Nov 08 2012

Sandy donations, breeding task force, and other notes

Please donate to help the victims of Hurricane Sandy this Saturday

The horsemen’s relations office at Laurel reports that trainer Donna Lockard is bringing her horse trailer and truck this coming Saturday (11/10) to Laurel collect donations for the victims of Hurricane Sandy. She is driving the trailerful of donations up to New Jersey on Sunday. All donations will be going to the Food Bank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties, in Neptune, New Jersey.  The trailer will be here to accept donations from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday only. It will be parked by the curb in front of the Grandstand entrance.

The food bank has requested the following items:

  • Bottled water
  • Toilet paper
  • Diapers
  • Batteries/flashlights
  • Blankets
  • Socks and underwear
  • Toothpaste and toothbrushes
  • Canned goods
  • Juice boxes
  • Instant coffee

The Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association is providing assistance with manning the donation trailer on Saturday, plus donating clothing.

Expanded gambling passes in Maryland

Question 7, to bring table games to Maryland and to add a sixth casino, in Prince George’s County, passed in Tuesday’s voting by a surprisingly narrow 52-48 margin statewide.  The question passed by a larger 59-41 gap in Prince George’s County, which was significant because the additional casino license was conditioned on passage of the question in the county itself.

As we have detailed previously, the gambling expansion essentially holds racing harmless.  While racing will not participate in any of the proceeds from table games and will receive a smaller share of the slots revenue (six percent, down from seven), the decrease in share should be more than offset by the increased size of the pie.  Additionally, changes to the length of time for which Racetrack Facilities Renewal Account (RFRA) moneys are available may benefit the sport.  Racing purses have already received a substantial boost from slots proceeds, and that number is slated to continue to rise as more machines come on line.

The statewide vote to expand gaming was significantly closer than four years ago, when voters initiated casino gambling in the state.  That may reflect voters’ fatigue with an issue that has bedeviled the state for more than a decade, and it may also demonstrate that an anti-Question 7 campaign that spent tens of millions of dollars had some impact.  In either case, political leaders generally hope that the question’s passage brings down the curtain on one of the longer running shows in Maryland politics.

Weigh in on the future of Maryland’s breeding industry

As outlined in an earlier article (here), the Maryland Racing Commission has created a task force to analyze the state’s breeding industry and to recommend ways to strengthen it.  The task force wants your help.

Specifically, the task force wants your ideas on 1) a step or steps that the state can take immediately to bolster the breeding industry; 2) intermediate term steps that the state can take as more money from casino gambling flows into the state-bred fund; and 3) major, longer-term steps and/or outside the box moves the state can take.

Please contact David Hayden at dhayden@darkhollowfarm.com with your recommendations by November 9.

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