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Monday, September 24, 2007

Notes - Sept 24

- Reader Case had sent me a link to an article by Dick Jerardi from last week in which Moon Catcher's owner Chuck Zacney, of Afleet Alex fame, blasted Kent Desormeaux for taking his filly too far back in the Alabama. "He thought there was enough early pace for her to make one run. Notice he's not up this time." [Philly Daily News] Zacney was referring to Saturday's Cotillion, in which she was ridden by Carlos Marquez. Problem is that the filly wasn't too close to the pace in this race either; and, worse yet, came up completely empty in the stretch, ugh. No Kent D. to kick around this time, and it seems as if the daughter of Malibu Moon may merely be a horse for the Delaware Park course.

- Boyd Gaming, the owner of Dania Jai Alai, has been paying attention to the anemic business at the other Broward County pari-mutuels approved for slots, and to that court case challenging the validity of the referendum that approved them. Plans to construct a new racino (jai-cino?) are on hold indefinitely.

The earliest that slots could be ringing in Dania Beach will be 2009, at least four years after Broward County voters decided to allow the machines at four pari-mutuels.
Slot machines on the East Coast generated an average $269 in revenue per day in August, according to the Gaming Industry Observer, an industry newsletter that puts out a monthly report on East Coast slots. The August averages for all three Broward racetrack casinos were below the East Coast average. Gulfstream Park's machines generated only $68 in revenue per day last month — the worst-performing slots on the East Coast. [Sun-Sentinal]
Congratulations to Frank Stronach for holding that honor! Magna announced that it will purchase the balance of the Maryland Jockey Club, the name under which Pimlico and Laurel operate. This acquisition was "specifically contemplated" in the company's recently announced debt reduction strategy. In a press release, Frankie said:
"MJC is a core asset of MEC, and while thoroughbred racing in Maryland is currently facing many difficult obstacles, we remain optimistic that with the assistance of other stakeholders horse racing in the state can have a bright future." [Baltimore Sun]
"Bright future" = "slots" of course, though I imagine he has a figure in excess of $68 per machine per day in mind.

Suffolk Downs, seeking to build on the successful Mass Cap day on Saturday, announced lavish plans for their new casino. Of course, that's if slots are legalized in the state, and, if so, if Suffolk is able to successfully compete against deep-pocketed Indian tribes and others that will no doubt bid on three licenses proposed by Governor Deval Patrick.

One obstacle that the track faces is a practical one - it's proximity to Logan Airport means possible restrictions on the height of any new buildings, and the lights used to illuminate them.
"They will be limited in the height they will be able to build, and I doubt they would be able to justify any appeal on any economic grounds," said John Hansman, director of MIT's International Center for Air Transportation. "It doesn't make sense to reduce the capacity of an international airport to have gambling in close proximity to the city."
State and federal officials would also review the lighting, which most casinos use to illuminate their hotels and draw patrons to the facilities but could become a hindrance for pilots. []
- Speaking at a demonstration to protest the appearance by Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at Columbia University today, New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn said "We're here today to send a message that there is never a reason to give a hatemonger an open stage." But Ahmadinejad ably demonstrated during his speech why I think that Ms. Quinn, and the others who decried Columbia's invitation to him, are wrong. His lies and absurd declarations clearly showed him to be the fool that he is. To deny someone like Ahmadinejad the opportunity to speak gives that person the legitimate claim that his/her right to free speech are being muzzled. And when allowed to speak, they usually expose themselves for what they are, and lose any legitimacy whatsoever. Seems like a good enough reason to me.