"NYS Assembly Committee on Racing Delves Into Economic Impacts of harness Racing" Commentary delivered by Joe Faraldo, Alex Dadoyan of the SOA of NY and Betty Holt of Harness Horse Breeders. Testimony Submitted by the Standardbred Owners Association of New York to the NYS Assembly Committee on Racing & Wagering December 2013 Thank you Chairman Pretlow for the opportunity to present testimony on behalf of the Standardbred Owners Association of New York, the Empire State Harness Horsemen’s Alliance and harness horsemen from across New York regarding the incredibly positive economic impacts generated by our harness racing and agricultural industries across the state. I thought I’d begin by reading a brief excerpt from a fact sheet submitted to state legislators in the spring of 2003 by harness horsemen detailing what we anticipated would be the positive future impacts of a New York video lottery terminal (VLT) initiative that was just about to come on-line. We predicted: “…if revenues from the VLTs are distributed equitably to horsemen, purses and breeders funds, then this new program will not only generate a major new revenue stream for education, but also will trigger a renaissance for the entire horse racing industry in the state. These funds will bring more high-quality horses to New York tracks and make breeding a more lucrative industry in the state. As more breeders come to New York and owners and trainers expand the number of horses in their stables, numerous related industries will benefit indirectly. Clearly, one of the major benefactors of the addition of VLT’s at racetracks will be the agriculture industry.” Fast forward a decade later and virtually every one of those harness racing predictions – higher purses, expanded agriculture, thriving breeding farms, and tens of thousands of racing related jobs across New York State – has come true. As the Assembly noted in its own notice for this hearing, a 2011 economic impact study commissioned by New York’s racing and agriculture stakeholders concluded that our industry generated an overall $4.2 billion economic impact statewide and was responsible for 33,000 jobs. So, not only have VLTs generated hundreds of millions of dollars in critical funding for education across the state, but New York’s harness industry has returned to its rightful place as a national leader and the promise of a New York racing renaissance has become a reality. WHY THIS HISTORY IS IMPORTANT AND THE REASON HORSEMEN ARE NOW SERIOUSLY CONCERNED FOR THE FUTURE As New York State prepares to undergo major changes to our gaming environment in the wake of the recently-approved casino gaming amendment, it is critically important to fully understand the significant economic gains that have taken place in the NY harness industry as a direct result of the existing VLT initiative and, more significantly, to recognize the potential impacts that the amendment’s enacting language could have on racing and agriculture. For example, as you are aware, this enacting language includes a provision that mandates certain racing industry payments (derived from casino gaming) be maintained at 2013 levels (with a small cost of living adjustment based on the federal consumer price index). And while this provision – which specifically relates to existing racinos that may receive a full casino gaming license and morph into a casino – has been characterized as a “floor” (ensuring that payments for purse support and breeding do not fall below 2013 levels), the fact is that the language, as written, also acts as an absolute “ceiling,” capping these payments at a virtually static 2013 level and not allowing for any future growth. While we are obviously grateful for the creation of a hold harmless provision to ensure that agriculture and racing jobs are not immediately negatively impacted, our concern is that this hard cap on payments to agriculture and racing from casinos will essentially serve as a hard cap on any future, additional growth in racing and agriculture. The message that this will send to potential investors – who, as you will see from my testimony below, have absolutely flocked to our state in record numbers in recent years – is that New York may be doing well now, but is closed for future business and has no horse breeding or racing investment opportunities available to them moving forward. Other competing racing states have recognized that racing and breeding should grow right along with casino gaming and the very real fear now resonating throughout