E-mail note from a friend and racing fan about the Eclipse Awards, “where the first African-American champion jockey since the 1800s doesn’t even get a mention … on Martin Luther King Day.” … That would be DeShawn Parker, who led all jockeys by wins in 2010 riding predominantly at Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort. DeShawn is a good story and a hard worker who rarely gets credit for his accomplishments. … Shades of the late Dale Baird, the all-time leading trainer (also based at Mountaineer). Dale received a Special Eclipse Award years back, apparently as a consolation prize for his Hall of Fame snub, which continues today.
Made some advance Turfway Park wagers Jan. 14 at Keeneland and noticed in the program Keeneland was only taking the first eight races from Delta Downs that night. The ninth race, the $250,000 Jean Lafitte Stakes, was blacked out even though it went off about the same time as Turfway’s 12th and final race, which was in the simulcast program. … This doesn’t bode well for the simulcast offerings when Turfway switches to Saturday night racing in February. Will we get a real simulcast menu (Penn National at 5 p.m., etc.) or a track and a half after the afternoon regulars go home?
On a similar note, Turfway’s post time switch is designed to generate interest in racing as well as ontrack revenue. The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission had complained earlier about how tracks weren’t doing anything different. … Is there a reason this doesn’t carry over to simulcasting, perhaps a Saturday night at the races promotion? … Don’t expect much to happen there, though, as the KHRC allowed Ellis Park to shut down simulcasting for the winter and drive horseplayers to a betting parlor just up the road in neighboring Indiana.
New racetrack planned for the Youngstown, Ohio, area. When asked if revenue from not-yet-legal VLTs would be used to support purses, one of the principals answered: “Probably.” That doesn’t bode well. … Better dig up those old Ascot Park condition books: Claiming price $1,500. Purse $1,200.
Have to give the Horseplayers Association of North America some credit for pushing the pari-mutuel takeout issue, particularly in California. Believe HANA’s overall point is being missed, however: Anything that takes more money away from beleaguered bettors is bad business. … What’s really funny is the casino industry labors over the percentage of return to players from each slot machine to not only keep them coming back, but to maximize revenue over the long haul.
Interesting how Illinois Rep. Lou Lang publicly apologized for failing to call a gambling bill that included slots for racetracks to the floor for a vote Jan. 11 and insisted he’s already working on a new bill for track slots only. … When’s the last time you heard a Kentucky legislator apologize for not helping the horse industry?
Somewhat lopsided Horse of the Year vote tally—Zenyatta 128, Blame 102—given the latter’s 2010 record. Thought it would be much, much closer than that.
A good thing that makes you go Hmmmm. The recent Thoroughbred Charities of America stallion season auction raised about $1.7 million, about the same amount as a year ago. Yes, the economy stinks and cash is tight, but nice to see folks stepping up to the plate for good industry causes.
Indiana poised to join Delaware, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia as states that have taken gaming revenue from racing and breeding to fund state programs. … Wake up folks—and don’t forget about trying to increase handle on racing when you wipe the sleep from your eyes.