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Condition Books Signal Spring & Uncertainty | Midwest Paddock Report
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Condition Books Signal Spring & Uncertainty

Condition Books Signal Spring & Uncertainty

Opener Crowd

Arlington Park and Canterbury Park recently released their first condition books for their respective 2016 race meets signaling that spring may not be too far away, despite anticipated heavy snowfall throughout the region today.

Purses remain strong in Minnesota as the track’s joint marketing agreement with the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community matures.  Open maiden special weights come in at $28,000 while a non-winners of 2 allowance race check in at $32,000.  While Canterbury does not yet have a graded stake on the program, the recently Listed Mystic Lake Derby carries a purse of $200,000 while most other open stakes carry a $75,000 purse and overnight stakes $40,000.  The Lady Canterbury is the other race on the docket carrying a six figure purse ($100,000).

The rumored imminent demise of Arlington Park has perhaps been overstated, or just postponed, as purses check in there stronger than many expected.  Open maiden special races will be contested for $32,000 and non-winners of 2 allowances at $33,000.  Arlington Million Day remains strong with the American St. Leger checking in at $350,000, the Secretariat at $450,000, the Beverly D at $700,000 and, of course, the Million at $1,000,000.

As 2016 moves forward, Canterbury has six years left in the agreement with the SMSC and the future there for horsemen looks stable.  In Illinois the future is less secure.  Although alternative gaming in the form of slot machines at the racetracks seems to gain traction every year, a bill has yet to be signed into law by a governor.  How patient Churchill Downs is willing to be given their march toward becoming a casino, rather than a horse racing, company, remains to be seen.

Privately owned Hawthorne Race Course, in Cicero, IL, has stepped into the harness industry again in the absence of Maywood and Balmoral, hosting a brief harness meet this winter and a more extended meet this summer.  It is uncertain how any lack of alternative gaming would affect Hawthorne but they could be poised to pick up dates vacated by Arlington should Churchill determine that the real estate offers more of a value to shareholders than a casino-less racing operation.

3 Responses to “Condition Books Signal Spring & Uncertainty”

  1. Dave Astar says:

    Ted, I’m not so sure the Illinois book is as clear as it seems. This wording (ITHA may reduce purses to fund their expenses)throughout the book is more than curious and by carding fewer races, available purses may be surprisingly low. I hope IL purses are as good as they look in the book, but I’m not betting they are doing more than trying to get horsemen to bring stables in with it. Just an opinion from a very old Chicago boy who has seen more bait and switch than most. No data, just an opinion this time.

    • Ted Grevelis says:

      Thanks, Dave! There will be a follow up to this for sure. There is a lot of discord in IL between track and horsemen that I’d like to explore more. Arlington did this very thing in the last condition book in 2015 so it will be interesting to see how this really plays out.

  2. Cameron says:

    Good preview Ted and comments Dave. I too would be cautious and closely watch the “small print” in the condition book. AP did cut those purses before. Maybe the purses printed will be legit, or maybe they knew they had to print the 1st condition book with higher purses as the first book most dictates what barns will head there. Bottom line, stay tuned!

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