Friday, March 7, 2014

Colonial Downs and VHBPA Heading for Meditation

So has to come to this. The Virginia Racing Commission is telling (not asking) Colonial Downs and the VHBPA to submit their arguments to a professional mediator. This is the latest attempt to end the impasse on the number of racing days and amount of money to dished out each, that each side must agree to. There is no word on whether or not this mediation is binding or just another way talk things out. If it is binding, the horsemen are going to get screwed.

Here is Colonial's argument in a nutshell: we are losing too much money horsemen and we want you to pay, among other things, for cleaning up your horseshit (no, really, manure removal is one of the things they want horseman to pay for).

The argument that Colonial is losing money therefore they need to change the business model is an old, old, old sports owner's arguments. Given that Colonial is owned by a privately-held company, they do not have to open up their books to show how much money they are loosing. NFL, NHL, and Major League Baseball clubs do this all the time when negotiating collective barraging agreements with their players' union or when they claim they need a new stadium and want the public to pay for it. They whine about their loses, when in actually they are making money hand over fist. Its only when you take deprecation into account that their balance sheet looks bad.

So Colonial, in my opinion, is doing the same thing. They of course, attempted to put public pressure on the horsemen by shutting down the OTBs in the western part of the state, stating we were to blame. Now they are saying their balance sheet is worse. Why? Because of the OTBs shut down out west.

There is one thing about racing in the Mid-Atlantic that Colonial management should remember. We can take our horses elsewhere. There are six tracks within driving distance. In our case, we have decided to prepare for the worse. Marq Your Bible is currently in South Carolina training to be a steeplechase horse.

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