Initiative would authorize casino gambling at Nebraska race tracks

A proposed constitutional amendment authorizing casino gambling at Nebraska horse race tracks may be on the general election ballot in 2020.

Lance Morgan, president and CEO of Ho-Chunk Inc., announced Thursday that a ballot initiative proposal has been filed with the secretary of state’s office.

Expanded gambling would generate an estimated $50 million in new state tax revenue that could help fund property tax relief and support public schools, Morgan said.

Nebraska is “missing out on taxes and proceeds from about $500 million that residents wager annually in surrounding states,” the petition sponsors said in a news release.

A similar petition effort in 2016 failed to acquire the required number of signatures.

As was the case three years ago, the initiative campaign committee will be called “Keep the Money in Nebraska.”

Accompanying the proposed constitutional amendment will be two statutory initiatives to regulate casino gambling.

Ho-Chunk, which owns the Atokad track in South Sioux City, is partnering with the Nebraska Horsemen’s Benevolent Protection Association to bring the issue to Nebraska voters.

Those connected to the racing industry have long viewed casinos as a lifeline for the state’s horse racing tracks, which have suffered through decades of decline.

In 2017, wagering on live races and races simulcast to the wagering facilities in Omaha, Lincoln, Grand Island and Columbus totaled $67.9 million, the lowest total since simulcast wagering was added in Nebraska in the ….

An Inside Look at Dubai World Cup night at Meydan

On Saturday March 30, I was lucky enough to attend the Dubai World Cup at Meydan – the richest race meeting on the planet.

Here is my review of the experience…

Location/course – 9/10

The Meydan racecourse is a 15-20 minute drive from the main hub. It takes slightly longer though if you have the Dubai version of Mr Bean driving your bus, as we did on Saturday. The course itself is an absolute behemoth, with the Meydan Hotel directly adjacent to the grandstand. Punters staying in the hotel can watch the action from their rooms if they don’t fancy wandering 200m down the road.

We were based in the press room on level 5, in line with the winning post, which provided a decent view of the track. The general public area down on the ground stretches for about 200m from the 400m to the furlong marker. Part of that area is what was formerly known as the ‘international village’ – a section with various bars, heavily-populated by foreigners. The grandstand wasn’t much to look at during the day but once the sun went down, it took on a much more visually appealing state.

Record-breaking Superstar Winx goes out on 33rd consecutive victory

She Did It Again!

(CNN)The Australian wonder-horse, Winx, racked up a 33rd straight win and a third consecutive Queen Elizabeth stakes in the final race of a remarkable career on Saturday.

In doing so, the seven-year-old mare extended its already record haul of coveted Group One victories to 25.

Dubbed the “Usain Bolt of horse racing” by some, Winx has earned its owners more than $16 million in recent years as well winning international recognition through awards such as the 2018 Longines Horse of the Year alongside Cracksman.

Long time jockey, Hugh Bowman, who piloted Winx to one final victory Saturday, said he was “proud to be a part” of the horse’s story, in comments carried by the AFP news agency. “(Winx) has captured the hearts of people all around the world.”

A crowd of over 50,000 whooped and cheered as Winx passed the winning post at the Royal Randwick racecourse in Sydney, Australia, one final time.

Despite starting the race cautiously, she started moving through the field as the finish approached.

Chris Waller, the trainer of Winx, later fought back tears as he spoke to Australia’s Channel 7.

Funds returned to bankrupt horse betting firm should go to charity

The case involves Racing Services Inc., a company owned by Susan Bala that filed for bankruptcy in 2004, shortly after the company came under scrutiny by federal authorities.

A case was eventually brought in federal court and Bala was ultimately sentenced to prison on illegal gambling charges. She was released early after her convictions were overturned on appeal.

A federal judge ruled in 2014 that the state of North Dakota wasn’t authorized to collect taxes on account wagering, a form of gambling that utilized services like RSI, during the time period involved and North Dakota agreed to pay RSI’s bankruptcy estate about $15.9 million.

Early on in the bankruptcy case a large creditor — PW Enterprises — filed an initial claim of about $2.2 million.

After the state agreed to pay the bankruptcy estate nearly $16 million, PWE amended its claim, boosting what it sought from the estate by about $10.8 million.

PWE owner Peter Wagner was described in court documents as a high-volume computer player who had agreements with RSI regarding things like gambling rebates.

In late 2018, a bankruptcy court judge denied PWE’s amended claim, but approved the initial claim of about $2.2 million.