farms, training facilities and racetracks across New York is that we’ll not only fall behind in future growth, but that New York will eventually start to lose some of the hard-fought gains we’ve already achieved. And to see exactly what is at risk, one need only look at recent statistics and real life case studies from the industry. RACING AND AGRICULTURE-RELATED ECONOMIC IMPACTS OF VLTs IN NEW YORK STATE The thoughtful, dual purpose VLT initiative implemented by New York State – charged with funding education and supporting a horse racing industry that is a major job-generator across virtually every region of the state – has increased purses and attracted investment into our breeding and agriculture sectors like never before. New farms and training facilities are opening in regions across the state and our high-quality New York Standardbred horses are commanding the highest prices by far at auction. While my full submitted testimony has a wide range of statistics for your review, let me just summarize by pointing out that virtually every indicator – the number of mares in New York, stud fees, sales prices, etc. – has increased exponentially since 2001. REAL LIFE CASE STUDIES DEMONSTRATE MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR ECONOMIC IMPACTS The economic multiplier effects of this purse money on various sectors of the New York’s economy are really quite amazing. Again, my full written testimony includes a number of very real, very concrete, very significant case studies that demonstrate how VLT-generated purse money is filtering throughout our local economies and is attracting even more investment across New York State. Needless to say, these cases – from the $9 million in capital investments at Blue Chip Farms to Mark Ford’s new $8 million dollar training center in Middletown – are proof positive that purse money is being directly invested back into the New York State economy. Clearly, this isn’t just economic theory, conjecture or even predictions from a decade ago. These are proven, on-the-ground economic gains in communities throughout New York State that are taking place thanks to our harness racing industry. HOW CAN WE ENSURE FUTURE JOB CREATION AND GROWTH? In light of all of these clear and positive economic gains, it should come as no surprise that horsemen, breeders, farmers and tens of thousands of others who are dependent on racing for their livelihoods are deeply concerned about how the coming expansion of casino gaming in New York State will impact these important economic benefits. As noted earlier, other competing racing states have recognized that racing and breeding should grow right along with casino gaming, so one must ask why horsemen or breeders would invest additional resources – or even keep their existing horses already here in New York – when they can anticipate greater additional growth in nearby states? With 33,000 New York State equine jobs at stake, it obviously makes complete sense to have a “hold harmless” provision to ensure that agriculture and breeding don’t get hurt by the expansion of full casino gaming. However, what is less clear is the economic or policy rationale for capping racing industry support payments at 2013 levels for racinos that become full casinos and not allowing the opportunity for any future growth or investment in a critically important, proven, job-creating New York industry. Recent record sales numbers by New York-bred horses at national sales demonstrate that breeding gains are continuing apace and there is no doubt that significant opportunities for additional growth in our agricultural sector exist across the state. Within this clear and compelling economic context, the SOA of New York and harness horsemen from across the state are asking the New York State Legislature to reevaluate and reconsider the specific provision included in the casino enacting legislation that mandates a cap on racing industry support levels at the 2013 level. While eliminating this cap would obviously require the creation of a new formula for determining reasonable and appropriate levels of industry support payments from full casino gaming (including both slots and table games), we are committed to working collaboratively with both legislators and gaming industry stakeholders to develop a workable solution. Our experience with the existing VLT initiative has shown that it is possible to create win-win-win scenarios, and we look forward to working with you and your colleagues to continue to support and grow equine industry jobs in the great state of New York. Thank you. CONTACTS: Joe Faraldo, Standardbred Owners Association of NY 718-544- 6800 Joni Yoswein, Yoswein New York (representing the SOA of NY) 212-233-5700
