Golden Gate might close

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BigDonOKC
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Wed Jun 13, 2018 6:47 pm

Tim Ritvo, The Stronach Group's chief operating officer, said June 13 that closing Golden Gate Fields could be a possibility if changes are not made to a complicated simulcast issue in Northern California.

After a notice was sent Wednesday to horsemen about an "urgent meeting" June 14 about "the future of Golden Gate Fields," Ritvo explained what will be discussed with horsemen, regarding Northern California Off-Track Wagering Inc. (NOTWINC), which deals with brick-and-mortar simulcast operations in the region.

https://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing ... cast-issue
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Sparrow Castle
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Wed Jun 13, 2018 9:47 pm

Jeremy Balan Verified account@BH_JBalan
4m4 minutes ago
TOC’s Greg Avioli just released a statement regarding Golden Gate Fields, and there’s a lot to it (more will be included in the article), but this might be the most important part. He says Los Al is suing the CHRB in an attempt to block Golden Gate’s license application.
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Sparrow Castle
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Thu Jun 14, 2018 7:46 pm

Horsemen Concerned About Golden Gate Fields' Future
A day after Tim Ritvo of The Stronach Group indicated the closure of Golden Gate Fields may be possible if a simulcasting issue is not settled, Northern California horsemen met with other executives from the company June 14, and many left with concerns about their future in the region.

"We just came off a great meet, when I heard they were up $30-$40 million (in handle), and I've got to come to a meeting where they might be closed down for six weeks and maybe more?" trainer Steve Sherman said. "(The Stronach Group vice president of racing P.J. Campo) said we might have to take two steps back to take five steps forward, but we can't afford to take two steps back."

While executives from The Stronach Group maintained the meeting was specifically about informing the local horsemen about Golden Gate's desire to withdraw from Northern California Off-Track Wagering Inc. (NOTWINC), which deals with brick-and-mortar simulcast operations in the region, multiple horsemen felt the ultimate goal was to get them on board to race at Golden Gate year-round.

Because of the intended withdrawal from NOTWINC, The Stronach Group feels the California Horse Racing Board may not approve its meet application (Aug. 22-Oct. 2 dates) June 21 during the CHRB's scheduled monthly meeting. CHRB executive director Rick Baedeker said June 13 California law does allow for Golden Gate to opt out of NOTWINC, but that the track would have to negotiate its own deal with the 10 satellite locations in Northern California.

"I think all of us got blindsided by this," trainer Blaine Wright said. "Two months ago, we all stood together behind Golden Gate (during a stabling dispute between the track and the region's fair circuit) and that all worked out, and here we are again.

"The objective is they want to run year-round, and that's fine with me."

Golden Gate's general manager, David Duggan, said the objective of the meeting was not to endorse year-round racing but to inform horsemen of the NOTWINC decision with hopes they would voice their opinions to the CHRB.

"It's no secret we'd like to run year-round, but the goal of the meeting was to reiterate in person what Tim Ritvo said yesterday," Duggan said. "We tried to explain the NOTWINC situation face to face."

The talk left some horsemen uncomfortable and feeling stuck in the middle of a dispute between the California Authority of Racing Fairs, The Stronach Group, and the CHRB.
More: https://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing ... lds-future
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Sparrow Castle
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Fri Jun 15, 2018 7:56 pm

Golden Gate Update: TOC Conducts Meeting Friday
The latest salvo in a rapidly escalating simulcasting dispute in Northern California has been fired by the Thoroughbred Owners of California (TOC), which hosted a meeting of owners at Golden Gate Fields Friday morning to advocate an approach of business as usual for the rest of the year.

This would mean the track stays open for training this summer and that it runs its originally scheduled race dates between Aug. 22 through Oct. 2, but that all necessary parties work together to restructure the Northern California Off-Track Wagering Inc. (NOTWINC) simulcast organization into a more “profitable business” in the long-term, said TOC CEO Greg Avioli, about his organization’s position.

“We want everyone to have reached agreement prior to the first day of Golden Gate, so that Golden Gate can run it’s meet as originally scheduled,” said Avioli. “I’m confident it will happen because it’s the best economic solution for all parties.”

This Wednesday, Stronach Group chief operating officer Tim Ritvo told the Blood-Horse that his organization, which owns Golden Gate Fields, would come good on a plan written into its race meet application to opt out of NOTWINC, and to no longer send a signal to the system’s network of OTB wagering facilities, unless changes were made.

NOTWINC currently comprises 10 brick-and-mortar satellite wagering facilities. Ritvo called the organization “a broken model” in that, since its enactment, advances in wagering technologies (think TVG and Twinspires) have made the agreement effectively obsolete, to the point that now, Golden Gate is forced to subsidize the organization to keep the satellites afloat.