PWE appealed the decision, maintaining that under state law it was entitled to money North Dakota paid …

Saratoga Weekly Ticket plans for 2019 meet on sale Tomorrow

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) will welcome the general public to purchase weekly reserved seat ticket plans for the 2019 meet at Saratoga Race Course beginning Tuesday, April 9 at 10 a.m.

A weekly ticket plan offers racing fans the opportunity to purchase a reserved seat in the Clubhouse, Grandstand and The Stretch for five consecutive days of the meet from Wednesday through Sunday (Thursday through Sunday for Opening Weekend; and Wednesday through Monday for Closing Week).

Weekly ticket plans may be purchased online through NYRA Account Manager. All weekly ticket plans include admission and will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis (according to available inventory)…

Weekly reserved seat plans for the 2019 meet at Saratoga Race Course are available as follows:

Week 1, Opening Weekend, featuring the Diana: Thurs. July 11 – Sun. July 14

Week 2, featuring the Coaching Club American Oaks: Wed. July 17 – Sun. July 21

Week 3, featuring the Jim Dandy: Wed. July 24 – Sun. July 28

Week 4: featuring the Whitney and Turf Triple: Wed. July 31 – Sun. Aug. 4

Week 5, featuring the Fourstardave: Wed. Aug. 7 – Sun. Aug. 11

Week 6, featuring the Alabama: Wed. Aug. 14 – Sun. Aug. 18

Week 7, featuring the Runhappy Travers: Wed. Aug. 21 – Sun. Aug. 25

Week 8, featuring the Woodward: Wed. Aug. 28 – Mon. Sept. 2

Rich Nilsen’s Analysis w/Wagers for Super Saturday – April 6, 2019

15-time NHC Qualifier Rich Nilsen has analyzed the three big KY Derby preps for Super Saturday April 6th.

  • Keeneland’s Blue Grass Stakes – a great betting race
  • Aqueduct’s Wood Memorial – Nilsen has a value play on top!
  • The Santa Anita Derby – He’s going against Breeders’ Cup champ Game Winner in this spot.

Each race includes Nilsen’s expert race and pace analysis, along with top selections, and a detailed wagering strategy to attack each race.  Don’t miss it on one racing’s biggest and best days of the year.

Only $12.97 for the instant PDF download

 

ABOUT THE HANDICAPPER

Rich Nilsen caught the horse racing bug at a young age when his father took him to the racetracks in New York. He eventually attended the University of Louisville Equine Business Program with the goal of making a career in the horse racing industry.

Nilsen has worked the past 25+ years in the equine industry, serving most of those years as the Marketing Director for Brisnet.com and TwinSpires.com, the Official Wagering Site of the Kentucky Derby.

During his long tenure at the Churchill Downs-owned properties, Nilsen managed the successful Players’ Pool syndicate, which pooled funds from the account wagering members to go after large Pick-6 carryovers. During Nilsen’s leadership, the Players’ Pool produced a significant profit for the members over the course of seven years. One of the best hits was when the Players’ Pool took down half of the Pick-6 pool on Kentucky Derby Day 2007, with a gross return of over $500,000.  The Pool had several other hits over $250,000.

The $3 Million National Horseplayers Championship (NHC) is the premier horse racing tournament in the nation. It is basically horse racing’s version of the World Series of Poker, with the main difference being that players cannot buy their way into the NHC. Players can only win their way in via tournaments held throughout the country. Nilsen is one of the top participants in the history of the event, having qualified 15 times. He was the first player to finish in the top 10 at the NHC twice and is ranked in the top 10 all-time at the NHC.

Nilsen is the founder and editor of AGameofSkill.com, a site devoted to horse racing education and promotion.

JUST ONE TESTIMONIAL

As horse death toll grows at Santa Anita, fans and foes of racing see a hard battle over sport’s future

The CHRB has called a special meeting Friday, April 12, at Santa Anita, and could take action to move racing dates to another track for the rest of this year’s season, which is scheduled to continue through Sunday, June 23.

Larry Levine, a Los Angeles-based political consultant who said he has been a horse racing fan since visiting Agua Caliente racetrack in Tijuana with his father at age 14, said he would be surprised if legislators put a racing-ban measure on the ballot, a move that could mean lost state revenue and attracting the ire of racing supporters. So any such move, he said, would be up to activists.

“In California, it comes down to ‘Do you have enough money to pay the signature-gatherers the $2 or $4 or $6 or $10 they want (per signature)?,” Levine said.

