Monthly Archives: October 2009

Murph gets one more shot

Mrs. Murphy will have one more chance this year to break her maiden at Pinnacle Race Course on Friday.

Mrs. Murphy will have one more chance this Friday to break her maiden during the 2009 meet at Pinnacle Race Course.

With all the excitement in Lansing, I almost forgot to mention this….

Mrs. Murphy is entered to run on October 16, 2009 at PINNACLE RACE COURSE. 

Race: 1  Distance: Five And One Half Furlongs  Surface: Dirt  Age: 3  –  Filly
Race Type: Maiden Claiming Purse: $ 7,500
Jockey: Mike Roll
Trainer: Randall R. Russell
Race conditions: FOR MICHIGAN BRED MAIDENS, FILLIES AND MARES THREE YEARS OLD AND UPWARD. Three Year Olds, 120 lbs.; Older, 123 lbs. Claiming Price $8,000.
Last Raced: 10/02/2009 at PINNACLE RACE COURSE in Race 8
Finish Position: 3rd
Last Reported Workouts:
08/25/2009-PINNACLE RACE COURSE-Four Furlongs-Dirt Fast-54:00 Breezing
05/30/2009-PINNACLE RACE COURSE-Five Furlongs-Dirt Fast-1.06:00 Breezing
05/19/2009-PINNACLE RACE COURSE-Four Furlongs-Dirt Fast-56:80 Breezing


Barring a miraculous (and a little bit insane) two-day turnaround for the getaway day card, this will be Mrs. Murphy’s last start at Pinnacle this year, and in turn, her last chance to earn a breeder’s award for yours truly. I am going to try stormtrooping this card, so I have not yet had a look at her competition outside of the basic information given in the Equibase entries and my own recollections. Besides, I already know who I am betting on in this one. The morning line has her picked as the 5-2 second choice off a very decent third place finish in her last start. There is no reason she should not be right there at the end once again.

After exhausting my energy and funds during my trip to Keeneland Race Course last weekend, I am going to stay close to home tomorrow and watch this race from the comfort of the Mount Pleasant Meadows simulcast room. Because this is her first race in Michigan I will not see in person, I fully expect Murph to win by several lengths. Hope for the best.



Filed under Pinnacle Race Course, The Family Business

House committee shoots down expanded gaming research bill

From the Michigan HBPA website

COMMITTEE SAYS NO: House Appropriations Committee Chair, Representative Cushingberry on Tues. Oct. 13th did not get the support from the committee to move HB 5012 to the floor for a vote. HB 5012 approved a study of Pull Tabs and Instant Racing (archived races). There was opposition from Greek Town Casino and other groups. Representative Simpson of Jackson has taken on the challenge of Pull Tabs and Instant Racing, a plan is expected to separate the the two and attempt on an individual basis.

Not much else has been reported on the subject, but if anything comes out, you know where to find it.

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Michigan racetrack casino license petition approved

The Associated Press reports a proposal by Hazel Park-based group Racing to Save Michigan was approved Wednesday to start petitioning for a November 2010 ballot proposal to expand gaming in the state’s racetracks.

The petition was approved unanimously by the Michigan Board of State Canvassers during Wednesday’s meeting. If successful, the proposal will grant five casino licenses to the state’s pari-mutuel racetracks and three more to be auctioned off by the state.

However, the issue will not be passed without a fight. Because this petition threatens to bypass Proposal 04-1, which requires racetracks to pass local and statewide ballots for a license, a spokesman for MotorCity Casino and several tribal casinos said the coalition that got the binding proposal passed in 2004 will likely be revived to challenge this new issue.

Now that the petition has been approved, the Detroit News reports Racing to Save Michigan has 180 days to collect 380,126 signatures in order to get the proposal on the ballot. According to the Associated Press, the group plans to begin circulating the petitions within the next six weeks.

As soon as information about where petitions can be signed is made available, it will be posted on this site.


