Blount: Art of talking gives hope to future of Canterbury

  • Article by: RACHEL BLOUNT , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 1, 2012 - 7:47 AM

The track's president met with Mystic Lake leaders, found a way to boost purses.

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tpsmkemkMay. 1, 12 1:04 AM

It is a great start. Maybe the agreement can lead to allowing Instant Parimutuel Racing Slots that Oaklawn Park has at our tracks and Tribal Gaming getting craps and roulette.

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rwoodyMay. 1, 12 5:15 AM

This is a bandaid; but obviously better than nothing. They will still need to push for slots at some point. When that happens their tribe relationship will disappear. I also agree about Instant Racing - I believe it could be implemented without legislation, going by the precendence set by courts in Arkansas and now Kentucky.

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tpsmkemkMay. 1, 12 6:52 AM

Since the Tribal Gaming lobby has so much pull in our government, working with them appears to be a winning strategy. Building an entertainment corridor along highway 83 in Shakopee with the most powerful tribe would be great way to start a working relationship. See what Don Laughlin did with rival casinos in the town named after him.

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alwayshappyMay. 1, 12 6:58 AM

At a first, casual glance, this is a positive thing for the horse racing industry in Minnesota. However, recent issues involving the impact of racino led inflated purses, and the unintended consequences gives one pause. In those cases, inflated purses have resulted in horse owners and trainers being incented to run unfit, or drugged horses in races when they had no business running. A $7500 claiming race at Acqueduct had a $40,000 purse, thanks to their racino. Two horses broke down in that race, and had to be euthanized. In another case in another state, the track was able to offer a minimum prize of $1,000 to any horse who finished the race, in an effort to have full fields. They were able to offer such a purse structure due to, you guessed, racino revenue. Again, the incentive was to run unfit horses, simply to get the $1,000. As a regular fan of Canterbury since the late 1980's, I sincerely hope that those in power use common sense if and when racino revenue becomes a reality. If higher purses result in more quality horses coming into Canterbury, fine. If it results in a stronger horse breeding industry, fine. If it results in owners and trainers pushing unfit and drugged up $3,500 claimers out to run week after week after week to try to win a share of an inflated purse, people who froth at the mouth over the racino should be ashamed of themselves.

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philsphedupMay. 1, 12 8:20 AM

While you don't source the NYT article as the basis for your expertise, it's obvious from your example that you did. At Canterbury a $7500 claiming race this season will run for a purse of $10,000. At maximum impact (40% is the estimate) it will be run at $14,000 next season. What? You didn't know that this wasn't going to send purses to 4x the claiming level like in NY? Hmmm... The $3500 claiming race is only a recent addition to Canterbury Park - because the precipitous slide of purses available made it more difficult to attract better horses. This will reverse that slide and, in my humble opinion, you'll see the end of $3,500 claimers next season and the bottom level back up to $5,000. Even the increased purse structure will NOT make racing here NEAR as competitively priced as in NY - or Iowa or Chicago, for that matter, but horsemen will at least have a chance. Next time just don't regurgitate what you read in an out of state newspaper - actually do a bit of research.

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alwayshappyMay. 1, 1211:09 AM

And if you read the article in the NYT, you will see that the problem goes well beyond New York. It is a problem in New Mexico, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, etc. I am a fan of racing, and a former owner. If racing is to succeed it is has to stand on its own. And any honest race fan or owner will tell you that horse racing is a dying sport. The only thing that kept it going the last two decades was the increase in simulcasting. Fine, that was being supported by race fans nationwide, as opposed to a local basis. Now, we are asking horse racing to be supported by slot players, who could not give a hoot about the sport. If you tell me that racing needs slot revenue to survive, at least have the intellectual honesty to admit that is what you mean. And then have the basic intelligence to recognize what that means about the future of racing.

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philsphedupMay. 1, 12 5:10 PM

It's hilarious that someone who tried to pass off a line of reasoning written by someone else as his own is accusing me of not being "intellectually honest" or lacking "basic intelligence". In any case, your basic assumption that raising purses will only cause evil is misguided. I would like to think that as purses rise and case studies are learned that mistakes would not need to be repeated elsewhere. Once again, you make the inference that NM, PA, NJ and DE have all share the same experience - they do not. NM is, no question, a trin wreck, but the PA example was a single owner and what was done to push him out of racing and it goes on, but I guess to explain that wouldn't make your point. So much for "intellectual honesty"! For someone who is "alwayshappy" you seem to be a bitter person whose basic assumption is that people can't learn from experience. Sad to read and certainly not worth another 5 minutes of my time. Nice article, Rachel, and kudos to the track and tribes for working together.

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lgren5735May. 1, 12 7:36 PM

If you would have listened to the House session on Monday, you would have heard testimony to the fact that the problems nation wide are not present at Canterbury. Canterbury has a safe track and, thanks to the efforts of the U of M veterinary school, has cooperated in research studying track breakdowns and worked to improve conditions overall so that conditions in Minnesota exceed those elsewhere. Canterbury is one of the premier tracks in the country as far as conditions and atmosphere for horses. The Minnesota horsemen deserve to take pride in their industry and their accomplishments. They also deserve a chance to compete with the 14 other Racino states. This bill that cooperates with the Indian Gaming industry is promising but not the whole solution. Thanks, Rachel, for always standing behind the horsemen.

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holstjMay. 2, 12 1:38 PM

@alwayshappy - the issue isn't that racing needs slots, it's that once some tracks start juicing purses with slot money others have no choice but to follow as the game just got more expensive.

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