- We read last week of the reduced takeout for the brief summer meeting at Laurel. But a reminder of the severe problems in the Maryland racing industry came with the announcement of the reduced stakes schedule for the fall meet. No less than 11 stakes, including two $100,000 races, the Anne Arundel and the Martha Washington BC, have been slashed from the schedule. Some remaining stakes, including the Grade 1 DeFrancis Dash, will see their purses cut by $50,000. And every other race during the meet that runs from after Labor Day through the end of the year will be cut by $2,000. [Baltimore Sun]
- I guess that if you can get the U.S. and Iran to sit in the same room and agree on something, than anything is possible. Including getting TVG and TrackNet Media to do the same! And that did actually happen last week. The meeting came in the form of a forum at the National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association convention that also included representatives of Youbet and Woodbine. I never quite got around to mentioning that, but John over at Not to the Swift did, and it's worth reading this article from Bloodhorse to get an idea of what the issues are, and just how far apart the sides remain.
However, when people get together and talk, things can happen. And TrackNet has responded to pleas by the horsemen at that forum, and announced that they will make the Claiming Crown races at Ellis Park available to TVG and its exclusive partners.
“They thought we should do this in good faith -- and I left the meeting (on July 20) willing to think about it,” said [Scott] Daruty of TrackNet...."I thought about it, and felt they were right.” [Bloodhorse]It had been pointed out to Daruty that the only time the series was limited to HRTV, the handle dropped by 50%. But just as we shouldn't expect Bush to invite Iranian president Ahmadinejad to the family digs in Kennebunkport, Maine for some fishing anytime soon, this doesn't mean any agreement is close at hand.
“We would love nothing more than to exchange all of our content with TVG and Youbet,” Daruty said, noting that the exclusivity issue had created a negotiating “impasse” between the companies. “I would not say there are no discussions, but I wouldn’t say there are any ‘active’ talks, either.”- Hunch play for the day:
Mr. Unacceptable - 1st at Charles Town