Mine That Betting Revenue (5/26/09)
If Kentucky's legislators won't listen to me, maybe they'll listen to the guy who won the Kentucky Derby.
Chip Woolley - the trainer of Derby winner Mine That Bird - recently said there's no way he would have even had a horse to bring to the Derby from his home base in New Mexico if that state hadn't legalized slot machines at its tracks.
Before that, racing in New Mexico was virtually on its death bed. But now, its tracks offer some of the largest purses in the Southwest. That has owners and trainers flocking there. And wagering - which provides tax revenue to the state, remember - is at an all time high.
Meanwhile, Kentucky lawmakers continue to ask "Why should we do something that's just for racetracks?" instead of asking "How can the entire Commonwealth benefit from helping the thoroughbred industry?"
Many of them insist Churchill Downs is just bluffing about how bad their current situation is. But these Doubting Thomases will only be right until the moment they're proven wrong, and the state loses another entire industry.
Yes, I believe there'll always be a Kentucky Derby and a Kentucky Oaks. But without meaningful action, they could well become pretty much all Churchill Downs has left.
I suppose that'd be OK for those who are willing to cut off their nose to spite their face. But the state as a whole deserves much better.
What do you think? Call and let us know.
I'm Bill Lamb, and that's my...Point of View.