First off, congratulations to Quarter Horse Patriotic Bill for being the first horse to win a race at Hialeah Park coming off a start at Mount Pleasant Meadows. The Florida-bred Game Patriot gelding gained the late advantage and won Tuesday’s fifth race by 3/4 lengths. For a chart of the race, click here.
As you may recall, Patriotic Bill’s previous start was over a year ago in a blowout match race victory against Striking Lucy – a beautiful paint without a lick of run in her. He was later disqualified, but not before the race was made official and payouts were made. To relive this memorable race, the chart can be read here.
Another horse with a start at Mount Pleasant, Bye Bye Cartel, also picked up a win on Tuesday’s card. The Southern Cartel colt finished fourth in a stakes race during his lone stop in Michigan earlier this year. On Tuesday, he took the seventh race at Hialeah by a length as the 1.30-to-one favorite. The chart for Tuesday’s race can be found here.
In more pressing news, it appears the deadline to halt Michigan racing’s move to a new regulator is rapidly drawing near. According to this bill analysis document, the Michigan Legislature has until Thursday, Dec. 7 to disapprove Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s Oct. 8 Executive Order which, among many other things, dissolves the Office of Racing Commissioner. The order also moves control of the industry’s regulatory and financial undertakings under the umbrella of the Gaming Control Board.
According to the linked document, there is a series of bills in the Senate to place control of the industry in the hands of the Michigan Department of Agriculture. In the proposed bill, the MDA Director would essentially become the new racing commissioner.
Michigan’s racing industry groups have been pushing to remain under the MDA, which already distributes funding to racing programs through the Ag Equine Development Fund. Proponents of staying with the MDA argue the racing industry has more significant ties to agriculture, through the feeding, care and maintenance of horses and farms, than it does to the gaming at the racetracks. It is also argued that the MDA is better equipped to promote the racing industry (which desperately needs it), whereas the Gaming Control Board is primarily a regulatory body.
From the looks of the bills’ pages (955, 956, 957, 958), they have been sitting in committee purgatory since mid-November, so it may be an uphill battle to get them through both the Senate and House of Representatives before the Dec. 7 deadline. Then again, State Congress has shown in the past that it can get things done when it focuses on the task at hand.