Jay Cronley: Vote to end live racing is worthy of the Grinch
BY JAY CRONLEY World Staff Columnist
Sunday, December 09, 2012
12/09/12 at 4:25 AM
If you understand exactly what's going on over at the fairgrounds with respect to the demise of live horse racing, with regard to the future of the high-dollar horse race simulcast building, and concerning exactly what the sale of the naming rights to the Creeks means, you probably work at the fairgrounds.
I have taken in most of what has been printed and spoken on the subject and still don't know who's stuck on first and who's home free.
The whole package is appropriate for the season in that the various directions and agreements should come with this note: Some Assembly Required.
Technical contract-type writing knows no ease of language.
The way it was: Here's the way it used to work.
A consortium of Indian tribes paid Fair Meadows $2 million per year not to have slot machines on the premises. This speaks well for the profit margin of slots, doesn't it?
It's not quite the same as being paid $2 million per year to do nothing. But it's close. Fair Meadows had to stage a live horse race meet. But that's what horse race tracks do. Race.
Counting this windfall as horse racetrack profit - which it was, as only those type places could have slot machines - you couldn't lose $2 million on a live racing meet if you tried.
And imagine complaining with $2 mil more in the bank each year.
The view of live horse racing has shifted.
Most fans frequent simulcast venues or use legal home wagering outlets.
Live race fans mostly go to the big events like the Kentucky Derby and to the scenic spots - Del Mar in San Diego, Saratoga in upstate New York and Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs.
It wasn't too scenic over at Fair Meadows, with the abandoned ball park due left.
The Creeks get more than their name on the side of the big building at the fairgrounds for the $1.44 million per year on the new deal.
They get two years' worth of use of the empty ball park and some other free stuff like sites and times for shows and events.
Industry loss: The horse industry is a huge business in this state; lots of mom-and-pop stables employing thousands.
They ran 400 races a year at Fair Meadows, with more than a month of racing days. Purses were good.
But here's what the horsemen and women suddenly heard: You're fired from live racing in Tulsa. Good luck finding work in Oklahoma City or Claremore, or in other states.
One more thing. You horse people have a nice Christmas, hear?
Original Print Headline: Vote to end live racing is worthy of the Grinch