16 October 2008

Fort Erie To Get Speedway; What About The Ponies?

Fort Erie To Get Speedway

It looks like Fort Erie is getting a major motor-sport speedway. There are still a few bureaucratic hoops to go through, but apparently financing has been secured.

Foreign investment of approximately $200 million will come from an investment consortium is led by Kuwaiti Islamic investment bank Bayt Al Mal Investments.

623 acres of land between Bowen Rd. and Gilmore Rd. has been purchased, and that is where the 65,000 seat complex is supposed to be built.

The complex may include a theme park, hotel and automotive research facilities, according to Fort Erie Mayor Doug Martin.

More Questions Than Answers

All this is fine and dandy. But what about horse racing? What about that ridiculous venture Nordic Gaming is trying to promote regarding a $300 million dollar complex being built on the Fort Erie race track grounds? To my knowledge, Nordic is looking for the government to finance this. The auto track looks like it is completely relying on foreign investment (much more appealing). With the auto track, a smaller version of a new complex being built at the race track is now semi-realistic, but I still don't see that there would be demand for anything but maybe another hotel to accommodate auto race fans on the odd days that there is a big race.

The auto track won't open until at least 2010, but Fort Erie race track is ready to close next year, or maybe it isn't, who knows? With no announcements regarding next year, I'm starting to think that Ajax Downs will be where Ontario's B horses will run. I sure hope not.

If the auto track is built, it will be great for the Fort Erie economy (estimated $34 million in taxes alone), and probably very good for the slots business (it would be good for the horse racing business too (if new ownership for Fort Erie Race Track came along). But at this point, does Nordic really care. Remember, they are mainly a real estate venture firm, and real estate prices are heading in the crapper in the US where they have serious investments, and it is on a down slide in Canada, where El-Ad, Nordic's parent company, has many holdings. They have already postponed the building of a multi-billion dollar complex in Vegas due to the real estate market. Fort Erie Race Track is probably a very tiny concern for the company today.

How about border security? Will the government approve a major investment from an Islamic investment bank, so close to the US border? Will the US put pressure on the Canadian government to prevent this?

With the proposed auto racing track and the Save The Hospital campaign, Fort Erie's race track's future isn't even a priority with local politicians anymore, or so it seems.

Fort Erie Jockey and Trainer Race

Fort Erie's jockey race is tightening. With 7 racing days left, Rui Pimentel has closed ground on Chad Beckon to be only 4 wins behind. Mike Newell is the leading trainer right now with a 4 win lead on both Nick Gonzalez and Lyle Morden. Newell has had 79 more starters than Gonzalez, and a whopping 126 more starts than Lyle Morden. Morden is doing phenomenal, winning one out of every three races he saddles a horse at The Fort.

I've always been a proponent of testing the crap out of barns winning at rates of 20% or greater. I'm not saying high percentage trainers are using illegal substances, but public perception these days isn't good, and what I know about trainers is that there is only so much a trainer can do with a horse without using magic. Sure, luck could come into play for a short period, but I'd feel better and so would the racing community, if more intense testing was done on mega winning trainers.

New York Is The Latest State To Ban Steroids
'Officials were unveiling details about the new effort Oct. 14, but the rules will set new threshold levels for four steroids that are now permitted – and allow only one of those to be permitted in horse racing. The rules affect: stanozolol (Winstrol), one nanogram per milliliter of urine; boldenone (Equipose), for male horses other than geldings; 15 ng/ml; nandrolone (Durabolin), one ng/ml; and testosterone, 20 ng/ml in geldings and 55 ng/ml in fillies and mares.'

I'm not sure what is banned in Ontario and what is allowed, but I don't recall any announcement from the Ontario Racing Commission lately regarding this type of banning lately. The latest mention I've seen was back in early September, and it looks like Ontario is kicking the tires regarding steroid use.

Does it have to do with a conflict of interest? WEG execs having a vested interest in owning horses that might be making money using steroids? Makes me wonder.

This Is Really Cool and It Shows That Horse Racing Is In Trouble
Dean from Pull The Pocket did a guest post at Harness Racing Blog.
He used Google Trends to compare searches made for terms like "horse racing," "poker," "harness racing," etc.
He found out that "Poker, in terms of searches is 1520% more popular than horse racing." Even "Betfair" outnumbers "horse racing" in searches done over the internet.

Speaking of Pull The Pocket, he has a MUST READ post up called You Can't Win. I'll probably chime in a do my own version on my next blog post.

Just over $4000 bet on the initial pick 6 pool at Woodbine yesterday. The $2 minimum sucks big time, as stated before, Woodbine isn't Santa Anita, and the Woodbine betting crowd is not the California crowd. There is a minuscule $2,276 carryover going into today (those who had 5 winners received around $120 each yesterday). I predict it will grow slightly more than the discarded pick 7 grew, but not by much.


Anonymous said...

I completely agree that trainers doing well need to receive more pre-race drug tests. I won't name names, but there are a couple of trainers that are impossible to claim off of... the horses never run like they did before and it's clear as hell thats simply because of the horse lacking the special juice the original trainer was using. I've seen horses that get claimed for 12,5 after galloping, then can't win after that... then get claimed back and gallop for 32. Give be a break. How obvious does it need to be before someone starts doing something about it?

Anonymous said...

Why is it that Trainers cannot simply have a good year without everyone knocking them? I think it is high time that you realize that the racing community DOES NOT need people like you building speculation and insulting trainers and the horse racing industry. It is so easy for everyone to sit back and speak about the magic juice that trainers are using, instead of actually considering the fact that one training program actually can be better for an individual horse than another - there are so many other factors, perhaps if you opened your eyes a bit, you would see the other side of racing instead of just the Daryl Ezra bubble that you are in.

It is about time that Trainers, especially ones like Lyle Morden were given some credit for just being good at what they do...and someone put an end to the crap that you seem so intent on publishing. You are doing no favours to racing posting this rubbish!

Cangamble said...

I know a lot more than what I say here. Mr. Anon.
What I post is not rubbish.
What bubble am I in btw? I have many sources. Oh, the stories I could write.

Anonymous said...

Really. So essentially you are saying that you are holding back?? Why don't you tell everyone who those sources are? Bickered Trainers taking a stab at other trainers. It is pretty easy sitting behind your blog to attack one of the most competitive sports known.

Imagine if Apple and IBM's CEO's where in office adjacent to each other, oh, the stories they would tell. Fact is, it is in every trainers best interest to slam other trainers, that is the way they build their clientelle. So, perhaps you should seriously consider just how factual your information or sources are, considering their inherent conflict of interest.

Because unless you have seen a Trainer administer a drug to a horse or there is evidence (Mike Osborne for example, who by the way was probably trying to make a last ditch effort to bring his percentage up past 5% which is his standard). Then I would bet that all your stories are from sources that are unreliable and have skin in the game. Each trainer benefits from another trainers bad press. Don't forget that. By the way it is Mrs. Anon

Cangamble said...

Mrs Anon please. I'm well aware that trainers slam trainers, I'm also well aware of what goes on backside and my info doesn't just come from trainers.

Jess said...

It can't get any better than this.