Delaware, OH --- All roads led to Ohio as owners and trainers from 29 states, Canada, and Europe flocked to the Delaware County Fairgrounds for the 66th annual Fall Blooded Horse Sale. Opening day featured nearly 25% of Ohio’s total yearling crop, along with over 100 Indiana-breds and a large number of Pennsylvania, Ontario, and New York breds. The strong catalogue of slots enhanced sire stakes eligibles drove prices to a record high. The next three days contained 198 2-year-olds, 297 3-year-olds, 87 weanlings and hundreds of raceway horses and broodmares. The top priced yearling and ultimate sale topper was an Always A Virgin sister to Indiana champion Color’s A Virgin. Brown Color was purchased from the Emerald Highlands consignment by Dan Shetler for $43,000. Next in line was an Ohio-bred Feelin Friskie colt from the Midland Acres consignment purchased by Burke Racing Stable LLC for $42,000. Spring Haven Farm sold a Total Truth brother to top Indiana colt Totally Kissed for $37,000 and Walnut Hall Ltd sold an Ontario bred Deweycheatumnhowe filly for $32,000. Broodmares were led by the young Andover Hall prospect, Ladyfinger 3,1:59.2f, that was purchased by Black Creek Farm in Indiana for $28,000 from Marty Wollam. Hoosier Standardbred Farm stepped up at $15,000 for Sexpot Hall in foal to Deweycheatunmhowe from the Walnut Hall Ltd consignment. That farm also provided the top weanlings, a Conway Hall filly from the family of two $1 million earners and a Groton Hall half-brother to two 1:54 trotters, that each brought $20,000. Competitive racehorses are always in demand and five of them shared the spotlight at $20,000 each. Nidaros, a Muscle Yankee non-winners of two consigned by Kjell Magne Andersen, was purchased by Jeff Clark of Maryland. Indiana Sires competitor, Fancy Colt, left Emerald Highlands Farm on a bid from Red Shaw in Ohio. Competitive $20,000 claimer Darth Quaider was purchased by Steve Richard of Massachusetts. The rugged raceway mare Athleticlyinclined, with $278,575 lifetime earnings, was picked up by John Mungillo of New York from Burke Racing Stable LLC. And Dan Kennedy added the Open pacer Lost Jewels to his racehorses in preparation for the December opening of Hard Rock Racino Northfield Park. Complete sale results are available at www.bloodedhorse.com. The Blooded Horse Sale Company holds quarterly mixed sales at the home of the Little Brown Jug in Delaware, Ohio The next sale is February 10-11, 2014. Entries close around January 10. by Dot Morgan for Blooded Horse Sale
“The jury is still out on this one,” said Joe Faraldo, attorney for Standardbred Breeders Association of New York in pertaining to the passage of the casino gaming legislation in New York after yesterday’s elections. “It’s sort of like a wet kiss in the night,” Faraldo explained. “The legislation has been passed but no one has really seen this legislation and not enough people paid attention to the details.” “I am very pleased for us at Tioga and for Monticello and Saratoga that the legislation passed.” Said Jeff Gural, president and CEO of Tioga Downs, Vernon Downs and the Meadowlands. “It bodes well for the sport and obviously we are happy. It should give us a leg up on the competition for the future.” I was also pleased with the election results,” Gural added. “You never know how the people will turn out for an election. But the issue in New York was strong for more public jobs that the casinos will bring and it was not a moral issue about gambling.” Faraldo explained that the new legislation at best will allow Saratoga Raceway, Monticello Raceway and Tioga Downs the opportunity to have full-fledged casinos (slots and live table games). But Batavia Downs, Buffalo Raceway and Vernon Downs are excluded from any chance because they are too close to already established Indian casinos. Yonkers Raceway, as part of the legislation, is excluded from any consideration for live table games for seven years. It was also pointed out by Faraldo and Todd Haight, the General Manager of racing at Batavia Downs, that any revenue from live table games in New York, is treated the same as in Pennsylvania, and does not share a percentage with the tracks for purses or for the New York Sire Stakes program. “The legislation is wordy about a cap of agricultural and racing business,” Faraldo added. “There