Monday, November 10, 2008

Turning Myself Out, Slots and Greyhounds

It looks as if November is going to be a quiet month - at least for me. My wife and I set out on 'vacation' last week, touring the Southwest to visit family and friends in Las Vegas, Phoenix, Oxnard, Riverside, back to Phoenix and finally back to Vegas again. It wasn't particularly restful, but it was nice to reconnect. However it did keep me from blogging as my road-addled mind really couldn't focus after each day's driving was done.

That trend looks to continue after this week. Next week is the Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas and I'll be spending the better part of a week there which also promises to keep me from blogging as regularly as I would like. I kind of feel like Fizzy Pop - turned out to recharge a bit!

That being said, there is still a quiet buzz of activity. There has been growing interest in both the Tampa Bay Downs and the Hawthorne Partnerships which is good, of course. There has been most definitely time to stay on top of that business. It does appear that the advertising I mentioned some posts back has indeed helped spread the word. Not that we're fully there yet, but I think that it has definitely helped. I don't know if I can go so far as to say that it's been worth the cost, the jury is still out on that.

We're also looking at a Minnesota bred filly that has had some issues getting to the track - mostly of the human variety as opposed to the injury variety. I need to get myself comfortable that she can compete outside of Minnesota before I commit any partnership resources to her, but I should learn more about how she's doing in the next few weeks. It would be exciting to have a horse that can compete in some of the local stakes at Canterbury Park.

Election Returns

There are two issues that could have an impact on racing that I had been following: slots in Maryland and dog racing in Massachusetts.

The slot initiative in Maryland passed by an almost 3-2 margin on Tuesday. While it will take a while (it always does) to get the first parlors up and running, what with licenses to be given out, locations to be approved, facilities to be built and machines to be bought, if nothing else this measure will place the horsemen in Maryland on even footing with their competitors. Now supremacy in mid-Atlantic racing can be determined on the track and owners and trainers can compete for purses that may actually help keep them solvent!

Meanwhile in my original home state of Massachusetts, voters decided that dog racing should be illegal in the Commonwealth. This will affect the tracks in Revere and Rayhnam and directly do not have any conection to the Thoroughbred or Harness tracks. In reality, the same folks against dog racing could very well go after our industry next. It was very easy to stir the public conscience with tales of dogs trapped in boxes 23.5 hours a day and cruelly being mistreated and put down when their running days are over. Are these allegations true? In some instances they probably are. Are they the vast majority of kennel operators? Not from what I've been able to find out, but then the truth hardly matters. I can see these same zealots using the memory of Eight Belles and others to point to the alleged cruelties in our sport. I wonder that, for the kennels that can't afford to move to out of state to race, who is going to take care of those dogs? This action may end up driving more animals to extinction than they "save". Allegedly the supporters of this bill have been working to line up homes for the displaced animals but we all know how difficult that battle is. All that being said, I'm not a fan of dog racing, but be sure that the folks at PETA have sat up and taken notice of this and well all know how they want to place a bulls-eye on horse racing. I hope that we continue to come together as an industry to provide for the welfare of our horses.

Rescue Help Needed

Not to use the fate of the poor greyhounds to segue into another rescue call, but, as you all know, I advocate responsible Thoroughbred ownership and as such I try to help as many needy racehorses as I can by drawing as much attention to their plight as I can bring. Below is the tale of Irunaton, a three year old gelding in need of rescue.

Irunaton (Decarchy-Smashing Pumpkin) is a stunning unraced three year old gelding that decided he simply didn't want to race! He is extremely well bred boasting on his female side a direct line to Capote and Seattle Slew. He is just three years old and still acts the juvenile. He has however been restarted under saddle, has developed some basic dressage moves already, and appears to be happiest in an arena setting. He is not comfortable in large open spaces, and does not appear to want to jump - but he is a fabulous dressage prospect for an experienced owner.

Irunaton has approximately two weeks (as of November 7, 2008) to find a home or may find himself in a situation we cannot see happening!!!! Thoroughbred farms in California are currently inundated with owners that can no longer afford to pay board on their horses. This horse is one potential victim of this phenomenon.

Our friends at Neigh Savers are involved in trying to help rescue this beautiful gelding. Please contact Executive Director Karin Wagner if you can help.

In recent weeks Neigh Savers has assisted in saving a horse bound for the Mexico slaughter pipeline, is putting a horse with at least a six month recovery from a bow into rehab, is currently rehabbing a lame and very ill horse and has helped put three other horses into emergency foster care in addition to their regular adoptions. The problem is great but their motto is just one horse at a time. Without any support from the California tracks, grants and only a handful of donations we have either directly rescued and/or rehabbed 42 horses or assisted in their placements to date. Take a look at some of their success stories on their website and you will see why each and every horse did make a difference. Donations can be made directly through PayPal at

1 comment:

PEM said...

Ted this greyhound initiative in Mass worries the hell out of me! I grew up about a quarter mile from Derby Lane in St Petersburg--and the big 3 tracks for Greyhounds-the Belmont/Saratoga/Gulfstream as it were-were Derby lane in St Pete, Southland in West Memphis Arkansas, and Wonderland in Massachusetts. The best dog-the best trainers-and the best purses---well these were the places.

Bear in mind I grew up with families in the dog business--the owner--the matriarch of the Derby Lane dog track lives about 50 yards from me--indeed the house I live in--the very room that is my current business office--was the former home owner's business office--filled with greyhound pictures, blankets from big races--because he was a big kennel owner himself.(Ironic the walls are now covered in Thoroughbred photos!). These people were nothing but kind to their dogs--and the ones no longer fit enough to race or never fast enough are placed in good homes--with the prospective owners vetted out to make sure they are capable of caring for such an animal. The greyhound placement groups do a fantastic job--but when I was a young boy growing up many a local had a pet greyhound from off the track--the kennel operators would give former races to good homes--they did the research on the possible owners themselves. This is going back 30-35 years now--I never saw dogs starved-or treated unfairly-and to be honest once a dog leaves the track environment and becomes a pet -a warm, family loving pet --I see no evidence of any kind of "beaten dog syndrome". I have no idea where these PETA people get their info--and in fact PETA probably puts down more animals than any other outfit in the USA--but God knows the media seldom lets the facts get in the way of a good story......

Well sure dog racing ain't what it used to be, not by a long shot. Then again--you could certainly say the same for the trotters and he T-bred business as well. Now the PETA people have succeeded in target #1----who is next in the crosshairs?