Ouch…That Hurts…

Congratulations, Michiganders. We’ve officially been made an example.

In a letter to The Baltimore Sun, a Holland, Penn. resident warns of the potential negative effects of placing a casino near Maryland’s Laurel Park by citing Michigan racing’s fall to “bush league status” (his words, not mine). He said this happened after “bad judgment and the corruption of lawmakers who heeded the promises of wealthy developers and casino lobbyists” allowed the tribal and Detroit casino interests to run roughshod over the state. The letter does not mention it directly, but altering the state constitution to cripple a competitor like said groups did in 2004 is a prime example of this idea.

If you cross your eyes for too long, they’ll stay that way. If you eat too much candy, your teeth will rot out. If you allow casinos to expand in your state without including the racetracks, you’ll become “Bush League” like Michigan.

We are being used as a threat – an example of what not to do.

So what are we going to do about it?

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “Ouch…That Hurts…

  1. RB

    Sad,to compare! But! We were there at the HBPA meeting held at DRC,the last year of opperation.
    As one fella stood up and commented that all horseman,harness,quarters and TB’s need to unite to rally against the casino proposals for Detroit.Nothing happened,Ladbroke closed shop!
    If they had made more noise,just maybe Mi Racing would still be viable. But then again the power of the casino lobbists and politicians with their hands in the till,Who Knows?

  2. old timer

    Ouch.. it does hurt. I have to agree that the best time for the racing industry to be heard was probably back when the Detroit casinos were approved. You may remember that the casinos were sold based on the argument “our money is going across the Ambassador Bridge”.
    I would not place a bet that horse racing in Michigan can make a come back in the current climate. The casinos have not gone away and now there are even more! (which goes to show what a sham the proposal in 2004 truly was). They are not going to just accept the additional competition. As RB has noted, there are many politicos who will side with the casinos. However there is an outside chance that it could be sold based on JOBS! The sorry state of the economy and the state’s desperate need for revenue could make the difference.

  3. mibredclaimer

    RB,
    Definitely have to give props to whoever had the foresight to say that. I suppose we’ll never know what, if anything, would have happened had the racing industry taken on the casinos before they got big. Hopefully it’s not to late to still give it a shot.

    Old Timer,
    I don’t recall much about the initial casino campaign, but the “Ambassador Bridge” argument does seem like one that would be effective. Xenophobia is a powerful tool to get people to do what you want.

    In the current political climate, just about anything has to have the word “jobs” attached to it somewhere to gain public support. Any initiative the racing industry sends down the pike will need all the support it can get.

  4. I really don’t have a response to the letter to The Baltimore Sun because it is 100% correct, Michigan racing is now “bush league”, and it can be traced to the casino invasion and lawmakers getting greedy, I don’t think the horsemen are completlly without fault, but that’s another issue. For those of us who remember DRC it had some quality horeses and quality stakes races, Horse of The Year, Black Tie Affair ran there in 1991 for goodness sakes. To see the product being loaded into the gates at Pinnacle now, it is sad. I feel for the horsemen, but I more so feel bad for the fans because i am one.

  5. mibredclaimer

    Very well put. I really wish I could have been around back when the big-name horses came in for the Michigan Mile (and one-eighth). I bet it was a blast.

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