In which we revisit some of our stories from last week…
Maryland Hall of Fame inducts 12
On Saturday the first class of 12 horses was inducted into the Maryland Thoroughbred Hall of Fame: Broad Brush, Challedon, Cigar, Elkridge, Find, Gallorette, Jameela, Jay Trump, Politely, Safely Kept, Twixt, and Vertex. We highlighted them in a series of posts that you can find here.
While a number of people came to represent various horses, the star of the show most likely was Joe Piarulli. Now nearing 90, Mr. Piarulli trained Vertex, who was widely considered the best handicap horse on the East Coast in 1958 and 1959. His son Tom drove him down from New Jersey, and while Mr. Piarulli noted that he doesn’t travel much anymore, he also made it clear that it was well worth it for the chance to honor Vertex.
Monmouth opens; will that pinch the rest of the region?
Monmouth Park opened on Saturday with a lengthy 12-race card, and the old Jersey Shore track did quite a business: around 20,000 in attendance during the two racing days and nearly $10 million in combined handle, including over $6 million on Saturday.
How will that affect other tracks in the region? The results, at least for those tracks most directly competing, may be a cause for concern. While May 4 — Derby day — is no fair comparison, the Sunday-to-Sunday numbers may suggest that Monmouth is taking a bite out of some area tracks. For example, business at both Parx and Charles Town was off considerably on May 12 (with Monmouth open) versus the prior Sunday (with Monmouth closed). Parx was down more than 30 percent, while Charles Town was off over 25 percent. (Pimlico does not release full-card results). In both cases, the on-track business was flat or up, while simulcast revenue was way down.
Of course, any number of factors may have contributed to the losses, and it’s far too early to draw conclusions. But it’s a situation that bears watching.
Are you signed up for the Preakness Grand Giveaway?
The Racing Biz, Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred magazine, and the Maryland Horse Breeders Association have teamed up to sponsor the Preakness Grand Giveaway. If you’re not registered — well, time’s running out. The contest closes on May 15.
One lucky winner will receive two free tickets to next weekend’s Preakness, plus a $1,000 win wager and a winners’ circle presentation — all on our dime. Check it out here, and get your form in pronto!
(Featured image is Hall of Fame recipients. From left: Kitsy Christmas, Katy Voss, Tom and Joe Piarulli, Mike Pons, Ellen Pons, JoAnn and David Hayden.)