“Then it comes down to the political moxie of the industry to fight back,” he added. “Nobody can show me (the racing industry) has shown a lot of political moxie in recent years.”

But the racing industry nationwide, and related industries and labor groups in California, would spend money to protect their interests in a major racing state. Levine said such pro-racing spending would make any racing ban proposition “a very expensive campaign.”

The problem for those arguing for keeping racing, Levine said, is “How do you overcome the emotions (about) a dead horse?”

The 23rd and most recent fatal breakdown during the current Santa Anita season, which started on Wednesday, Dec. 26, occurred in the San Simeon Stakes on the hillside turf course Sunday, March 31, when the 5-year-old gelding Arms Runner fractured his right foreleg as the horses crossed the main track near the top of the stretch. Arms Runner and jockey Martin Pedroza fell, taking La Sardane and rider Ruben Fuentes down with them. Arms Runner had to be eunthanized

Senator Feinstein calls for suspension of races at Santa Anita

The LA Times reports:

California Sen. Dianne Feinstein called for the suspension of races at Santa Anita until an investigation into what has caused 23 horses to die at the track since late December is complete.

In a letter sent to California Horse Racing Board chairman Chuck Winner on Tuesday, the Democratic senator wrote she is “appalled that almost two dozen horses have died in just four months.”

“I believe that racing at Santa Anita should be suspended until the cause or causes of these deaths can be fully investigated,” Feinstein wrote. “I also ask for more information about what the California Horse Racing Board is doing to both investigate this matter and address some of the concerns that these incidents have rightly raised.”

Feinstein asked the CHRB whether it was considering other changes to improve the safety of horses after it agreed to phase out race-day medications and limit the use of whips on horses.

“While these are positive initial steps, please let me know whether the Board is considering other actions that have been proposed by trainers and animal welfare advocates, including the complete elimination of medications such as Lasix and the use of synthetic track surfaces,” Feinstein wrote. “In your view, would these or other steps be reasonable measures to prevent horse injuries and death?”

Rep. Judy Chu (D) called for a congressional hearing and investigation into the treatment of horses Monday, a day after Arms Runner became the 23rd horse to die at Santa Anita since the start of the track’s winter/spring meet on Dec. 26. The track reopened Friday after being closed to racing for nearly a month after 21 horses died over a 10-week span.

Keeneland Meet in 2019 Opens One Day Early on Thursday

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18)– The warmer weather we are expecting later this week is coming just in time for the opening day for the Spring Meet Thursday.

“For the first time in 60 years we’re opening the spring meet on Thursday,” said Amy Gregory, the director of communications at Keeneland.

The extra day is to make up for Easter Sunday, which falls on a race day this year. Folks at Keeneland say that horse racing lovers aren’t the only ones who will benefit.

“When we’re racing, it means a lot to the local economy. We have a major financial impact on hotels, hospitality, retail, restaurants,” said Gregory.

There are a lot of big plans for the opening weekend. Gates open at 3 p.m. on Thursday and later at 7 p.m., Thursday Night Live will also be held at Keeneland.

On Friday, it’s College Scholarship Day.

2019 Dubai World Cup: Will This Be the Pace Setup?

The ensuing proverbial chess match meets the absolute apex of horseracing excitement. While multiple storylines exist—as they often do in a complex renewal of any world-class race—one that shines in this year’s edition is that of the luckless and much-loved North America, a truly local product and hero trained at Zabeel Stables by Satish Seemar.

Big in size and style, the front-running 7-year-old bay son of Dubawi who failed to break in last year’s event—losing all chance as one of the favourites—has returned with a vengeance in 2019, winning both his starts on the local dirt in emphatic style. On Wednesday, in the official post position draw, he landed in barrier three among the 13 set to contest the 2000m affair. Jockey Richard Mullen will team up with Ramzan Kadyrov’s imposing gelding for a 12th time, hoping for an eighth victory.

“Given we both break on terms, it looks the pace will be between my horse North America and Capezzano,” Mullen said. “I think North America has more natural speed than Capezzano, so I hope that will leave us in front to dictate and use the huge stride pattern he has once we get into the back straight. I am happier with him being drawn outside Capezzano. If it was the other way around, he would be able pressure us, but we might have that advantage now. Thunder Snow will probably be up close, as he has shown in the past from wide draws. I think Axelrod is another that could be racing prominently.”

