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Archive for March, 2014

Virginia Racing Commission Meeting Colonial Downs VaHBPA

Colonial Downs And Horsemen Meet With Virginia Racing Commission

Driving to Colonial Downs to see if they want to continue to have thoroughbred horses race at their “horse track”. Goodluck horsemen and Colonial Downs to signing a reasonable contract that keeps racing alive and well in Virginia. (By “reasonable”, I mean a 4 x 8). I predict 4 days x 7 weeks or maybe 3 x 7, but I won’t like it.
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  • They are now arguing about allowing Colonial Downs to open wagering for the Dogwood classic.

     

  • I believe they may need to pick up a sponsor down there someday ……….The 2014 TUMS DERBY…for non winners everywhere

     

  • So now Colonial Downs admits to taking money from the joint account with the horsemen to fund the purses for the Dogwood Classic. Interesting….. Sneaky….. Criminal?

     

  • Headlines…”It`s a Crock..of manure spreading at best” Maybe that is what the burn at track burning event they are charging $2 to get in….

     

  • Frank is making a proposal now…. This involves the Dogwood Classic…

     

  • Did you know dogwood`s fall of Virginians homes causing damages?

     

  • Thankfully I have Dubai pp`s to study

     

  • They allowed wagering at the Dogwood Classic…

     

  • But not the Florida Derby?

     

  • Discussing a 7 week, 3 days/week for 21 days of racing.

     

  • 7 and 21 are good numbers for gamblers ….ZERO NOT SO MUCH

     

  • More people from New Kent County attended this meeting.

     

  • From what I understand, just the dogwood classic.

     

  • New Kent residents should get free passes to smooze???

     

  • Db`s marketing logo “To get ass`es you need free pass`es

     

  • Dogwood`s are the things that fall on folks homes in storms ?

     

  • By they way thanks for the updates …The $25 I saved in gas and $5 on tums will be wagered to support horse racing Saturday
  • no pictures from the crock smart phone?
  • No decision on a contract between Colonial Downs Race Track and the horsemen today. There will be another meeting on April 11th, 9 a.m.
  • What came of the Florida meeting that was reported to be happening a few days ago Chris?
  • Sarah : I would guess a hefty expense account ?
  • Sarah McCord I talked to a CD administrator who was on the inside, but they could not tell me details. All I did find out was Jacobs wasn’t stuck on the short meet like Ian Stewart seemed to be, but he wants to run 8 weeks with harness racing mixed in. 3 days standardbred and 3 days thoroughbred. And where would we train? I can’t imagine it would hurt Colonial and maybe it would be best to cut into the turf course and build a inner harness or dirt track. Run more dirt races and ease up on the grass. I hate to say it, but restrict maiden claiming races to dirt.
  • I don’t know the %s but restricting mcl at Cnl to dirt will move most of the races off the turf.
    Like you said in your first letter Chris the cheap grass is the reason people come.
    You can’t take all the mcl off the grass. The condition books are almost entirely maiden claimers. You can raise the claim tag on the bottom grass but you’ll probably get the 5k horses running for 16 or whatever bottom is.
    If we are to assume that is one model actually on the table (a scary thought) It might be ok moving a higher percentage to dirt
    IF they would hire a good track man and give us a safe racetrack. You know from training there That that track is not even good enough to gallop on a lot of the time.But why do that when you have a huge swath of turf that will hold up to running nearly every race on the card for an 8 week meet??? other tracks limit their turf is because it’s a precious resource that won’t hold up to the abuse of daily racing. But with a 24 day meet, colonial is in a position to be able to run everything on the turf. That’s their big selling point!tearing up the grass for a harness track seems insane. I would rather they resurface the dirt to harness and leave us only a thin strip to train on than rip up the turf (biggest asset of colonial).
    How would they handle training? Separate hours? Who gets the late shift when it’s 110 in the shade?
    This seems like an impossible suggestion to me to run both at once without building a separate training track.
  • Exactly, Sarah McCord, they have no clue what that proposal involves. You are right about taking all the MdCl races too, but then maybe Colonial will realize what the place is good for when no races fill and people just put their 5k maiden claimers in the MSW races. I thought about the strip of dirt, but Jessica McKinney shot it down when she said they would not want to spend the money to put up another rail and backtracking would be a bitch without an outside rail on a narrow track. If Colonial does a 6 day meet, and they won’t, with insanely high purses, we should all just show up with the same horses that we have been bringing and get good entry dates so all the big outfits can’t get in the races. Now that’s an idea, although I really don’t want to give them the horses to put on their show because what they have not realized yet is that they do need us, we don’t need them. Most of betting public, especially the people who are blaming us horsemen, only can tell the class of a horse by the price on the racing form. Anyway… I just wish Jacobs sold the place a long time ago to people with a vision to grow thoroughbred horse racing and a clue how to manage a race track.

