Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Here we go!

I have not posted much about the Maryland Legislative Special Session in the last few days. Everything changed by the moment, and I was unsure how any of it was going to effect horse racing. Well, the session has come to an end, and the people will get a chance to vote if they want slot machines in Maryland. Unfortunately, that vote will not come until November of 2008. Even then, if it passes, how long will it take to get this undisclosed amount of money added to the purses at local tracks.

Today the Baltimore Sun had a good article with quotes from a number of people in the local horse racing industry.
Richard Hoffberger, president of the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association, said not too many horsemen are thrilled with a referendum that puts the issue more years down the road. "Am I happy?" he said. "It's a mixed emotion. It's like me telling you I just bought you a new car. I know you're 100 miles from home and that you have to cross the Sahara Desert and your air conditioner isn't working. But if you get here, you can have the new, fast car with the fine air conditioning in two years. "The question is how do you get to where you want to get? It's a real mixed emotion. We don't know if the referendum will pass or if the car will break down on the way across the desert."
Horse breeder Mike Pons, who was at Philadelphia Park yesterday where he was running one of his horses "because the money is so much better," said he is relieved that the decision about slots "has finally gotten in front of the people." But he is concerned about the vote."We're all scared it won't pass," he said. "And if it doesn't, what then?
The real winners in this battle are the media and marketing firms . Over the next twelve months, the citizens of Maryland will be bombarded with mailings, TV commercials, and nonsense. Everyone trying to push the vote in their favor. Who will be spending the most money, I would say Delaware Park, Charles Town Races and Slots, and Philly Park. If they can convince the people of Maryland to vote down the slots, they would squash the competition. I think my next project will be to start collecting and posting propaganda from both sides!

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