Here is some additional media regarding yesterday’s announcement…

WJRT ABC 12 News piece on racinos, focusing on Sports Creek Raceway.

Detroit News story about the proposal and its petition, views from both sides of the argument, and it’s ramifications for the coming months.


Filed under Politics

Michigan Juvenile Championships Preview

Division title up for grabs in Michigan Futurity

Hour By Hour can clinch his division's title with a victory in the Michigan Futurity at Pinnacle Race Course.

Hour By Hour can clinch his division's title with a victory in the Michigan Futurity at Pinnacle Race Course.

After Hour By Hour and Prince of Paulie swapped finishing positions in their two previous meetings, Michigan’s two-year-old male division was thrown into a stalemate.

The pair will face off against a full field of 12 in the one mile rubber match to decide the crop’s top runner in Saturday’s $50,000 Michigan Futurity at Pinnacle Race Course.

Hour By Hour got the best of his rival during their most recent meeting in the Oct. 3 Michigan Sires Juvenile at Pinnacle. The Elusive Hour colt took his usual front-running path to the finish in that race to prevail by three lengths. Hour By Hour is owned Valerie Irvine and Laura Jackson and is trained by James Jackson. Federico Mata will retain the mount following his win in the Sire Stakes.

Prince of Paulie staked his claim to the two-year-old male title in the Sept. 12 Patrick Wood Stakes at Pinnacle. The Meadow Prayer gelding followed up with a third place finish in the Sire Stakes, his most recent start. J.J. Delgado will ride Prince of Paulie for owner John Mack and trainer Richard Rettele.

Because Hour By Hour and Prince of Paulie both favor front-running styles, the two could find each other battling for the lead in the race’s early goings. If that happens, a horse who has shown some tactical speed could take advantage of the situation. Power of Titus moved up from well back to finish a length behind Prince of Paulie in the Patrick Wood and could benefit from the added distance. The Secret Romeo colt took a step back in the Sire Stakes, with a fifth place finish in his most recent start. He is owned and trained by Del Waite. Mike Roll will pick up the mount aboard Power of Titus.

#. Horse / Jockey / Trainer / Odds

1. Hour By Hour / F Mata / J R Jackson / 5-2
2. A Love Away / No Rider / R D Allen, Sr. / 30-1
3. Sahmmy Falls / G Laurente / S M Spiess / 20-1
4. Geta Ticket / A O Stanley / D Kueffner / 6-1
5. Terko Service / W A Barnett / R D Allen, Sr. / 30-1
6. Dream Victory / A A Marin / J R Jackson / 5-1
7. Ready To Tango / A Ortiz / L R Uelmen / 15-1
8. Power of Titus / M Roll / D D Waite / 10-1
9. Sunny Stripe / No Rider / R M Gorham / 20-1
10. Meadow Magic / J Skerrett / J R Jackson / 9-2
11. Prince of Paulie / J J Delgado / R J Rettele / 4-1
12. Wild Alex / J M Camejo / A Macias / 30-1

Stakes runners-up square off in Michigan Juvenile Fillies

Top Touch will shoot for her first stakes score in the Michigan Juvenile Fillies at Pinnacle Race Course.

Top Touch will shoot for her first stakes score in the Michigan Juvenile Fillies at Pinnacle Race Course.

With likely division champion Hustle Now taking a well-deserved break, the two horses who finished behind her in this year’s stakes races will take center stage in Saturday’s one mile $50,000 Michigan Juvenile Fillies at Pinnacle Race Course.

Top Touch never got a chance to redeem herself for her second place finish in Sept. 12 Sickle’s Image Stakes because she was not eligible for the Sire Stakes. In the Sickle’s Image, the Touch Gold filly battled down the stretch with Hustle Now and begrudgingly gave way as the wire approached. Top Touch is owned by Charlie Williams and trained by Sandra Adkins. Alexis Ortiz will be in the irons.

