The most important news for Ontario racing right now is what the Toronto Star reports today - and what many people involved in the racing industry have said - let's legalize sports betting and get sportsbooks at the casinos and the tracks....
CASINOS EYE SPORTS BETTING
Jul 03, 2008 04:30 AM
The federal and Ontario governments are moving toward allowing Las Vegas-style sports gambling in provincial casinos, the Toronto Star has learned.
In a plan to help boost sagging casino revenues in Niagara Falls and Windsor, where the high Canadian dollar and increased border security mean fewer American visitors, Queen's Park is urging Ottawa to amend the Criminal Code of Canada and create casino "sportsbooks."
Ontario casinos already have sportsbook infrastructure in place with TV screens, scoreboards and seating, but betting is limited to Pro-Line, in which bettors select the outcomes of three or more sports contests on a "parlay" ticket.
The new proposal would allow gamblers to wager the outcome of individual football, baseball, hockey, basketball, soccer and other games as opposed to the multiple "parlay" betting that exists under Pro-Line, the government-run lottery.
While the province is specifically interested in sportsbooks at the two Niagara Falls casinos, the new Caesars Windsor facility and the existing Casino Rama, any legal change could apply to racetracks, such as Woodbine.
Sources say former provincial infrastructure minister David Caplan, who has since moved to the health ministry and been replaced by George Smitherman, made the request in writing to federal Justice Minister Rob Nicholson last year.
Nicholson, who represents Niagara Falls, has been receptive to Caplan's suggestion and insiders say the two levels of government are quietly co-operating. However no timetable is yet set for the sportsbooks.
The new sportsbook would give Ontario casinos a huge advantage over their American competitors. Sportsbook betting is only allowed in Las Vegas in the U.S., largely because professional sports leagues are opposed to them being in cities that have football, baseball, basketball and hockey teams.
One problem in getting approval to change the Criminal Code is that the federal Conservatives, who have a minority government, are worried the federal Liberals or the New Democrats might oppose the change for political purposes.
But NDP MP Joe Comartin (Windsor-Tecumseh) said he has approached Nicholson several times – including as recently as last month – to express his support.
Comartin said sports betting would give the casinos in Windsor and Niagara Falls "a major competitive advantage" since it is not allowed in Michigan or New York and is only available in 150 Nevada gaming houses.
"What it would do is generate traffic into the casino for that particular type of betting and then you also pick up additional business," he said, adding other provinces are also lobbying Ottawa for the change.
With provincial gambling revenues projected to drop to $1.77 billion this year – down from $2.02 billion in 2005-06 – Comartin said casino communities need help.
Progressive Conservative MPP Tim Hudak (Niagara West-Glanbrook) yesterday wrote to both Nicholson and Smitherman, urging them to move quickly.
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WHAT A MOVE!
WOODBINE WEDNESDAY and the POLYTRACK is very FAST
LEGAL MOVE set his 2nd career track record when he won the prep for the BOLD VENTURE STAKES over just 3 rivals last night.
The Bold Executive fellow managed to collect up a tiring MAIN EXECUTIVE in time to win by a head in 1:08.31 on a night when the Polytrack was stunningly fast.
Main Executive was the lone speed but went too fast, aided a bit by a strong wind from behind him, and he ran a winning race - he too likely set a track record - but Legal Move came from well back to catch him.
Soul Rebel was scratched at the gate when he warmed up poorly.
Legal Move is one of the best horses in the Mark Casse barn with a stakes win this year and over $660,000 in career earnings.
With True Metropolitan's disaster in the Dominion Day still on the burner, the same folks - owner Bob Cheema, trainer Terry Jordan and jockey Jim McAleney - got together to win with ZOUNDS again in an allowance race at 7 furlongs on the grass.
On a night when the Poly was fast, the turf very fast, this 4yo gelding, originally a $625,000 yearling purchase won for the 3rd time in his 5 races this year and is suddenly a new horse.
The Johannesbrug guy is out of a World Appeal mare (how did he cost so much??) and has found a home in sprints on turf or Polytrack. He sped 7 furlongs in 1:20.68.
SINGING SAINT is yet another gorgeous and talented offspring of the once-beaten mare RELAXING RHYTHM, a daugghter of Easy Goer.
It took a while for the Stronach set to get him to the races - he's a 4yo - but he rallied from well back to win his debut last night at 1 mile on the grass in 1:34 and was eased up at the wire. He's by El Prado and is a 1/2 brother to good ones like Spring Waltz and Pop Princess.