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Looks like Colonial Downs will no longer be able to offer their circus style meet complete with ostrich racing, camel racing, mascot racing, man against horse racing and fireworks. Oh, did I forget horse racing? Colonial Downs certainly did as the horses are the last thing they want at their overbuilt facility. CD wants to host only 6 days of racing in 2014. If they wanted that in the first place, then all they needed was a half mile track, a few bleachers and a hot dog stand.

VA Bred "Chedi" Training at Colonial Downs.

VA Bred “Chedi” Training at Colonial Downs.

Colonial Downs president, Ian Stewart is not being one hundred percent honest about their agenda. Live horse racing cost money and if Colonial Downs was to have it their way, there would be no live racing at all in Virginia. Off-track wagering is where the big profits are and in order for them to conduct business, the Commonwealth of Virginia requires live racing. The Virginia Racing Commission is in charge of making sure the horseman (VHBPA) and the racetrack come to an agreement on these days. Colonial Downs opened in 1997 with the intentions of eventually getting a 50+ day race meet. Instead, it peaked at about 35 days and has been reduced down to 28 days, as of 2013. This year the race track has proposed a 6 day meet in attempt to drastically cut the fat. Live horse racing, the fat, is of no interest to Colonial Downs as it cuts into their off track wagering profits. Understandably they run a business and the goal of any business is to make profits. The problem is that they need horses and horsemen to put on their show. Without horses, there would be no racing and without racing, no wagering on thoroughbred horses in the Commonwealth of Virginia and no Colonial Downs. Virginia horsemen, who make Colonial Downs possible, are not going to be run out of their own town by agreeing to such a pathetic proposal. With 2 days of stakes races, and maybe a weather cancellation, the reality is that local trainers and owners will not even get a chance to race their Virginia bred horses.

The following is a very misleading statement from Ian Stewart (President of Colonial Downs Race Track):