is a freeze at 2013 consumer pricing for purse levels and growth of the industry. Currently 25% net win sets what purse money is allotted to tracks and to the breeding program (NYSS). So when a Racino turns into a Casino and gets live table games, the cap is on 2013 levels. “This can mean that racing can get less revenue if more money is spent on live games than the slot machines,” Farado explained. “Most of the Racinos now have electronic table games for craps, roulette and some have blackjack but when those games are replaced by live games, then racing will lose out on revenue.” When might Tioga Downs, Saratoga Raceway and Monticello Raceway see their Racinos turn into Casinos? “It will take some time for the selection committees to come up with the rules and regulations,” Gural said. “At least a year or more from now and they won’t get started on it until it becomes law on January 1, 2014. I feel this will be great for us because the table games will bring a younger demographic to the casino and for racing. We still have a bidding process to go through for the three tracks but I am hopeful it will all work out in our favor.” “There is a lot of permitting and new rules that have to be developed,” Faraldo explained. “It could be one year, one and half years, even two years before the first full gaming casino comes about. That is a tough call. “I think the three racinos that could turn into full casino will most certainly benefit from it.” Faraldo added. “It may not be a home run for them but more like hitting ground balls, which is still good.” By Steve Wolf for Harnesslink.com
Plans for a slot parlor in Plainville got a boost from voters Tuesday, while residents in West Springfield rejected a casino proposal for their town. Plainville residents voted in favor of Penn National’s plans for a slots parlor, with 76 percent approving a host agreement with the gambling company. With a 37 percent turnout, 1,582 Plainville residents supported having a slots parlor in their community, while just 502 opposed, according to results read by Town Clerk Ellen Robertson. Separately, West Springfield voters on Tuesday defeated a casino proposal by Hard Rock, by a vote of 4,165 to 3,413. That leaves only MGM in Springfield and Mohegan Sun in Palmer the remaining alternatives in Western Massachusetts. In Plainville, if Penn wins the state’s sole slot parlor license and is also permitted to continue harness racing, the company would acquire the 89-acre racetrack property in town at Interstate 495 and Route 1, about 5 miles south of Gillette Stadium. The track would be renovated and expanded to fit as many as 1,250 slot machines and other amenities. In Plainville, the results were read at the Beatrice Wood School, the town’s lone polling location to a loud cheer from about 25 townspeople, many of whom said the promise of more than $4 million a year in taxes, and a strong desire to keep harness racing alive in the state swayed public opinion. “We got our votes out, this town needs this,” said Dale Bergvine , a lifelong Plainville resident and member of the pro-slots group People for Plainville. Plainridge track spokesman Bill Ryan said the vote reflects a tremendous amount of confidence in the project. “It’s not bad considering we were dead three weeks ago,” he said, grinning, referring to the company’s losing effort to persuade Tewksbury to back a slots parlor. Mary-Ann Greanier, a member of No Plainville Racino said her group is considering it’s next move, which could include a lawsuit. “The process isn’t working,” she said. “The safeguards we were told to expect are not taking place.” Tuesday night, a spokesman for Penn described the next steps in the process, from the company’s standpoint. “We’re grateful for the overwhelming support expressed today for expanded gaming at Plainridge Race Course. We’re excited to continue to work with the community, and to build upon the great work that has been done thus far here in Plainville. Our next step will be to file our harness racing application on October 1, followed by our formal submission to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission on October 4 for a category two gaming license,’’ Eric Schippers, senior vice president of Penn National Gaming said in a prepared statement. By Ellen Ishkanian (reprinted with permission by www.boston.com)