Salem bin Ghadayer makes a splash back in action with a trio of entries in the world’s richest race, topped by Sultan Ali’s aforementioned Capezzano, a progressive type who has manhandled his foes by a combined 25¾ lengths in his last three tries, all wins, including a 9½-length drubbing of defending Dubai World Cup champion Thunder Snow in the Group 1 Al Maktoum Challenge Round 3. The mount of Mickael Barzalona upped the intrigue when landing in barrier two, as he very much has the same forwardly inclined modus operandi as market favourite North America.

Bin Ghadayer’s other two are Grade 1-placed American imports bearing the banner of Phoenix Thoroughbreds and partners, Gronkowski and Axelrod. The pair landed adjacently in posts seven and eight, with Oisin Murphy and Royston Ffrench set to take the respective reins of two horses who failed to factor in their Super Saturday preps.

Godolphin’s popular Thunder Snow is certainly the standard in the race as he bids to become the first two-time winner one year after becoming the first UAE Derby (G2) victor to pull off the double. Without a win since his tour-de-force last year, the Saeed bin Suroor trainee has accounted well for himself, including a second in the Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) and third in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1)—both over 2000m on dirt. Christophe Soumillon will once again have to work out a trip from a wide post, as he did when breaking from 10-of-10 in 2018 and 13-of-16 in the 2017 UAE Derby, when he jumps from barrier 12.

Bookending Thunder Snow in second and fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Classic were Salomon del Valle’s Gunnevera and WinStar Farm, China Horse Club et al.’s Yoshida, who bring ample class into a deep field. Five-time Grade 1-placed Gunnevera hopes to finally break through at the top level when he is ridden by Emisael Jaramillo from the rail. The deep closer was last seen disappointing in sixth in the $9 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) on Jan. 26—a race in which fellow entrants, Charles Fipke’s Seeking the Soul and WinStar Farm, China Horse Club et al.’s Audible, finished second and fifth. The Pegasus, in its current and previous form as the Donn Handicap (G1), has produced no less than five Dubai World Cup winners, including Bill Mott-trained inaugural victor Cigar.

Mott seeks a second win when he returns with his first runner in the big race since Lea (third in 2015) when he saddles multi-surface Grade 1 winner Yoshida. A decisive winner of the Woodward (G1) last September in his dirt bow over Seeking the Soul and Gunnevera, he exits the worst effort of his life when finishing sixth in the turf equivalent of the Pegasus over soft ground. A five-time winner from 13 starts, he and Todd Pletcher-trained Grade 1 winner Audible are owned in part by WinStar, whose Well Armed brought the curtain down on Nad Al Sheba in a 2009 Dubai World Cup romp. Jose Ortiz rides Yoshida from post 10, while Audible, who must improve to factor, landed in the four for jockey Flavien Prat.

Seeking the Soul is Fipke and trainer Dallas Stewart’s second runner in the race after Forever Unbridled’s fifth last year after a wide trip. The dark bay homebred has been impressive in morning track work, but must prove his effectiveness over the 2000m trip, as well as at this level of competition, when Mike Smith takes the reins from a plum draw in five. Finishing a short head in front of Forever Unbridled in 2018 and returning again is Reddam Racing’s Pavel, who breaks from post six under Joel Rosario for trainer Doug O’Neill. Interestingly, he adds blinkers after having breezed in them earlier in the week.

Japan’s K T Brave, a flashy chestnut with a big blaze, appears to have shipped well and was a good third two back in the Tokyo Daishoten (G1), finishing 1½ lengths behind Dubai World Cup alumnus Gold Dream. He must improve to factor here for trainer Haruki Sugiyama and owner Kazuyoshi Takimoto. The same can be said for another Asia-based chestnut, South Korea’s Dolkong, who was a romping winner of the Curlin Handicap on Feb. 28, but could only manage third last out in Round 3, nearly pipping Thunder Snow. The Simon Foster trainee is owned by Lee Tae In and breaks from the outside post 13 under Olivier Doleuze.

Rounding out the field is a horse many, including trainer Ahmad bin Harmash, believe is one to watch for the 2020 Dubai World Cup—as well as a serious factor in 2019—Hamdan Sultan Ali Alsabousi’s New Trails. The regally bred son of Medaglia d’Oro has raced five times this season and risen from the handicap ranks to Group 2-placed when second to North America in Round 2. Fourth in Round 3, he was 1¼ lengths shy of becoming the 13th horse in this field to have won or placed in G1 company. Connor Beasley rides from barrier nine.