NEWS AND NOTES FOR OCTOBER 24, 2013
FOURTH STAKES WINNER FOR TOO MUCH BLING
Texas stallion Too Much Bling picked up his fourth stakes winner of this year when his daughter Countess Bling scored a decisive 3 ½-length win in the $100,000 Juvenile Stakes for Ohio-breds at Thistledown on October 12.
Her victory also helped push Too Much Bling to the top of the Texas sire list for 2013, as his $1,060,075 in progeny earnings this year through October 22 puts him narrowly in front of Early Flyer ($918,163), Oratory ($911,753), Valid Expectations ($840,788) and My Golden Song ($706,041). Too Much Bling, a Grade 2-winning and Grade 1-placed son of Rubiano, stands at Lane’s End Texas, which recently announced the retirement of all-time leading Texas sire Valid Expectations from stud duty.
HRTV BREEDERS’ CUP COVERAGE
HRTV will present comprehensive live coverage leading into, and continuing through the Breeders’ Cup on November 1 and 2, televising all races live with the exception of the G1 Classic, with the races also available at hrtv.com.
The network will offer paddock updates, full post parades, up-to-date information, and race-by-race analysis. Additionally, HRTV will offer the live telecast of the Breeders’ Cup post position draw Oct. 28. Its “Pursuit of the Cup” show will expand to a daily show Oct. 26.
NEW JERSEY SLOTS AT TRACKS BILL SAVES JOBS AND PROPERTY TAXES
A recent article reports that New Jersey Assemblyman Ron Dancer has introduced two measures that would bring slot machine gaming to New Jersey’s horse racetracks with the proceeds being used to benefit both the horse racing and casino industries as well as the State’s share dedicated as aid to education for lower property taxes.
The first measure, ACR-209, proposes a constitutional amendment that, if approved by voters, would give the Legislature the authority to establish slot machine gambling at horse racetracks. The second bill, A-4427, would regulate such gambling at racetracks by directing the state Division of Gaming Enforcement to establish and oversee the slot gambling.
“This is a winning solution, a trifecta, if you will, for the casino industry, the horse racing industry and taxpayers who would all mutually benefit from allowing slot machine gambling at horse tracks throughout the state,” said Dancer. “It would provide an opportunity for casino operators to expand beyond the boundaries of Atlantic City and reach patrons who may not otherwise consider travelling to AC to engage in gambling activities and slow the exodus of Jersey residents traveling to neighboring states’ racetracks that offer slots.
“For the racetrack industry, slots would increase attendance by drawing patrons who ordinarily would not travel to race tracks where horse racing is the sole activity on which to wager,” he continued. “Taxpayers would also come up big winners as the increased tax revenue generated directly and indirectly by new racetrack slot machine operations would result in more state aid to their towns for education, which is the largest driver of property taxes.”
“This legislation is good public policy that provides an opportunity for both the casino and horse racing industries to work together to ensure that success of one is not at the expense of the other and, at the same time, generate new revenue for the State to be dedicated as aid to education for lower property taxes,” stated Dancer. “These measures are a win-win for jobs and lower property taxes.”
NERUD WOULD STIR THINGS UP
Jay Hovdey reports that Breeders’ Cup founder and emeritus board member John Nerud was recently asked if anyone in charge ever asks him for advice anymore.
“I’ve talked to a couple people,” Nerud said. “I told them you’ve screwed up the Breeders’ Cup. You’ve got two days of fancy racing, but you can’t make champions of all those horses. They run the same old races and try to tell us the winners are champions when a lot of times they’re nothing more than million-dollar allowance races, with the same horses running for a little bit more money. I mean, you’ve had times when the winner of the Classic wasn’t even mentioned for Horse of the Year.”
From the start, Nerud’s passion was to make the Breeders’ Cup mainstream.
“When you made two days of racing with so many races that mean nothing you have no big thing to attract attention for each of those days,” he said. “If you’re going to do two days, why don’t you copy something like Churchill Downs has done with the Kentucky Oaks the day before the Derby? The Oaks will never be as big as the Derby, of course, but that day has become a pretty big deal in its own right.”
And since Nerud never has been the kind of man to lob criticism unencumbered by a positive idea, here’s what he would do:
“The horses who draw people to the Thoroughbred industry are the 3-year-olds, and by this time of year they’re already picking the 2-year-olds who are going to be those 3-year-olds everyone’s going to follow next year,” he said. “You want to make that first Breeders’ Cup day a big deal? Get rid of all those million-dollar allowance races and put up three million for a 2-year-old race everybody will need to run in, and everybody will talk about the winner.
“Now you’ve got a lot of money left,” Nerud added. “So you make the Classic worth 10 million, and don’t be shy about it. The horse who wins that race, you call him the Horse of the World. Then you’d really have something to sell.”
Hovdey commented, “Nerud trained Dr. Fager, the greatest all-around American champion, during his Hall of Fame career, then later bred Breeders’ Cup Mile winner Cozzene. He will be turning 101 next February. Someone ought to listen to this guy before it’s too late.”
NOTES…Fasig-Tipton Texas has announced entries will close on January 6th for the 2014 2-Year-Olds In-Training sale scheduled for April 1, preceded by an under-tack show on March 30…The Iowa Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners Association October 20th yearling sale registered its highest gross since 2004…Fasig-Tipton’s October yearling sale set records across the board with a 21.4% increase in gross sales after selling 818 yearlings for $27,908,000. The average price of $34,117 was 30.6% higher than last year, and the $17,000 median soared 33.3% over last year’s figure. Buybacks, meanwhile, fell to 16.2% from 19.6% a year ago. The final session’s buyback rate was an astonishingly low 13.6% for horses that went through the ring… Fasig-Tipton will conduct The Florida Sale of Selected two-year-olds in Training for 2014 at Adena Springs South in Williston, near Ocala. The auction is set for Monday, March 24, 2014, with the under-tack show scheduled for Friday, March 21…Equine Sales announced that 19 supplements have been added to the October 28 Open Yearling and Mixed Sale, bringing the total number of consignments to 199…After reviewing this year’s edition of the Sycamore Stakes contested Oct. 17 at Keeneland, the American Graded Stakes Committee has decided not to reinstate the grade III status that was lost when the scheduled turf race was moved to the main track…After Kentucky Downs conceded on one date that would have conflicted with Churchill Downs in September, the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission approved a 2014 dates schedule that follows the dates raced in 2013…River Downs, which did not race this year with a casino under construction on the property, will reopen May 1 of next year and be renamed Belterra Park, according to Kevin Kaufman, the general manager and vice president of the racetrack and casino owned by Pinnacle Gaming…Gulfstream Park has received 4,523 stall applications for the 2,720 stalls available at Gulfstream and Palm Meadows during its Champions Meet, which begins November 30, and will feature 63 stakes races, including 34 graded events, with purses totaling a record $10.75 million…The Massachusetts Gaming Commission Oct. 17 voted unanimously to adopt the RMTC national uniform medication and drug-testing program model rules…To enhance the information available to prospective owners of Thoroughbred racehorses, OwnerView.com today announced a new service called “OwnerView Host”, a free service covering topics such as business plans, ownership options, licensing, costs and expenses, and aftercare…Trevor Denman will get a rare time-out on Friday when late night funny man Conan O’Brien, who hosts CONAN weeknights at 11 p.m. on TBS, will step up to the Santa Anita microphone and call Friday’s second race under the watchful eye of America’s premier race caller.