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Horseplayers in the cold, again

Feb 17, 2004 6:53 AM

STRONACH WINS, HORSEPLAYERS LOSE: Once again, a row in the horse racing industry has ended with the horseplayers ignored and, in fact, never represented in the proceedings.

The dispute involved the Maryland Jockey Club (MJC), whose owners, the De Francis siblings, sold a majority position to Frank Stronach’s Magna Entertainment Corp., and TVG, the country’s largest producer of live racing on cable television.

Originally, TVG had an agreement with MJC to televise their racing and, upon the completion of the contract, asked for an extension. But because Magna has its account wagering subsidiary and since it has been unable to work out an agreement with TVG, Magna won’t permit TVG to televise any of its racing. And Magna controls the signals of a dozen tracks including Santa Anita, Golden Gate and Gulfstream.

Few horseplayers buy Magna’s Express Bet system but many subscribe to TVG, whose races are telecast over the Fox Sportsnet stations.

As a result of the decision by MJC not to let TVG use its signals, the horseplayers are again denied participation in the sport. What else is new?


WHO WOULDN’T WANT TO LIVE HERE? That’s what Las Vegans were asking themselves last week upon hearing a recent comment from a Connecticut city official.

Seems Connecticut is upset that Washington has recognized the Schaghticoke Indians as a legitimate tribal nation. The fear is that the Schaghticokes will work out a gaming compact with state officials and build a casino, a la Foxwoods or Mohegan Sun.

Question of the moment is where will the casino be located? And the probable answer for the moment is either in Bridgeport, just 28 miles from Port Chester, N.Y., along Interstate Route 95, or on Interstate 84 in Danbury, about 38 miles from White Plains, N.Y.

Attempting to deflect interest in his community, Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton was quoted as saying, "The question becomes, "Do you want Las Vegas in your back yard? It’s a great place to visit, but you wouldn’t want to live there."

Apparently, Boughton hasn’t checked the Vegas growth figures lately.


"I GOT A HORSE RIGHT HERE." If you’re walking through the Palms Hotel and Casino and here someone singing the popular refrain from "Guys and Dolls" about having a horse, it just might be one of the Maloof clan. The family has joined the horse set.

On Monday, a Florida-bred colt by Halo’s Image called King Palm made his racing debut for the Maloof Family Enterprises in the sixth race at Santa Anita. Unfortunately, the story didn’t have a happy ending. The colt, racing against a field of maidens, finished sixth.

When asked how the Maloof family got involved in thoroughbred racing, Trainer Vladimir Cerin remarked, "We hooked up through a mutual friend. They’ll be here to watch the horse run and I usually talk with them once a week to let them know how the horse is doing."


POT O’ GOLD IN THEM TAVERNS! Our old pal Blake Sartini, formerly of Station Casinos and now co-founder of Golden Gaming, is taking the lounge/slot route business to new heights.

Blake’s latest endeavor is progressive jackpots at PT’s Gold, the newest tavern from his Golden Tavern Group.

These upscale lounges are great places to hang out, whether you want to mingle, dine on good food or play the most popular machines. PT Gold’s three levels of jackpots start at $5,000 on dollar machines, $2,000 on 50¡ machines and $1,000 on quarter machines.

Players can also win on multiple hands that include: four aces with a king or two’s, three’s and four’s with king.

"We have found that our players like progressive games and they really determine the games that we offer in our taverns," said Stephen Arcana, Golden Gaming director of operations.

Keep an eye on these fellows as they open other lounges around town. They may have hit on a popular concept: gaming, food and entertainment in a quiet, intimate environment.

Kind of like mini-casinos on the level of private clubs. Not bad.