Columbus, OH --- Virgil Morgan Jr. became the first trainer to reach 5,000 career wins this past Saturday night (Sep. 7). The USTA has only been keeping trainer's statistics since 1991. Morgan had his first training win when Count Jazz won a $3,000 claimer on Sept. 22, 1992, at The Meadows Racetrack. Training win no. 5,000 came Saturday at Hoosier Park when Tyler Smith piloted Rose Run Oriana to a win in the fourth leg of the Indiana Sire Stakes silver series trot. Morgan started on his way to his next milestone less than two hours later when Pet Rock and Dan Noble set a new world record on a five-eighths-mile track of 1:47.2 at Scioto Downs Racino. Morgan starting winning 100-plus races in a single year starting in 1995 when he trained winners of 114 races in only 417 starts, earning a UTR of .393. Since then he has had as many as 409 wins in a year and his horses have earned more than $41.8 million. “I didn’t know (I was near 5,000) until someone brought it to my attention,” Morgan said. “Hopefully, I’ll be fortunate enough to win a few more races. “I prefer to let the horses do the talking,” he continued, adding with a laugh, “It’s one of those things that make you feel a little bit older than you thought you were. You look back and that’s a lot of racing. A lot of people helped me achieve that. Many thanks to all the drivers and owners and all of my help. Submitted by Scioto Downs Racino
Eight $150,000 Ohio Sire Stakes championships were held at Scioto Downs Racino Saturday evening. Feelin Lika Winner lived up to his name when he won the coveted 3-year-old colt pacing championship in 1:52.2. The Scott Mogan trainee sat in the pocket most of the way behind race favorite, That Friske Feelin and Tony Hall, after parking the latter to an opening quarter of 26.3. "We wanted to follow Burke’s horse (That Friske Feelin), as close as we could get to him,” said driver Kayne Kauffman. “We got out of the gate good and I kind of pushed him through the first turn and tried to sting him a little bit.” That opening quarter didn’t take much out of the eventual winner as he powered home in 28.3 to win by four and three-quarter lengths. “That was a very tough call (to pull going around the last turn instead of waiting for the passing lane) but my horse felt strong,” continued Kauffman. “Tony’s plugs were out down the backside so we went ahead and made the move and it worked out.” Feelin Lika Winner is owned by Mogan, Diamond Chip Stables (Judy Weber), AWS Stables (Allen & Carol Marie Schmidthorst) and Charlie Guiler. The gelding by Feelin Friskie out of the Live Love Laugh mare Naughty Sunflower now has $212,235 in lifetime earnings and took a mark earlier this year of 1:51.4 here at Scioto. Other OSS winners on the evening included: 2yo Filly Trot - In the Grippers (Steven One - Over Baked) in 1:58 for driver Chris Page, trainer Virgil Morgan, Jr and owner Herres Stables LLC (Natilie Herres). 2yo Colt Trot - Rompaway Galaxy (Rompaway Wally - Rompaway Wynona) in 1:57.4 for driver Mike Micallef, trainer Krista Williams and owner Rompaway Farms LLC (Thomas Smith) 2yo Filly Pace - Shakin Friskie (Feelin Friskie - Shakeurcancancress) in 1:56.1 for driver Dan Noble, trainer Mark Winters, Sr and owners Bret Schwartz, William Bean and Stephen Montemarano. 2yo Colt Pace - Chance I MIght (Stand Forever - Nature’s Course) in 1:55.3 for driver Brad Hanners, trainer Jim Dailey and owner Rebecca Dwyer. 3yo Filly Trot - Contessa Leigh (Full Count - Howl) in 1:57.1 for driver Sam “Chip” Noble, trainer Marty Wollam and owners G And B Racing (Bradley & George Berlin) and Marty Wollam. 3yo Colt Trot - Final Breath (Victory Sam - First Breath) in 1:56.1 for trainer/driver Hugh “Sandy” Beatty and owner Duane Lowe. 3yo Filly Pace - Igottafeelinfran (Feelin Friskie - Fran Anna) in 1:53.3 for driver Dan Noble, trainer Jim Dailey and owners Jerry Zosel, Kathy Ratcliff and Kimberly Dailey. Racing will continue for one more week, Wednesday thru Saturday, with a post of 6:30 p.m. each day. Saturday (September 14) is closing night at Scioto for the 2013 racing season. Submitted by Scioto Downs Racino
