Because of casino slots revenue, the opportunities in Pennsylvania standardbred racehorse breeding have never been better and we breeders should be proud.
As a result of our good fortune, in 2013 there were over 2,500 mares bred in Pennsylvania, hundreds more than in Ohio, Indiana, Ontario and New York. The numbers are proof that Pennsylvania is a popular place to breed horses. And this, when the total number of standardbred mares bred in North America fell from 14,230 in 2012 to 12,465 in 2013.
In the state Legislature, there is an effort to move the management of Pennsylvania racing from the Department of Agriculture to the Pennsylvania Gaming Commission. If that's not bad enough, they're considering consolidating — or perhaps eliminating — the Thoroughbred and standardbred racing commissions.
This is a terrible idea. My experience in observing the casino operators' investment and promotion of horse racing points to very poor results. As to a combined commission, look at what has happened in Maryland — a total disaster. I am not in favor of any of this.
The writer is the president of the Pennsylvania Standardbred Breeders Association.
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