The Racing Journal Logo

Topperís Comments Ė response to Horsemenís meeting


December 15, 2005     E-mail this page to a friend!

The response to the meeting held in Helena on December 2 regarding the future of racing in Montana was very interesting.

I am not sure if the comments section on www.theracingjournal.com web site is working or not. There have not been any comments submitted but I have received several e-mails that have offered encouragements, suggestions and advice. However, no one has stepped up offering to serve on a Task Force.

In the last e-news sent out, I incorrectly listed Tom Tuckerís e-mail address. It is tucker@imt.net. Please make the correction in you address book.

Some suggestions that were e-mailed to me are as follows:

Perhaps it could be possible to have each track set up a high stakes racino with slots, simulcast and a card room. (Would need legislation to get this.)

Perhaps we could get a share of the slots and lotto in the town that has a track. (Would need legislation to get this.)

Perhaps there could be a single high stakes casino or racino with a card room and a new track with 12 to 15 hundred stalls and race from April to October. Some of the income from the casino would be used to support the industry and other fair meets. (Would need legislation to get this.)

Another suggestion was to copy the structure of the Alberta Horse Association and work to form a strong association that can make the changes necessary to improve the industry.

An interesting comment came from a senior director of racing at the AQHA. He said that in Kentucky they formed a group about two years ago to bring together all breeds and disciplines to address issues for the equine industry. The groupís name is the Kentucky Equine Education Project, KEEP, and they have developed a grassroots effort in every county in Kentucky. Their efforts and results do and will support all of the equine industry in the state Ė not just racing. This obviously brings more people into the mix and allows for a bigger voice and more power to move legislators.

I received a copy of the report on gaming that was held at the Arizona seminar. The interesting thing that came out of it was that card rooms seem to attract horseplayers. Those who play cards seem to be younger and more interested in betting on the horses along with playing cards rather than playing the slots. Slots produce the revenue to conduct racing but the casino players are not necessarily horse players.

One of the last things that came out of the meeting was that a group should meet with the representatives from the Governorís office to see what could be done. Good idea, but who should go to the meeting?

Question to the readers: Should we continue with this attempt to do something to improve the future of racing? Should we call another meeting to continue to develop a plan?

Please let Tom Tucker or Topper Tracy know what your feelings are.
Tom Tucker: tucker@imt.net , 406-252-7210
Topper Tracy: topper@theracingjournal.com, 406-777-1400