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.