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Sunday, June 30, 2013

The Plate, Mid-Year Report and DNC

Plate Stuff

That's Nipissing (Photo Credit: Michael Burns Photography), the Woodbine Oaks winner who will be looking to claim Canada's most famous race, the Queen's Plate, a week from today at Woodbine. I'll be heading to the Great White North and suburban Toronto to cover the Plate for The Buffalo News (TBN) on Thursday for the post position draw and on Sunday afternoon. My Friday racing notebook focused on some of the latest news on the Plate contenders and you can also find information about betting on horse racing online.

Making a bet on the 2013 Queen's Plate race could prove fruitful as it looks like we could have upwards of 12 starters in the gate for this year's edition of "The Gallop for the Guineas." In addition to my usual coverage of the Plate at TBN I will be doing a trainer feature for the Queen's website which will have features from an outstanding crew of writers up through Plate Day. The Twitter hashtag for this year's Plate is #QP2013, so be sure to check out all things Canadian horse racing over the next week.

UPDATE: It looks like Rackman is off the Plate trail after working 6F this morning handily at 1:14.20, leaving the field at 11 probable starters. Kaigun breezed 5F in 1:00.20 this morning and will have last year's winning jockey Justin Stein in the irons for trainer Mark Casse. Another Casse contender, Jagger M breezed 5F in his final Plate work in 1:02.20. It was a big morning for workouts as Nipissing worked 4F in :48 for conditioner Rachel Halden. Up With the Birds and His Race to Win worked in tandem for trainer Malcolm Pierce in 1:00.60.

Mid-Year Report

I launched my 2013 mid-year racing report this weekend in print at TBN and here is a link to the highs and lows to the racing season at halftime through my eyes. I've enjoyed writing the halftime report since 2008 and you can find links to past mid-year reports here if you want to take a stroll down memory lane. Unfortunately the 2012 post is currently lost in cyberspace after the TBN website redesign, hopefully it'll be recovered someday.


One of the largest companies in Buffalo is Delaware North Company (DNC) was featured in the Business section of this morning's TBN. One thing I did not realize was how DNC, a company listed as No. 172 on Forbes list of largest privately held companies that has over $2.6 billion in annual revenues, obtained its start in the hospitality and food-service business. You guessed racing.

An excerpt from the article on "Changing Customer Tastes" Chairman and CEO Jeremy Jacobs offered this tidbit:
"I often tell people, what was the largest attended business in sports years ago? It was horse racing. More people went to horse racing than any other sport. Today it’s non-existent, and you have to grow from that or you become nonexistent. The horse racing business got us into the gaming business. We wouldn’t have done that if we hadn’t been in that horse racing business."
Whoa. Non-existent.

President and Chief Operating Officer Charles E. Moran, Jr. offers the following on passing on the chance to run the Aqueduct and their decision to opt out in the re-bidding of the contract eventually won by Genting:
"We had a huge number of qualifiers that they never got around to looking at, to be candid with you. And in the final analysis, the company that did the deal, they put in no qualifications whatsoever about competition, about requirements from the state. They decided to take a risk and write a $375 million check. We would have never done it the way they did it."
Interesting perspective from a company that runs Finger Lakes Casino & Racetrack, the Arizona OTB Network and has a thorough knowledge of gaming operations. A related entity owns the Boston Bruins and DNC currently has hospitality contracts at such well-known places as Yosemite National Park and Oriole Park at Camden Yards as well as a number of major airports throughout the U.S.

For my friends up north in Canada, have a great Canada Day tomorrow and I look forward to seeing some of you next week in Toronto.



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