In just three days, Saturday, September 7, Scioto Downs Racino will host one of the most exciting race nights in recent history at the Columbus oval. The best 2 and 3-year-old horses in the state will duke it out for top honors in the Ohio Sire Stakes Finals and some of the best horses from across the country will make up the 134 horses vying for nearly $1.5-million in purses. The 16 race card has a first post time of 6:30 p.m. "Last year our Super Night card went for just over $900,000 after the VLT facility was open for three months," said Scioto’s General Manager of Racing Operations Stacy Cahill. "Now, another year later, we have been able to boost our purses, and help our horsemen, even more. We've had a great racing season so far and expect Saturday's card to be be another exciting event for our fans." There will be a couple different wagering opportunities that are not available on any other race night at Scioto. A $7,500 guaranteed Pick-8 bet for the eight OSS finals is available for a minimum 20-cent bet; those finals are set as races 4-11. There will also be a $5,000 guaranteed Pick-4 for races 9-12. The four races that are included for that bet are the last 3 OSS finals for 3-year-old pacing fillies, trotting colts and pacing colts, as well as the $125,000 Jim Ewart Memorial Invitational Pace. Before the races, there will be beanie and trucker-style hat give-a-ways. After winner’s circle pictures are taken and interviews conducted with the winning connections, t-shirts will be thrown to the crowd. There will also be drawings for Jug tickets, Ohio State cornhole boards, wagering and food vouchers. As Ohio Super Night at Scioto Downs draws closer, stay tuned for more in depth previews for some of the night's feature races. For more information about live harness racing at Scioto Downs Racino, visit www.SciotoDowns.com/racing. Racing will be held Wed-Sat this week and next, with closing day for the 2013 season on Saturday, September 14. Scioto Downs Racino
HARRINGTON, Del. - Regis The Horse has a long way to go to catch his namesake in airtime but the 2-year-old pacer is well on his way. Named after long time TV personality Regis Philbin, Regis The Horse will make his second start in front of millions of viewers Thursday at Harrington Raceway as the race will air live on Fox Sports 1's "Crowd Goes Wild," an hour-long show that airs Monday through Friday featuring a vibrant and contemporary look at the latest buzz in the world of sports. Regis The Horse was a significant part of the show's first episode on August 19, when his race was broadcast live via Roberts Communications Network's satellite feed. Viewers witnessed a thrilling victory for Regis The Horse as the crew at "Crowd Goes Wild" celebrated Philbin's birthday. "That was sensational. Way to go Regis!" Philbin said at the race's conclusion as he and his on-air cohorts Georgie Thompson, Jason Gay, Trevor Pryce and Michael Kosta rooted Regis The Horse to cross the finish line first. The horse was a surprise gift to Philbin for his 82nd birthday from his colleagues on the show and was shown in an earlier segment prior to the race which can be viewed by clicking here. Trained by George Teague Jr., Regis The Horse, will start from post two with Montrell Teague as his driver. Estimated post time for the race is 5:35 p.m. "It's a great opportunity for all of us in the industry," said Harrington Raceway COO of Racing, Jim Boese. "We've been privileged to work with the USTA in partnering with Fox Sports 1 and Roberts Communications in making this possible." by Matt Sparacino
The leading trainer in the country and the leading trainer at Scioto Downs Racino have their go-to drivers for their horses when they race at the Columbus, Ohio 5/8 mile track. Friday evening each trainer took a different $20,000 Open race to keep securing their foothold as the top trainers in the top class races. In the Open Trot, Ronnie Wrenn Jr drove Virgil Morgan Jr.s Undercover Strike to victory in 1:55. Parked the last half mile, the 5-year-old gelded son of Striking Sahbra won handily for owner Frank Bellino. Trotslikethewind (Kayne Kauffman) was second and Chilitodayhotamale (Tony Hall) held on for third after cutting the mile. Undercover Strike raced earlier this year at The Meadowlands and Mohawk, where he took his fastest mark of 1:52.3 in 2012. The win Friday marked his second in a row in the Open Trot at Scioto and he has now earned $313,994 lifetime. Tony Hall turned the tables on Wrenn when he took the Fillies & Mares Open Pace with Darena Hanover for Ron Burke in 1:51.3. Leaving from assigned post position nine, the 4-year-old daughter of Yankee Cruiser sat back in the five hole while Wrenn sent Princess Cruiser to the front in 26.1. The pair lead all the way to the top of the stretch and finished three-quarters of a length behind Darena Hanover. She’s Shocking (Ray Paver) posted a 27.1 last quarter to get third. Darena Hanover, owned by Burke Racing Stable LLC, has now surpassed $620,000 in lifetime earnings. In 2012 she won both the Jugette and Matron finals and took a mark of 1:50.2 at Pocono Downs. Racing continues Saturday at Scioto with a first post of 6:30 p.m. Scioto Downs Racino