De La Crem was a mild surprise in the Oct. 3 Sire Stakes, with a runner-up finish at odds of 15.20-to-one. The Island Storm filly moved up from the middle of the pack to come within a length and a half of Hustle Now, but the leader’s closing kick was too much for the field to handle. Bob Gorham trains De La Crem for Mast Thoroughbreds LLC. Regular rider Jeffrey Skerrett will have the assignment.

Also entered is the only filly to have started in both her division’s stakes races this year, Fortune in Gold. The Secret Romeo filly comes off a late-gaining third place finish in the Sire Stakes. J.J. Delgado will ride Fortune in Gold for owner Steve Prain and trainer Dave Kueffner.

#. Horse / Jockey / Trainer / Odds

1. Electric Venus / A O Stanley / R R Russell / 8-1
2. Fortune in Gold / J J Delgado / D Kueffner / 4-1
3. Maximimi / F Mata / R M Gorham / 12-1
4. Itsabouttimeiz / A A Marin / D D Waite / 20-1
5. Top Touch / A Ortiz / S M Adkins / 7-5
6. De La Crem / J Skerrett / R M Gorham / 2-1

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Filed under Pinnacle Race Course, Stakes Races

Racing group to request petition for casino licenses

In the wake of Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s executive order folding the Office of Racing Commissioner into the Michigan Gaming Control Board, one group is wasting little time appealing to its new regulators.

Hazel Park-based group Racing to Save Michigan will present a petition initiative at Wednesday’s Michigan Board of State Canvassers meeting to let the Gaming Control Board to issue casino licenses to the state’s racetracks.

The petition requests to “amend the State Constitution to allow the Michigan Gaming Control and Revenue Board to issue state casino licenses to up to eight new casinos in Michigan, five of which would be located at horse racetracks that conducted race meetings with pari-mutuel wagering in 2009.”

Michigan’s five pari-mutuel racetracks are Pinnacle Race Course (New Boston), Hazel Park Raceway (Hazel Park), Northville Downs (Northville), Sports Creek Raceway (Swartz Creek) and Mount Pleasant Meadows (Mount Pleasant). The locations of the remaining three licenses are not specified.

It is uncertain at this time if the petition is intended to conform with the guidelines of Proposal 04-1, which requires racetracks and other non-protected bodies to pass local and statewide votes in order to implement casino-style gaming. A petition is often the first step toward a ballot proposal. However, the language in the meeting notice suggests a counter-amendment to the state constitution to allow the Gaming Control Board to issue the casino licenses. If the petition is approved, its status with regards to Proposal 1 will likely be made very clear.

According to the Michigan Secretary of State website, the Board of State Canvassers’ duties include canvassing and certifying statewide elections, elections for legislative districts that cross county lines and all judicial office except Judge of the Probate Court. The board also conducts recounts for state-level offices, canvasses nominating petitions filed with the Secretary of State and state-level ballot proposal petitions, assigns ballot designations and adopts ballot language for statewide ballot proposals.

For additional information on the Gaming Control Board and to read Michigan HBPA Executive Director Gary Tinkle’s reaction to the industry’s move under the board’s umbrella, a Daily Racing Form story on the matter can be found here.

UPDATE: Here is an article in the Detroit News further explaining the proposed petition. A tip of the hat to Longshotsblues for sniffing out the story before I did.

According to the story, the remaining three casino licenses after the five racetracks will be auctioned off by the state for an estimated revenue of $100 million. The article does not specify if that figure is per license or a grand total. If the petition is approved, the group must collect 380,126 signatures in 180 days.

Also on the Detroit News website is a poll question asking “Would you vote for a constitutional amendment allowing casinos at horse racing tracks?

At the time of this update, the poll stands as follows:

Yes – 51.79%
No – 48.21%

If you still crave more information about the expansion of gaming in Michigan, here is an NPR news story with quotes from both sides of the issue. Because it is is on a radio website, I would assume this made it on the air, but I do not see a link to the audio. If anyone spots it, feel free to post the link in the comments.


