25 January 2010

Penn's Jockeys Revolt Against Michael Gill

Penn Jockeys Refuse To Ride In Races Against Michael Gill Horses
Michael Gill owned horses are breaking down too much and jockeys at Penn National have voted to not race against his entrants. Of course, not only is the jockey who rides a Gill horse putting himself in extra danger, but other jockeys and horses are also at risk when a horse breaks down in a race.

It took Ray Paulick (Paulick Report) to break the story. Why not the DRF, Thoroughbred Times, or The Bloodhorse? Well, they are dependent on industry advertising, and a story like this could bring Eight Belles like attention to the sport; breeders and racing execs don't like this kind of stuff to get too much publicity.

"Jockeys at Penn National Race Course apparently took a vote of a different type on Saturday night, allegedly telling track management they would refuse to ride in any more races in which Mike Gill-owned horses were entered. The vote was taken following the fifth race, after third-place finisher Laughing Moon broke down past the wire.....It was the second breakdown of a Gill-owned horse at Penn National in three nights, Melodeeman having suffered a similar catastrophic injury on Thursday night. Melodeeman was trained by Anthony Adamo and Laughing Moon by Darrel Delahoussaye—Gill’s two trainers at Penn National...There was a lengthy delay between Saturday night’s fifth and sixth races as the jockeys stated their case. Eventually, a Gill horse, Justin M, was scratched from the sixth race, and the remainder of the card was completed without incident....According to Equibase charts, in just over three months, 14 other horses owned by Gill have either broken down, were pulled up, returned lame, or eased at Penn National. There were nine in October, three in November, one in December and two in January. (The count includes Saturday night’s incident involving Laughing Moon, even though the Equibase chartcaller did not report the horse broke down past the wire.)"

Here we have an industry that is trying to now guilt horseplayers into accepting artificial surfaces, yet it turns a blind eye to blocking horses, having horses treated outside of tracks just days or hours before they are entered on track, giving a slap on the wrist to many trainers who are unlucky enough to get caught violating drug laws.

We never hear about what is found when autopsies are completed. Are they testing for snake venom, snail venom, or the artificial knockoffs that are apparently being used by some trainers?

Until the industry starts getting tough, and I mean tough when it comes to these types of practices, I find it beyond hypocritical that they are making such an issue about plastic tracks for the safety of the horse and the jockey.

And one more thing. You can't blame the track vet when it comes to horses who are already blocked to feel little to no pain. Of course, most will jog fine and pass their inspection.
UDATE: DRF finally reported on the story. Gill was forced to fire trainer Darrel Delahoussaye in order to keep stalls at Penn.

Fort Erie To See Slot Reduction From Over 1,000 To Just 400 Machines

This is actually good news. Gambling on slots is almost 100% psychological. Atmosphere does play a major role to how long players play and even how often they come back. For years, the slot parlour at Fort Erie track has looked half empty at best. With the reduction, I can see the I idea of having to wait for a machine the odd time as something that will help create a false sense of enthusiasm. People think they are getting something special if other people want the same thing, and if they get something someone else wants.

If anyone has ever lined up to get into a club, the sensation of finally getting in can be an emotional high. And since slots are the crack cocaine of gambling, emotional highs are very important.

Being next to players also increases the chances that losers are next to those who make machines make all kinds of winning noises. This too is positive for the psychology of the slots player. It may get those who are losing, to stay a bit longer, because they know the machines are paying off to someone at least.

Apparently, the reduction of slots was part of the deal that saw the government guarantee over $1.5 million a year, than Fort Erie would have got from slots most likely this year and the next three as well.

Down The Stretch has its newest issue available online. Check out this article by Perry Lefko on Fort Erie: Long Live The Fort

Their headline story is 25 Ways To Save Harness Racing

I, of course, agree 1,000,000,000% with Eric Poteck: The #1 issue for horseplayers is the outrageously high takeout. It must be reduced for the game to be competitive.

Interesting that WEG Head Vizuzu in waiting, Nick Eaves, actually states that takeout on triactors need to be reduced. I guess its out of his hands or something:)

I totally disagree with Eaves that takeout should only be reduced on other bets for big players. It is the small player that isn't lasting long. Reduce the takeout, they last longer, and they are more inclined to become hooked and introduce horse racing to others in their households, their friends, neighbours, and workmates.

The biggest marketing tool horse racing has now is today's customer. Make them feel like they can win, and the game will grow.

Los Alamitos Update
In four days, Los Alamitos is down almost 20% week to week, and over 25% week to year. Check it out here. Note: They ran 8% less races this week than last week or last year. Still, this is an actual horseplayer's protest. Track takeout increase generally take months to create smaller handle just based on players having less to bet and players being turned off quicker from coming back because they find that winning harder to do (they usually don't know why though).

Los Alamitos announced they have shelved Thursday racing until further notice.

Horse racing is the only business on this planet that thinks they can make money when demand is down by RAISING prices (takeout). Economics 101 begs to differ.

Things Looking Bright Again For Racing In Belleville

HORSEPLAYERSBET.COM Has An Offer That Is Hard To Refuse If You Intend To Play Dubai

Racing from Dubai begins on January 28th. There are going to be ten cards culminating with the Dubai World Cup March 27th


Scott said...

Where are the vets or animal rights people at Penn National? The RSPCA in Australia have put jumps racing at the top of their target list, followed by two-year old racing, and they're a bloody annoyance - a minority group demanding attention, and avoiding problems such as owners/trainers who abuse their horses or send them off to the abattoirs when they've extracted every cent of value out of them. Surely a racing body has a responsibility, both to gamblers and to participants, that every animal competing is in a fit state to do so?? Is there anything in the Rules of Racing that says a horse has to try/be in a state capable of winning, just like in professional sports you can be shamed for not trying to win?

It's idiots like this that ruin the image of the industry for everyone.

Anonymous said...

Down The Stretch continues to lead the way in entertaining and informative articles. The one about Julia Brimo is must reading. Just thought I'd mention it because the writer did a good job telling the story.

Railbirdbrad said...

Gill is a joke he sends out entries (1 and 1A ) one wins the other is scraped off the track with a spatula!you never know which one is going to break down,but as a handicapper i expect one to pull up!i play the odd race @ penn because its on Betfair,Canadian horses do well because they can run on bute and thats not public knowledge.kudos to the jocks for taking a stand.

Keith-TripleDeadHeat said...

Thanks very much for the Down The Stretch link Mr. CanGamble!

(And thank you to Anonymous for the kind words about my Julia Brimo story...)

If there's a good side to the Gill story it's that the publicity being generated at this point will eventually force a solution...keep the story going.

Cangamble said...

Keith, the Brimo story was good too. Lots of things from Down the Stretch I could have linked to, but I guess my blog is focused on trying to change things for the better/bettor, which means growth, which means a bigger profit for tracks and horsemen alike.
Will the Gill story affect change...probably slowly but surely.

Railbirdbrad said...

Ray Paulick is getting alot of input regarding Gill,thanx for the link.