Scioto Downs Racino hosted the Ohio Harness Horsemen’s Association first Charity Race Night Thursday and by all accounts it was an instant success. Three of the 10 charities were interviewed at a time in between races so each one could promote their mission and goals. Then after the sixth race, the draw was conducted to partner a charity up with a horse in the seventh race; how the horse finished determined how much money the charity would receive, based on the percentages purses are distributed. When it was all said and done, Standing Danette and Tony Hall crossed the line first for the Arthritis Foundation of Central Ohio in 1:54. The win got the Foundation a $5,000 donation to their charity and bragging rights as the winner. “We would like to thank the OHHA and Standing Danette for her wonderful $5,000 donation to the Arthritis Foundation,” said Susan Davis, their Regional Vice-President. “The OHHA has been awesome this evening, and Scioto Downs was great - they were very helpful and supportive of us. The food was wonderful and it’s been an amazing evening. We at the Arthritis Foundation are just very excited and proud to be here at the inaugural event.” Finishing second was Grace Seelster (Greg Grismore) who was partnered with the National Parkinson’s Foundation and earned $2,500 for the charity. Kay Low (Jeremy Smith) and R E O Speeddragon (Kayne Kauffman) finished third and fourth respectively to earn $1,200 for ALS Association and $800 for 4-H Youth Development. The charities whose horses finished 5-10 got $500. Scioto also donated $500 per charity, so no one left the track with less than $1,000. Racing resumes Friday and Saturday with a 6:30 p.m. post time. Jessica Schroeder
Feelin Lika Winner sure did when he won the Director of Agriculture Pace for 3-year-old colt pacers at Scioto Downs Racino on Saturday in an eye-opening 1:51.4. Part of the week’s State Fair races, two divisions of sophomore colts went to the gate for $30,000 each. Taking back from the five hole to last in a six horse field while the lead horses battled it out up front to a 26.4 opening quarter, Feelin Lika Winner made a move before the half to come first up and challenge pacesetter Outdoor Fever and Greg Grismore. Taking the lead by the time they hit the three-quarter pole, Feelin Lika Winner and Kayne Kauffman came home in 28.2 to win by three-quarters of a length. Owned by trainer Scott Mogan, Diamond Chip Stable (Judy Weber), AWS Stables (Allen and Carol Schmidthorst) and Charlie Guiler, the gelding by Feelin Friskie now has six wins in 16 starts and $126,985 in career earnings. The mile on Saturday set a new lifetime record for Feelin Lika Winner. The winner in the other 3-year-old colt division was race favorite That Friske Feelin and Tony Hall for trainer Ron Burke. Also a Feelin Friskie gelding, that Friske Feelin won in 1:53.3 over Hanky L (Jack Dailey). He is owned by Howard Taylor, Edwin Gold and Richard Lombardo and has now earned over $100,000 lifetime. Feelin Friskie colts dominated the Ohio State Fair races on Saturday when two of his freshmen won their $34,000 divisions as well. Big Bossman (Greg Grismore) won by a head over Friskie Adam (Chip Noble) in 1:54.4. The gelding used a 27.1 last quarter to win for trainer Doug Hinklin and owner Parent Racing Stable LLC (Brent & Tiffany Parent). Hawks Cry Hoboken (Dan Noble) won for trainer Virgil Morgan, Jr. and owners Carl Howard, Herres Stables LLC (Steve & Natalie Herres) and Gerrie Tucker. Saturday’s races concluded the State Fair weekend of racing, but just like the Ohio State Fair, there is one more day to be had. Sunday (Aug 4) will be a special race card to make up for one of the days of racing lost back in June. A special post of 5:00 p.m. will start off the 11 race card. by Jessica Schroeder