If no agreement is reached and Golden Gate chooses to no longer send a wagering signal to the satellites, the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) has threatened to deny Golden Gate a license to operate its race dates later this summer. The application is scheduled for discussion and action at the next CHRB meeting June 21 at the Alameda County Fairgrounds.

According to Avioli, there are two main parts to the puzzle-whether or not the CHRB is legally allowed to authorize Golden Gate to operate this summer unbound from NOTWINC, as well as what would happen if the CHRB does just that.

If it does, “where is the Stronach Group going to find and guarantee the roughly $6.5 million that is generated to the purse account currently?” said Avioli, who added that discussions surrounding a labor agreement involving the satellites is only complicating matters. Labor costs currently account for about two-thirds of the network’s total expenses.

Still, the TOC argues that Golden Gate probably won’t be able to make up the revenue lost if it pulls out of NOTWINC. According to the TOC’s calculations, these 10 satellite wagering facilities handled a total of $108.4 million in 2017, which constituted 41% of total wagering in Northern California. What’s more, purse revenues from these satellites totaled $6.6 million, or 46% of the total purse revenue generated.
More: http://www.thoroughbreddailynews.com/go ... ing-friday
BaroqueAgain1
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Fri Jun 15, 2018 11:37 pm

It can get pretty depressing to read articles like this. The racing industry seems to be unable to stop doing stuff that harms itself.
Horse racing is like an endangered species...that tends to eat its own young. :? :(
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Sparrow Castle
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Fri Jun 15, 2018 11:43 pm

BaroqueAgain1 wrote:It can get pretty depressing to read articles like this. The racing industry seems to be unable to stop doing stuff that harms itself.
Horse racing is like an endangered species...that tends to eat its own young. :? :(
Good analogy. This hits close too close to home. Sometimes, our horses run at Golden Gate.
interco
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Mon Jun 18, 2018 4:21 am

Good riddance GGF and take Los Al with you.
Catalina
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Mon Jun 18, 2018 10:44 am

Sparrow Castle wrote:
BaroqueAgain1 wrote:It can get pretty depressing to read articles like this. The racing industry seems to be unable to stop doing stuff that harms itself.
Horse racing is like an endangered species...that tends to eat its own young. :? :(
Good analogy. This hits close too close to home. Sometimes, our horses run at Golden Gate.
And so, how did Stronach end up with GGF? A few shares here, a few shares there? Or did he buy the whole thing outright, kit and caboodle?
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Curtis
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Mon Jun 18, 2018 12:53 pm

interco wrote:Good riddance GGF and take Los Al with you.
Now there’s some forward thinking. Shut down the middle and the bottom and top can then follow.
djnorth
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Mon Jun 18, 2018 1:08 pm

interco wrote:Good riddance GGF and take Los Al with you.
Is it just me or is this the kind of thinking that helps get racing (and a lot of other stuff, I guess) into the mess it's in? Don't know what solution there is but the endangered species eating its young analogy is unfortunately a good one. It fits well with the quote about the Belmont Stakes controversy (Restoring Hope) and Justify's TC with racings' uncanny "ability to make a negative out of a positive."
stark
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Mon Jun 18, 2018 1:14 pm

Curtis wrote:
interco wrote:Good riddance GGF and take Los Al with you.
Now there’s some forward thinking. Shut down the middle and the bottom and top can then follow.
I'm guessing Interco still holding a bit of a grudge over Bay Meadows closing, he sure looked good there in late 83.
I've found it easier to tear up tickets at 8/1 instead of 8/5.
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Curtis
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Mon Jun 18, 2018 1:37 pm

stark wrote:
Curtis wrote:
interco wrote:Good riddance GGF and take Los Al with you.
Now there’s some forward thinking. Shut down the middle and the bottom and top can then follow.
I'm guessing Interco still holding a bit of a grudge over Bay Meadows closing, he sure looked good there in late 83.
Also looked good winning the Big ‘Cap. Ted West’s best horse.
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Dusty
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Tue Jun 19, 2018 3:21 am

interco wrote:Good riddance GGF and take Los Al with you.
REALLY??? The TWO tracks that have given the most to try to save Calif racing?
May they run with the WIND
BaroqueAgain1
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Tue Jun 19, 2018 2:11 pm

I see two different business models in conflict here.
Stronach is trying to stay profitable by contraction, reducing the number of tracks that his business operates. (So long, Calder.)
We've seen it in other businesses, as companies close poorly-performing stores or manufacturers lay off employees to try to operate with the smallest possible overhead. IMHO, with mixed success.
Racing has always operated with a large number of tracks spread out across the country. The smaller, 'lower-tier' tracks provide a place for more owners to run with success, and to provide races to keep more TBs running for a living. They have also allowed trainers and riders learn their craft, and for people all over the country to become racing fans. It's the base of the racing pyramid that supports the peak of tracks like Saratoga, Del Mar or Keeneland.
If we lose tracks like Los Al, or any of the smaller tracks scattered across the country, I fear that racing would find itself contracting into an even smaller niche sport than it already is. :(
Catalina
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Tue Jun 19, 2018 4:08 pm

