The Kentucky Derby, the first jewel in the Triple Crown, was run today. The winning horse, Super Saver, went off at 8-1 and covered the sloppy 1 and 1/4 mile course in 2:02 2/5.
While all might be well at Churchill Downs, the financial picture is not so rosy in New York. According to a report on NPR, the $2 billion horse racing industry in New York is experiencing dire financial problems, and the Summer meet at Saratoga Springs could be canceled. Horse racing has been in decline for decades in North America. In many states, the introduction of slot machines and table games at race tracks has helped keep the “sport of kings” on its feet by using revenues generated by other forms of gambling to subsidize purses and the racing industry. New York has been unable to get legislation passed to allow slots and table games to be allowed at race tracks, and the industry has suffered. Worse, all the Off-Track-Betting shops in New York state went bankrupt due to mismanagement, further reducing the revenues available to race tracks and the horse racing industry. The lousy economic climate also contributes to the financial woes in the horse racing industry.
The New York legislature is considering a $17 million loan to help Saratoga Springs open in July. The next jewel in the Triple Crown, the Preakness, will take place in two weeks at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore. Like Saratoga Springs, Pimlico has had serious financial problems in the past few years.