With 12 racing weeks completed in the 2013 Scioto Downs Racino live harness racing schedule, the numbers are encouraging for the Columbus 5/8 mile oval. The increase in purses from the VLT machines that were installed and saw the first money go though them on June 1, 2012 has re-energized the horsemen that have been racing there for years. “Owners are going out and buying more horses to race here,” said Scioto’s General Manager of Racing Operations Stacy Cahill. “The more horses that race here, the more competitive and full our fields get, and then more people wager on the product.” People all over the nation are paying more attention to the races at Scioto in 2013. The amount wagered off track on live Scioto races is up 100.045% from last year, while live on track handle is up 17.2%. “There have been a lot of improvements for racing over the past year, so it’s hard to pinpoint the exact change that had the most impact,” continued Cahill. “But there are a lot of things that when put together, create movement for our product.” Some of those changes include: an updated clubhouse and tvs for those dining and wagering on track, more races with higher purses, larger fields with more competitive races and some different drivers coming in from other states, including Ronnie Wrenn, Jr. from Michigan and current leading driver Tony Hall who had most recently been racing in Pennsylvania. Scioto has also been impacted by the currently running River Downs meet at Beulah Park, just nine miles away. River Downs, in Cincinnati, is building a new grandstand this summer and making way for the VLT facility on grounds, which prevented horses from racing there at the same time. The Ohio State Racing Commission approved the race meet to be held at Beulah Park for 2013. Previously Scioto and Beulah had an agreement that allowed each track to benefit from being the only track in the Columbus area running a live race meet and simulcast parlor. The total amount wagered at Scioto on imported signals is down 11.38% this year over 2012. “For many years, we had an agreement that Beulah would race from mid-September through Kentucky Derby Day and also be the only facility open for simulcasting,” explained Cahill. “Then on the Sunday after the Derby, we would open our doors for simulcasting with the live race meet starting later that week. “Now, with the River meet at Beulah, they are open for simulcasting at the same time we are and our import numbers are suffering - we are not doing the business we have in previous years as the Thoroughbred players are staying at Beulah all year.” Live racing will continue this week at Scioto on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday with a post time of 6:30 p.m., Saturday will start live racing at 1:00 p.m. and a special Sunday card will go to post at 5:00 p.m. With the Ohio State Fair taking place this week and no horse racing track available on grounds anymore, the State Fair races are at Scioto and will be the focus of the races. by Scioto Downs Racino
The condition sheet is now available for the special SUNDAY race cards at Scioto Downs Racino on August 4. The sheet encompasses all entry information for racing Sunday (August 4) and Sunday (August 11). To race on the special Sunday program, entries must be received by 9:00 a.m. on Thursday, August 1 and scratch time will be by Friday at 9:00 a.m. Post time is set for 5:00 p.m. The condition sheet also includes the entry information for Ohio State Fair racing held at Scioto. Eight divisions of Ohio bred 2 and 3-year-olds will be split to race Thursday, Friday and Saturday. To view the condition sheet, click here. This August 4 additional day of racing, along with the addition of Sunday, August 15, are to make up two days of cancelled racing at Scioto in June. By Scioto Downs Racino
A short and concise racing program, with 10 races, was held Saturday at Scioto Downs Racino. The fastest race on the evening, on a track deemed sloppy, was won by Lucky Lime and Kyle Ater in 1:52. The 4-year-old took the $20,000 Open by half a length over Carol’s Comet (Jeff Nisonger). The gelding by Rocknroll Hanover out of Cupcakesnwhipcream won for the fourth time this year for owner Kirk Nichols. Lucky Lime is trained by Dean Gilispie, who had three wins in four starts on the night. His other wins were with Most Happy Keene (Nisonger) and Intrigued Royally (Jeremy Smith). Most Happy Keene won the $10,000 Claimer in 1:55 and Intrigued Royally took the night cap, a $5,000 claimer, in 1:55.3. Gilispie also had a fourth, in the first race with another $5,000 claimer, Duck Hook. Driver Jeremy Smith also had three wins on the evening, taking his picture with not only Intrigued Royally, but also Dial A Dragon and Chip of Art. From Scioto Downs Racino
Northfield Park and Thistle Down Racino are finally getting around to improvements for horsemen and horse players after many months devoted to racino construction.
Nobody plays the ponies anymore - at least not like they used to. The growing gap in gambling revenue, between casino-style games and horse and dog racing, is on full display in the first part of the Florida Legislature's recently released gaming study.