“There continues to be a great deal of misinformation about the current dispute between Colonial Downs and the VHBPA and I would like to set the record straight.
Why is there no wagering on thoroughbred races at Colonial Downs’ OTBs?
The VHBPA, the thoroughbred horsemen group, unilaterally elected not to extend the contract between it and Colonial Downs because the VHBPA disagreed with the Virginia Racing Commission’s order regarding 2014 thoroughbred race days. In past years, when the VHBPA and Colonial Downs have been unable to agree on race dates, they extended the contact while they worked to a compromise. The VHBPA unilaterally chose not to do this and to bring about the purposeful shutdown of wagering on thoroughbred racing in the OTBs.
What is the disagreement about thoroughbred race days?
After a series of negotiations between Colonial Downs and the VHBPA, the Virginia Racing Commission awarded 25 days of racing over 5 weeks. Colonial Downs was willing to accept this compromise; the VHPBA was not. After more negotiations, when the VHBPA did not get the 8 weeks of racing it demanded, it forced the VRC to stop wagering on thoroughbred racing at our off track facilities. In an effort to reach a compromise, Colonial Downs offered many alternatives to the VHBPA, all which were rejected, including 7 weeks of racing with a cost sharing arrangement between the VHBPA and Colonial Downs. Unfortunately, throughout these negotiations at no time were Colonial Downs and the VHBPA close to an agreement.
But days and weeks are not the real issue. The reality is that racing at Colonial Downs has to improve. In 2004, racing for $200,000 allowed Colonial Downs to put on a quality thoroughbred race meet. In 2014, $200,000 a day (the amount the VHBPA wants to race for) will result in Colonial Downs offering a much lower end meet. We need to offer higher purses to attract better horses. The amount of purse money is relatively fixed, albeit diminished after the cessation of wagering on thoroughbred races. Therefore the only way to raise purses is to reduce the number of race days.
None of this is a mystery to the VHBPA. Unfortunately, the VHBPA wants to expand low-end racing opportunities for its members, 80% of whom are not Virginians, regardless of the quality of those races. Colonial Downs is willing to provide opportunities for Virginia horses, breeders and owners to race at Colonial Downs and its vision for a thoroughbred meet includes racing opportunities for these Virginians. However, we believe the overall emphasis of the race meet needs to be on offering high quality thoroughbred racing. Colonial Downs aspires to be one of the highest quality TB tracks in the country. Continuing as the VHBPA wants us to will not get us there.
What’s the future?
As every other state around us enriches its purse account with casino gambling income, Virginia will need to differentiate itself to survive. Colonial Downs has one of the finest turf race courses in America. If we offer high, competitive purses, we will become a stop on the national thoroughbred circuit. With this attention will come more wagering on quality racing. With more wagering comes greater purse funds and the potential for more race days. Conversely, continuing to do what we have been doing for the last several years and continuing to fall behind by offering lower daily purses is the closest thing to a sure bet to make racing in Virginia irrelevant and unsustainable. A high quality meet is the best bet to promote, grow and sustain a native Virginia thoroughbred industry.
Change is disruptive but Colonial Downs is committing to changing Virginia racing. We appreciate your patronage and support as we work to bring quality thoroughbred racing back to Virginia.
Ian Stewart, President ”

Colonial Downs Race Track

Steve Crocker Visits His Champion Thoroughbred.

The TRUTH is Colonial Downs Race Track offered the horsemen 12 DAYS of racing and then, when they did not accept, they offered 6 DAYS of racing. Since Colonial loses money when the doors are open for live racing, it’s in their best interest to minimize live racing to what the commission allows. Colonial is required to have a certain amount of live racing days in order to keep off track wagering open. CD has been taking racing days every year in order to keep profits higher. Colonial Downs has never and probably will never be considered a world class track. It is currently irrelevant and obviously is unsustainable since live racing is not the priority of Colonial Downs. The turf course has been worse every year since it opened. It’s very hard and lacks “grass” since money for maintaining the course has been cut back. Cut back on watering, fertilizing and reseeding. I know this because I have been on that turf course since the days they started racing on it. There are much better turf courses across North America. Colonial Downs current reputation: “Cheap Turf Track” where you can run your 5k claimers and that is why owners and trainers show up to race.

If you are asking why is Colonial Downs not offering thoroughbred wagering, the answer is: Colonial Downs has offer the horsemen 6 days of live racing. This is unacceptable and totally outrageous, so the horsemen will not agree to those terms. The Virginia Racing Commission, not the horsemen, has shut down wagering until Colonial Downs offers an acceptable amount of racing days that the horsemen can agree on. Ian Stewart put a spin on the story talking about improving Colonial Downs and the quality of the meet. This is just a slick way of trying to make a 6 day meet for out of state horses sound great, while forgetting the local horsemen who made Colonial Downs happen in the first place.

In my opinion, we should have never let it get down to 5 weeks of racing and nothing short of 45 days is acceptable for racing to survive in Virginia. No one cares about high

Chris Crocker Horse Racing Colonial Downs

Morning Workout at Colonial Downs Race Track. Keep Virginia Racing Alive!

purses. The only draw, for the horsemen, to Colonial Downs is the cheap turf races. Delaware Park, 3 Pennsylvania tracks and Charles Town offer enough purse money with a legitimate racing meet. Wagering is wagering and even though graded stakes races might draw international attention, Colonial Downs needs a quantity of all classes of horses to fill races so there can be wagering in the first place. The use of the phrase “Quality Racing” means, “Lets have as few racing days as possible so we can cut cost of live racing.” That’s THE TRUTH!

– Chris Crocker

I’m sure we are all going to miss the ostrich races at Colonial Downs.

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