- The New York Times editorializes against a racino at Aqueduct today.
The state’s overly generous revenue projection is based on the hope that bidders will pay $250 million for development rights from the state-owned racetrackWell, I have news for you bub. Three bidders already have committed to do so. I mean, wouldn't you think that an editorial writer for the New York Times would take a little time to educate him or herself on the topic first?
Problem gambling doubles within 10 miles of a gambling facility, according to study published in 2004 that included a nationwide survey of 2,631 adults. This means thousands of people who do not currently have a gambling addiction would, in all probability, get hooked with the addition of these video lottery terminals at the Aqueduct. How much extra revenue are these people’s lives worth?I think that the idea that "thousands" would be come problem gamblers seems rather overblown. But other than that, I've never really had an argument to make against sentiments such as these. We've spent the last week pondering the morality of putting animals at risk for our own entertainment. So, when we advocate for expanded gambling to help keep our own local industry competitive (as in, subsidized), shouldn't we also think about the effect on people in the area? What does the industry do for problem gamblers in surrounding communities? Or for those at its own tracks for that matter?
Gambling is an awful way to fill a hole in the budget. There are already more than 12,000 video lottery terminals in eight facilities across New York. No matter how much the state rakes in from gambling, it never seems to prevent budget deficits. This year is no different. The state would be better off finding a source of revenue that doesn’t prey upon its own people.
I know, too heavy a topic for a Saturday morning as we prepare for a day at the races. But probably something we should take some time to consider.
- The Monmouth replay show is on TVG this morning, and it's quite a familiar sight. The track was the same sloppy mess that it was the last time there was racing there. That was the case all over the rainy Northeast on Friday, with sealed, sloppy tracks at Belmont, Penn National, and Pimlico. Not, however, at Presque Isle Downs, where the Tapeta Footing was fast, and the first race, a maiden special for PA-breds, had a purse of $50,000.
The purses will not be like they were last fall, when the track was distributing a surplus of slots money, and the actual payouts were 75% above the stated purse values. But the average will reportedly be around $180,000, not too bad at all. It's just that there are a lot of tracks in action in the region these days, and some are already having problems attracting full fields. Looks like Presque Isle will have the same problem, at least based on the size of Friday's fields.
The featured Inaugural Stakes attracted horses from all over, and Tom Amoss took the top prize with Ride Em Cowgirl (Mazel Trick). She'd run well there last year, so the bettors weren't fooled by the 8-1 morning line and sent her off second choice. American County was a crummy even money favorite for Dale Romans.
Confirmed for the Preakness are: Big Brown (K. Desormeaux), Behindatthebar (D. Flores), Giant Moon (R. Dominguez), Hey Byrn (TBA), Icabad Crane (J. Rose), Kentucky Bear (J. Theriot), Racecar Rhapsody (R. Albarado), Recapturetheglory (E.T. Baird), Riley Tucker (E. Prado), Stevil (J. Velazquez), Tres Borrachos (T. Baze) and Yankee Bravo (A. Solis). [NY Daily News]Still waiting for a decision on Harlem Rocker.
Reade Baker is the trainer of Kentucky Bear, and he doesn't sound the least bit afraid of the Derby winner. "Let's not put Big Brown in the Hall of Fame too soon."
Saying he's "positive I can win this race," Baker believes too much is being asked of Big Brown after his huge effort at Churchill Downs in which he powered to a 4 3/4-length win in just his fourth career start.
"Where Big Brown is vulnerable ... a handicapper would say 'there's a horse that carried 126 (pounds in the Derby) and he's going to run back in two weeks off a peak effort?' " Baker said. "The wise guys would say he's going to bounce." [Toronto Sun]