05 January 2006

New Year - new track?

After the long holiday hiatus, I'm back, though racing doesn't return to Mountaineer until January 14. But the folks at my local track/casino haven't been idle; as Thorougbred Times reports, track officials have been pitching table games at a sort of economic summit held last week. Though the slots licenses in Pennsylvania have yet to be awarded, Pittsburgh, only forty miles away, is slated to get at least one casino -- and drain away some of Mountaineer's business.

Of course, it's still possible that Pittsburgh might get a racetrack, though it seems unlikely to me. There's been a lot of opposition to this proposal since the developer Charles Betters (truly, the guy's name is Betters), aims to strip mine the site first.

Strip mining?! In the city? Much as I would like to see a track within 10 miles of my house, a strip mine seems like a high price to pay for the privilege.

Meanwhile, as my Christmas money burns a hole in my pocket, I stumble across another way to spend money on the ponies: Moneighs. ReRun, a thoroughbred adoption non-profit, is auctioning off original equine art it calls "Moneighs" on E-bay. (Equine art in this case meaning "created by horses.") Greys must really know how to wield the paintbrush, as works by Skip Away, Holy Bull, and Silver Charm are all being auctioned off this week, along with works by Tiznow, Serena's Song, and other past runners. Check 'em out at Moneighs on E-bay ... and tell me if you don't think Holy Bull is the Picasso of his generation!


Anonymous said...

LOL. I kind of like Silver Charm's. I can't afford them anyway but I wonder what they've got the reserves set at? They seem to be in the $300-$500 range and haven't met their reserves.

Teaman said...

Hi QQ,
I'm a "firster" over here, and just wanted to say how much I enjoyed reading your posts. I recently renewed my interest in horse racing after a recent trip to Keenland Oct.30. Then I discovered the T B A + Alans spot at Left @ the Gate and have been posting my ramblings over there with hopes of learning some things. A very educated crew over there... I feel a bit out of my league posting there but they haven't "flamed" me yet.
It's interesting that you post about Mountaineer. There seems to be quite a few dedicated workers and players over there. I was listening to the horse racing show on Sirius last Thurs. and there was quite a lively discussion about all the goings on at Mntr. People seem very passionate about the place. Some "for" some "against", very entertaining none the less. I don't play there, but keep posting if you've got any "Hot ones" that you like.
When I was a Keenland I met a guy who gave me a couple of horses who now run @ Turfway. 4 starts since 12/4..2 Wins..2 thirds..good odds each time they run. You can read my ramblings about them over at L@TG if you like.
Hope to see more of your posts in the future. Good Luck in all your endeavors!

QQ said...

Last I looked, four hours before close, it looked like at least some of the Moneighs had made their reserve ... but it appeared that the reserve amounts were different for each painting. The reserves that were met seemed to be around $400, but at the ReRun website http://rerun.org/moneighs.html, there are a few by lesser known thoroughbreds at the more affordable price of $50.

One of the less well-known is Rich in Dallas, who has a moved onto painting after a brief stint of acting in Seabiscuit. It made me smile to read the blurb under Rich in Dallas's work: "Perfect for any Seabiscuit fan, Dallas has painted in the Seabiscuit colors and also in primarys."

QQ said...

Hi, Teaman,
There's definitely a lot of good advice over at Left at the Gate -- and you won't see weeks go by without a post! (I personally don't know how Alan does it. I'm suspecting he's got a clone, except then he'd have even more races to report on!)

Anyway, I generally report on racing books I've read -- and my luck at Mountaineer. We stumbled on Mountaineer after having a great time at the Belmont last June, and while it's not as grand as Belmont, the place has really grown on me. It's small enough to wander over to the paddock until the post parade, then pick up a beer on the way to the windows, place your bet, and still make it back to your seat before the race starts. The races usually have a decent number of horses in them, which makes the odds a little more interesting, I think. On hot summer nights, you can sit on top of a picnic table, drink in hand, while the sun sets behind the clubhouse, and watch the stars come out above the mountain across the street. It's really almost heaven.

Anyway, it's great to learn that Mountaineer has its fans; I haven't even jumped on the cable bandwagon yet, so Sirius is still a ways off for me. (Until last year, I drove a '79 Bobcat with AM radio - can you imagine?) So if you hear anything interesting about Mountaineer, let me know. And thanks for stopping by!

Teaman said...

It's Tues. and there's more lively discussion on Moutainer. The debate seems to center on the track President being more concerned with their slot machines. The track surface seems to be in bad shape and nothing is in the plans to fix it. I hear it freezes often and many race cards get canceled.
And if the track is bad,but not enough to cancel,the jockeys band together and refuse to ride. When that occurs,the track management is forced to cancel races late...often after many bettors have already arrived on the grounds to enjoy a night at the ponies,ony to be sent home or over to the "1-arm bandits". This in turn creates animosity between the management,jockeys, and fans. Sounds to me like 2 things have to happen. The track president has to GO..and the surface should be switched to the new Polytrack surface like they have at Turfway Park and might be installed at Keenland. You can't blame the jockeys for not wanting to ride if the surface is dangerous. They risk life and limb as it is,no need to increase that inherant danger by forcing them to ride on a bad track.
As I type..hall of fame jockey Chris McCarron is speaking on Sirius and agrees that the jockeys are the ones who know best when it comes to track conditions. The racing fans seem to love the place, the scenery, and the casual friendly atmosphere.
Much like you described in your post. I'm here in RI and never really gave Mnteer much thought. But after hearing the fans passion for the place and how scenic it is...I hope to visit some day. I understand that the quality of the horses and the purses are better due to the slot machine revenue and the resulting percentage that goes out to the horsemen. It's a shame that horse tracks all seem to be crying "We're broke..we need slots". And it's more of a same when a track like Mnteer. gets the slots...and can't use some of the revenue to improve the track.

P.S...Thanks for visiting my blogspot! I was happy to read my first "reply"!!