him in the $1 million Colonial Turf Cup on June 24 at Colonial Downs. OK, but how about a nice little allowance or minor stakes spot for the horse first? Come on!
- I’m not overly impressed with Steppenwolfer’s effort for third in the Derby. Kudos, of course, for another in-the-money effort – he hasn’t been worse than third since his first race. But he saved a lot of ground and just plodded on for the show spot past tired horses. Brother Derek’s race was far more impressive. Steppenwolfer will likely take a fair amount of money in the Belmont, and if so, as far as him winning the race, I would consider him an underlay.
- The pari-mutuels in Broward County bitched and moaned when the Florida legislature agreed on high tax rates for slots, and threatened not to go through with their lavish construction plans. I guess that was just a bluff, at least on the part of Isle of Capri, the owner of the Pompano Park harness track.
The $140 million development project will house 1,500 slot machines, a poker room, and four restaurants, including the company-branded Farraddays’ Steakhouse, a signature tropical-themed buffet, a full-service New York-style delicatessen, and one other restaurant yet to be named.And that doesn’t include the shopping, housing and a hotel [that] could come in the next several years. [Sun-Sentinal] Nice to read that they’ll actually put $10 million into the racetrack itself (remember that?) too.
The heart of the racino will include a multi-story feature bar, offering vibrant high action imagery and audio on multiple video displays. The project also includes new horseracing amenities, including a high-tech sports bar and wagering area overlooking the track, complete with grandstand seating and a new winner’s circle. [US Trotting Association]