AIR WILD, owned by Bruno Schickedanz, won race 1 for her 5th score in 30 starts. The $15,000 claiming race went to the Texas-bred after she stalked the pace 3 wide all the way under Sunny Singh.
SUGAR N TABACCO is undefeated after 4 races including a gate-to-wire win in the 2nd race last night for $20,000 claiming. The British Columbia bred by Prince of Wales winner STEPHANOTIS won his career debut last fall at Hastings Park, won twice for Terry Jordan upon his arrival at Woodbine and then won last night off the claim by Nick DeToro. Emma Wilson rode. The time was a sizzling 1:10.
SHENAIGAN came from last to win her maiden for $32,000 claiming in race 5 after front runner SUNSET HEIGHTS went too fast on the pace. The winner, making her 3rd race of the season and 2nd start since coming back from Manitoba, is in the card of her 3rd different trainer in Alex McPherson. Owned by Well-Being Stable, the Ontario bred is by El Prado (same sire as SingingSaint) and is out of the Peteski mare Sweet and Firm. She was bred by Hill 'n' Dale and Adena Springs and ridden by Eurico Da Silva.
PURPLE MOON led all the way to win her maiden at the allowance level (Ontario-sired) in race 7. The KIRIDASHI filly was making her 2nd career starts for Bruno Schickedanz and trainer Mark Fournier (that team won race 1 as well). She was a $861 yearling and was bred by V. Bell and C. Trudell.
Firster Read's Bay was a late scratch as she colicked before the race, according to THE SCORE.
SASSY STAR has been a tigress this year after 3 races which have come off a long layoff. The Lynne Hindmarsh/Sue Leslie gal by Highland Ruckus-Gigglyn Star, almost won her May 31 opener off a one-year layoff and then bounced last time. She bounced back last night with the allowance win thanks to an inside rally.
PRINCE OF WALES - July 13
Fort Erie racetrack
NOT BOURBON worked in 59.20 on the dirt training track as he gets ready for the 2nd jewel of the Canadian Triple Crown.
Remarkably, several who were well behind him and the outstanding filly Ginger Brew are expected to come back.
Only HARLEM ROCKER, undefeated on traditional dirt, seems capable of beating the champ.
Deputiformer - 4th Queen's Plate - deja vu? David James and Mike DePaulo had similar set up to the Wales 2 years ago with Shillelagh Slew
East End Tap - Good looking fellow ran better than expected in Plate
Harlem Rocker - Passed up the Plate when he bombed in Trial
Not Bourbon - Queen's Plate winner does not know the meaning of lose
Pronger - recent allowance winner is a big speed threat
Sebastian's Song - 10th Plate - similar to Took the Time, good allowance form but perhaps distance questions
Took The Time - 8th Plate, bred to prefer shorter distances
also possible - SOLITAIRE
VANITY STAKES at Hollywood
HORSE OF THE YEAR SEALY HILL in tough
report from brisnet.com
Unbeaten ZENYATTA (Street Cry [Ire]) is the top draw in Saturday's $300,000 Vanity H. (G1), which highlights an outstanding program at Hollywood Park that includes the $750,000 American Oaks (G1) and $300,000 Triple Bend H. (G1).
Five-for-five overall, the John Shirreffs-trained Zenyatta exits a 2 1/4-length victory in the Milady H. (G2) on May 31 over the Cushion Track. Two starts back, the four-year-old lass left champion Ginger Punch (Awesome Again) in her wake with a scintillating 4 1/2-length romp in the Apple Blossom H. (G1).
Zenyatta, who will keep Mike Smith up, will spot weight to her six rivals as the 124-pound highweight in the 1 1/8-mile Vanity. Grade 1 winner TOUGH TIZ'S SIS (Tiznow) and Canadian Horse of the Year SEALY HILL (Point Given) are her main competition.
$300,000 Vanity Handicap (gr. I, Race 5, 2 p.m. - 5p.m. EST), Fillies & Mares 3 & Up, 1 1/8 Miles (All Weather)
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Tough Tiz's Sis (KY), 121, Aaron T. Gryder
2. Silver Z (CA), 114, Joseph Talamo
3. Zenyatta (KY), 124, Mike E. Smith
4. Silver Swallow (FL), 112, David R. Flores
5. Sealy Hill (ON), 118, Patrick Husbands
6. Fleetheart (FL), 113, Martin Garcia
7. Andmoreagain (KY), 110, Julien R. Leparoux