City Desk

More Evidence That Horse Racing Has Fallen Off the Track

Andrew Beyer wrote a devastating column about the odd behavior of Magna Entertainment, the owner of Maryland's two Thoroughbred racetracks, during the application process for a slot machine license.

The story appeared on Page E3, inside the sports section.

Beyer details how Magna, after years of crying about how unless slots come to the racetrack the racetrack will go away, didn't even file a sufficient application with the state for a license.

As a result, Magna has been kicked out of the running to even get any machines at Laurel Park or Pimlico.

Instead, a shopping mall in Anne Arundel County will get the slots Magna allegedly coveted.

Though Beyer makes Magna's elimination from the licensing process sound permanent, there are probably several more court cases to go before it's a done deal.

Bad as it looks right now, given the power of the racing lobby in the state, I'd bet the tracks, if they really do want slots, eventually do get slots — no matter how big a mess Magna has made.

Racing's bigger problem over the long term, the way I see it, comes in the Post's placement of Beyer's story.

The fact that an amazing, newsworthy column written by the most important turf writer of all time gets buried on the bottom left portion of an inside page — on a holiday, no less — sure seems like a harbinger of racing's apocalypse. Slots or no slots.

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  1. #1

    This is so unfair to not put slots where they belong at the race track and they obviously could use the revenue too. I like gambling and I like the track and it is unheard of to put slots in a Mall...then you punk kids to contend with, robbery issues, etc. Bad idea!!! Leave it at the race track dummies.

  2. #2

    Oh pleeze. You non-racing writers who write about horse racing have been predicting racing's demise for years, if not decades.

    While it is certainly true the sport has tailed offed in recent years, it still thrives in many states.

    Andy Beyer is NOT respected within the racing industry as you say. Many horse players feel he does not represent them and many fans think he is a pompous ass. He pontificates about something and you non-racing writers jump on your key board to parrot and analyze what he writes.

    Then his paper buries the article and you make a big deal out of it. Newspapers have been buring racing articles for years, not weeks.

    Horseplayers are used to their sport being ignored. It isn't news. And the sport will survive its miss-management

  3. #3

    While I generally agree with you that I'm full of crap, I have to say, Dale, that I never felt as down about the future of racing as I did when I saw the Post bury this latest slots story.

    I mean, Barbaro was on death row after what happened at the Preakness in Maryland and he got the front page again and again; now, all of Maryland racing, and definitely the Preakness as we know it, is on death row. I mean, this is news! Not just racing news! It deserved more attention.

    Saying Beyer isn't respected is ludicrous.

    He's probably hated as much as anybody out there, and, sure, he's conflicted out the wazoo. But over time his words have been read and followed as much as anybody's.

    When he gives you Street Sense in the Derby, he's a genius. When he gives you Pyro in the Derby, he's a pompous ass.

    That's racing!

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