Filed under Politics

Executive order dissolves Office of Racing Commissioner

The Michigan News reports Gov. Jennifer Granholm signed an executive order yesterday, combining several existing state departments into the new Department of Natural Resources and Environment.

In the same order, Granholm abolished Michigan’s Office of Racing Commissioner, and consolidated horse racing activities into the Michigan Gaming Control Board. The board’s executive director, Richard S. Kalm, will “perform the functions of Racing Commissioner.”

In other news out of Lansing, WXYZ – Channel 7 in Detroit reports the state’s House Appropriations Committee may soon vote to spend $20,000 to study expanded gaming options at Michigan’s racetracks to increase revenues. The two options under consideration are instant racing and electronic pull tab machines. The report notes any adopted plan will likely be met with lawsuits.

Right now, I am on a complementary one-hour wi-fi connection in a Lexington, KY McDonald’s, so this post has to be short and sweet. Expect more information as it becomes available and my connection improves.


Filed under Politics

Mata wins three in Michigan Sire Stakes

The following Sire Stakes recaps are presented without shots of the winning horse and rider courtesy of Sunlight Photography, Pinnacle’s track photographers who threatened to have my camera taken away if I photographed anything except the races themselves, which I was “allowed” to do. All of this happened despite having obtained a media photo credential from track management.

But enough about my day, let’s talk about some races…

Bipolar Express wins stretch battle in Classic

Bipolar Express (4) duels to the wire with Demagoguery (7) and Hot Chili (1, inside) to win the Michigan Sires Classic at Pinnacle Race Course.

The streak is dead. Long live the streak.

After four years of Sire Stakes consistency by Meadow Vespers, Bipolar Express began a run of his own by winning his second straight October Classic race in Saturday’s $50,000 Michigan Sires Classic at Pinnacle Race Course.

The four-year-old Equality gelding broke with the front pack and battled for the early lead with Hot Chili and Mt. Factor before cooling off and taking a stalking position as the field headed into the first turn. Hot Chili dueled from the rail with Mt. Factor, who maintained a small advantage through the turn and across the first half of the backstretch. Bipolar Express sat two lengths behind the lead duo and began to make his move to on the outside with about five furlongs to go.

Bipolar Express gained the advantage heading into the final turn as Mt. Factor began to fall off the pace. As Bipolar Express and Hot Chili battled into the stretch, Demegoguery also began to gain ground. The lead pair traded bobs of the head throughout the stretch with Demagogurey chipping away on the outside. In the final strides, Bipolar Express put a head in front to prevail under jockey T.D. Houghton. Hot Chili finished a neck ahead of Demagoguery  for the runner-up money.

Bipolar Express stopped the clock in the 1 1/8 mile race with a time of 1:54.21 on a fast track. He left the gates as the second choice of 1.60-to-one. Post time favorite Meadow Vespers had his usual ground saving trip, but came up empty in the stretch.

Bred in Michigan by Gene and Phyllis Gilmore, Bipolar Express is owned by Winning Stables, Inc. and trained by Gerald Bennett. The Sire Stakes victory completes a successful re-claim by Bennett, who lost Bipolar Express to trainer Scott Lake for a $25,000 tag two races ago at Presque Isle Downs. Bennett claimed his charge back in the next race for $35,000

With the win, Bipolar Express improved his career record to seven wins from 27 starts. The race was also his second stakes win, after winning last year’s three-year-old Sire Stakes at Pinnacle. His career earnings now total $209,069.

For an Equibase chart of the race, click here.

4 – Bipolar Express (T.D. Houghton) 5.20 / 3.60 / 3.20
1 – Hot Chili (Federico Mata) 6.80 / 5.60
7 – Demagoguery (Godofredo Laurente) 5.60

1 1/8 Miles
Time: 1:54.21

To view the rest of the day’s Sire Stakes action, click the link below.

Continue reading


Filed under Pinnacle Race Course, Stakes Races