BaroqueAgain1 wrote:I see two different business models in conflict here.
Stronach is trying to stay profitable by contraction, reducing the number of tracks that his business operates. (So long, Calder.)
We've seen it in other businesses, as companies close poorly-performing stores or manufacturers lay off employees to try to operate with the smallest possible overhead. IMHO, with mixed success.
Racing has always operated with a large number of tracks spread out across the country. The smaller, 'lower-tier' tracks provide a place for more owners to run with success, and to provide races to keep more TBs running for a living. They have also allowed trainers and riders learn their craft, and for people all over the country to become racing fans. It's the base of the racing pyramid that supports the peak of tracks like Saratoga, Del Mar or Keeneland.
If we lose tracks like Los Al, or any of the smaller tracks scattered across the country, I fear that racing would find itself contracting into an even smaller niche sport than it already is. :(
Most big business operations trying to stay alive by shutting down under-performing locations at best seem to postpone their failure. Pulling out as much of your cash as is still salvageable invariably poorly reflects on customer service as well as quality of the product, neither of which endears you to the customer.
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Sparrow Castle
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Thu Jun 21, 2018 11:51 pm

Stronach Group Headed to Court Over Simulcasting Issue
A disagreement over California law regarding simulcasting requirements, between The Stronach Group and the California Horse Racing Board, will head to court, an executive from The Stronach Group said June 21.

Earlier Thursday the CHRB conditionally approved Golden Gate Fields' application to be licensed for its Aug. 22-Oct. 2 meet, with the contingency that The Stronach Group, which owns the track, reaches agreements with each Northern California satellite wagering facility "as required by law," as well as a horsemen's agreement with the Thoroughbred Owners of California and "all other outstanding items" by July 2.

Eric Sindler, who represented The Stronach Group at the meeting, maintained that the company—which is seeking to run its meet without sending its signal to the region's satellite facilities that operate through Northern California Off-Track Wagering Inc. (NOTWINC)—does not have to reach agreements with the satellite facilities to be compliant with California law.

In comments June 13 The Stronach Group's chief operating officer, Tim Ritvo, said Golden Gate could close if the meet is not approved "with our conditions."

Ritvo did not answer multiple requests for comment Thursday, but another executive with The Stronach Group, Scott Daruty, who was not at the CHRB meeting conducted at the Alameda County Fairgrounds, said the company will be "filing a court action to get a to get a judge to interpret the law."
More: https://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing ... ting-issue
stark
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Fri Jun 22, 2018 12:31 am

I still get a pretty good giggle knowing that some people think a National Racing Headmaster would resolve the industry's problems :lol:
I've found it easier to tear up tickets at 8/1 instead of 8/5.
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Sparrow Castle
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Thu Jul 12, 2018 6:47 pm

Golden Gate gets conditional approval for meet to open Aug. 22
Golden Gate Fields received conditional approval to operate a six-week race meeting from Aug. 22 to Oct. 2, pending completion of a contract regarding labor costs between the racetrack and an association of Northern California county fairs.

The board of directors of the California Authority of Racing Fairs is scheduled to meet on Tuesday to discuss the contract. Thursday, the California Horse Racing Board approved a motion, presented by chairman Chuck Winner, to approve the racing dates at Golden Gate Fields, provided the CARF board approves the agreement by Wednesday.

The outstanding issue surrounds labor costs, particularly salaries for mutuel clerks, officials said. At Thursday’s meeting, officials discussed whether Golden Gate Fields, the county fairs, or Northern California Off-Track Wagering, Inc. – which administers the satellite system on behalf of racetracks, county fairs, and the Thoroughbred Owners of California – would be responsible for labor costs.

Golden Gate Fields officials have indicated in recent months they want to reduce costs by breaking away from a decades-long arrangement with the satellite network and develop an alternative system of betting “cafes” where customers can place bets that would be treated as account wagers.

No such network is in place, track officials told the racing board last month.

For the time being, the off-track betting structure will not change, though the issue remains a concern for racing officials. Larry Swartzlander, the executive director of CARF, said the labor issues will need to be discussed again later this summer when Golden Gate Fields seeks approval for its fall race meeting, which is scheduled to begin on Oct. 17.

“These issues will resurface for the fall meet,” Swartzlander told the racing board. “This solution is kicking the can down the road. The big thing involves around labor. In 30 days, we’ll be in front of you again.”

Winner warned the parties that they must resolve the issues regarding labor costs on their own.
More: http://www.drf.com/news/golden-gate-get ... nable=true
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