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Saturday, May 10, 2008

Saturday Morning Notes - May 10

- 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 racetrack
Well, 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?

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 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?

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]


Anonymous said...

Given that slot-like gambling opportunities are abundant in proximity to New York City (Atlantic City, Mohegan Sun, Foxwoods, Yonkers), you'd think that individuals with a prediliction towards problem gambling would already be exposed. As such, all they're doing is visiting other places and bringing their afflication back to the neighborhood.

I have no problem with people opposing gambling; they should just be intellectually honest about it.

George said...

I agree with you that the gambling bug has hit government. All's bad unless it fills their coffers! If as much effort went into seriuosly trying to improve the industry I believe it would stand well -an be better off so- on its' own! There's never enough revenue for the government! When projected revenue estimates aren't hit the industry will be blamed and have to suffer by meing made to ante up. It's a no win situation, in my opinion, for racing to be linked to casino gambling.

Anonymous said...

The one foolproof method of balancing a budget when you can’t extort anymore from the taxpayers is to cut spending. This will work every time.

Bob From NJ

Anonymous said...

A further comment by Baker earlier in the week in a local (Toronto)paper said (and I am going by memory here). "Kentucky Bear has put on about 70 lbs and is doing extremely well since the Bluegrass". Baker is expecting a huge race from KB. I do not think he can beat BB but I know he will be on all of my Tris and supers.

Warstone said...

Recapturetheglory is now out with a fever.

Anonymous said...

Re: Presque Island Downs/Racinos

Reading last night's charts I see that in most races the handle was less than the purse offered.

How long do you think that will be allowed to continue?

Anonymous said...

Why is it that almost everything is legal in NY but gambling?

Anything goes for the libs, except of course gambling because the poor people simply are not capable of controlling their lives, they need governments help to show them the way.

Get high, no problem. Any kind of sex you want, go for it. Molest kids, slap on the wrist. Drink until 4am, why not.

But dont you dare go near those VLTs.

Seems very hypocritcal to preach liberal freedom but then restrict someone from gambling.

Anonymous said...


I don't no why you bother with the N.Y.Times.

You see how poorly they report on Horse racing.
It's the same with the rest of the paper.

I just don't think they have any credibility.

Do you?

steve in nc said...

Anon 555:

I agree with your libertarian philosophy as applied to most social issues, and lord knows hypocrisy is not in short supply, but your attack on the "libs is a stretch. So is your rendition of the facts on the ground.

First of all, "get high, no problem"??? Last I looked, drugs were still illegal in NY. And liberal ol' NY has done more than its share to make the US the world leader in per capita incarceration, with a whopping % of folks, being sent away for a long time for drugs.

As for the sex thing, you might want to check in with old Eliot Spitzer for his take. I'm scared to ask why you think child molestation only draws a slap on the wrist.

Of course, down here in NC, maybe the most liberal state in the old confederacy but hardly the most liberal state in the union, pari-mutuel wagering is illegal. And so one of the Republican sheriffs out here in the western part of the state is on trial for making big money in kickbacks for winking at illegal video poker machines in hot dog joints and gas stations. Two or three other sheriffs, hardly liberals, have been implicated in the trial testimony.

There is no shortage of real partisan differences if that's your thing. Inventing imaginary ones isn't the best way to make a case.

Alan Mann said...

>>Reading last night's charts I see that in most races the handle was less than the purse offered.

How long do you think that will be allowed to continue?>>

Yup, welcome to the world of purse subsidization. It will last until the notion that the tracks justify the existence of the racinos fades, and the casino companies convince the governments that they're being unfairly saddled with supporting a losing business.

>.Seems very hypocritcal to preach liberal freedom but then restrict someone from gambling.

C'mon, gambling is not a liberal vs conservative issue. It seems to vary from state to state and cuts across party lines depending on how badly they need the money. The fact is that I think that no one really likes it. We hold our noses, rationalize it by saying things like 'well, if they don't gamble here, they're gamble in other states,' and pretend that any ills that it causes doesn't exist.

>>I just don't think they [the Times] have any credibility.

Do you?>>

With some notable exceptions, yes.