- Jerry Bailey told Paul Post of the Saratogian that Excelsior is "still in the mix," as long as VLT's at Belmont is part of the plan. It's not, presently, and Sheldon Silver has been opposed; however, Post reports that insiders say he might approve it as part of a political trade-off. Of course, Excelsior's best shot appears to be running the VLT parlors, as NYRA operates the track. Bailey said: "It would be more difficult to split it up, but we've always been able to work with NYRA."
Huh? Excelsior has worked with NYRA? Was that a slip of the tongue? Better not let Jeff Perlee hear that! Post also writes that there's been speculation that Empire is no longer seeking the franchise. We haven't heard any further talk of a combination of Empire and Capital Play; and honestly, I don't really know what Empire consists of at this point since all of its industry partners have dropped out.
- Gary West takes a look at Jess Jackson in his column today, noting how he's taken on the entrenched industry interests via his activism in the area of integrity and transparency in horse sales. He also references a recent article in the LA Times regarding Jackson's Kendall-Jackson wine business.
Jackson said that in at least two of the 25 years he has been making wine, losses topped $10 million as a result of expenses "to ensure that our quality was what the consumer expected."West is hopeful that Jackson's dissident ways and long-term business approach adds up to us seeing Curlin race at age four.
"We are not looking for quarterly profits," Jackson said. "We want something to hand down to the next generation." [LA Times]
....As a business decision, racing Curlin next year doesn't make much sense. Quite simply, he could make more money as a stallion.- The Maryland Senate voted 31-15 to approve a referendum on slots next November. Next, the House of Delegates will take up the issue, and it's expected to pass there too. House Speaker Michael Busch, who has been the main obstacle to slots in the past, is at least willing to let the voters decide.
No, racing Curlin next year can make sense only to someone who doesn't have the corporate-quick-profit mentality, only to somebody who sees the bigger picture, only to somebody who understands the sport's needs and sympathizes with them.
Here's hoping Jess Jackson is that somebody. [Dallas-Ft. Worth Star Telegram]
The plan as currently structured would allow slots only at two racetracks - Laurel Park and Ocean Downs. Officials have said it's unclear whether slots revenue would be available to all racetracks in the state under a formula. [Bloodhorse] Senate Republicans tried to substitute Rosecroft for the latter, on the grounds that a racino at Ocean Downs would hurt businesses in nearby Ocean City; but that move failed. Penn National recently purchased Rosecroft; I'd love to see a list of Penn Nat's campaign contributions to the Senators who sponsored that amendment. Ocean Downs is owned by the owner of Delaware Park, which would set up an interesting dynamic, since other Delaware gambling interests would be expected to oppose the idea of competition from Maryland.