Criticism In Easy, Solutions Are Hard
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL., January 29, 2015—I am no fan of winter racing in New York and haven’t been since the beginning after learning that a new specialized winter track would need to be constructed inside Aqueduct’s main dirt oval.
My reasoning was that if one of the best dirt tracks in American racing couldn’t stand up to the elements at this time of year, that the surface might not be safe enough to minimize risk to horses and jockeys, then maybe racing in winter is a great idea after all.
Cold-weather animals or no cold-weather animals.
Just like liberal race-day medication rules, I believed then as now that perception is everything when it comes to gambling reality.
Aesthetically, with no opportunity to race seven furlongs or a one-turn mile for a third of the New York season, the product would bear no resemblance to what America’s horseplayers expected from New York racing; decidedly less-than.
At one time winter racing made economic sense beyond filling state coffers; it helped the New York Racing Association squirrel away enough money when the “good-horse circuit” returned to race at Belmont Park and Saratoga.
And this was long before anyone dared conjure up the two-headed casino dole monster.
Back in the day, when racinos became the
fashionable solution, legal pari-mutuels at racetracks was the bridge states used to elbow in various forms of casino gaming, including slots dubbed Video Lottery Terminals as to sidestep casino gaming bans.
Parenthetically, it’s the same tack the present-day NFL takes when it encourages and commercially promotes weekly fantasy football games: Fantasy leagues, the VLTs of illegal “spread” betting on football.
For many horseracing fans and bettors, New York winter racing has become anathema and, for the second time in three years, race fans and horse lovers from all over America are witnessing another spate of fatal breakdowns, one far exceeding the norm.
Obviously, something is very wrong.
Everything Dies Baby, That’s a Fact
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL., January 14, 2015-As if the recent losses of good friends are not enough to remind one of his mortality, now the bricks and mortar of our past are falling by the wayside, too.
Atlantic City Race Course, we hardly knew ya’, but the little we did know and experienced, we loved.
It was 30 years ago, life was a bit simpler and the family always would look forward to the drive south in the summertime.
We loved the Jersey Shore then; we still do. We’d spend a week in Margate at the White Sands, right on the beach. On a clear day you could see the Steel Pier a few miles to the north.
As Lou said to Sally in Louis Malle’s 1980 classic: “You should have seen the ocean in those days.”