Breeders’ Cup official dangles carrot in front of state lawmakers

Horses make their way through turn one during the Classic race at the Breeders' Cup horse races at Churchill Downs last Saturday in Louisville, Ky. AP/Matt Slocum

Horses make their way through turn one during the Classic race at the Breeders' Cup horse races at Churchill Downs last Saturday in Louisville, Ky. AP/Matt Slocum

A large carrot is dangling in front of next year’s Legislature – but only if state lawmakers agree to a statewide referendum to permit horse racing.

A member of the board of directors of the Breeders’ Cup says the annual event would consider coming to Atlanta – permanently or otherwise – should Georgia make pari-mutuel betting legal.

Each year, the Breeders’ Cup marks the end of the thoroughbred horse-racing season in the United States. It has no home, but migrates from track to track – Los Angeles, Kentucky, sometimes New York. But pass H.R. 186, sponsored by state Rep. Harry Geisinger, R-Roswell, and Breeders’ Cup board member Bill Farish Jr. told Denis O’Hayer of WABE (90.1FM) that Atlanta could find itself in the mix:

”I’ve felt that way for a long time, actually. Atlanta as a city has so many of the things a major sporting event like the Breeder’s Cup would look for in a potential host site.

“It’s an international event. People come in from all around the world, as well as all around the country. And as we all know Atlanta’s awfully easy to get to. It also has a tremendous climate, which is a key thing for the Breeders’ Cup….

“The Breeders’ Cup, in its long-term planning process, has looked at the idea of eventually locating at one permanent site, as well as continuing to rotate — and then a kind of third option of narrowing it down to two sites that you go to every other year.”

Los Angeles has the weather but not the facilities, Farish said. Churchill Downs in Kentucky – the site of last week’s Cup – has the facilities, but the weather can be dicey this time of year. Same for New York.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

For instant updates, follow me on Twitter, or connect with me on Facebook.

60 comments Add your comment

BILLY MAYS HERE

November 12th, 2011
11:25 am

Let me guess, Georgians will be picking up the bill for this?

honested

November 12th, 2011
11:31 am

How many nutcase pipedreams will we try in this state before we accept the necessary increase in taxes?

double

November 12th, 2011
11:47 am

We need the economy moving foreward,before any new taxes.Sure horse racing would create jobs.Also would take more of the” can least afford money/wages.”There is only so much money,what is spent one place is removed from another.

Believer

November 12th, 2011
12:01 pm

You gotta spend money to make money. Ha! Letting the now keep you from thinking about the future is the wrong approach to dealing with a down economy. There must be cuts, but there also must be investment for there to be something to reap in the future. This would be a great investment for Georgia and I hope the bill passes. I am willing to pick up the bill on good investments. The thought of not picking up the bill on anything and saying no to any and every investment is not how Metro Atlanta or any region grew.

double

November 12th, 2011
12:16 pm

Spend money you have not the Chinese money.If state is broke,Fed.bankrucpty.go deeper in debt.Spend money to make money.Who’s money?

DannyX

November 12th, 2011
12:24 pm

They are not going to let the horse eat the carrot.

NASCAR’s fall race in Atlanta was plagued by weather problems. Atlanta may get a token race as a bribe but that’s it.

DannyX

November 12th, 2011
12:34 pm

Either way the state will have to kick in a huge amount of money to get the facilities built.

Some ideas so far…

A Georgia Power surcharge on residential customers
Add 50 cents to the Ga 400 toll.
Huge tax cuts for the rich.
Use education dollars.
Issue a Tom Graves “I could never pay it back” loan.
Fare tax.

Clyde

November 12th, 2011
4:59 pm

Most tracks are privately owned not state owned. Money received from the track can be targeted for HOPE. The track would be arguably be one of the biggest tourist attractions in the area. Weather makes horse racing more interesting unlike NASCAR where 10 drops of rain may get a driver going 180 mph killed. Though getting the Breeders Cup permanently is not promised there are a lot of positives to having a track in the area.

double

November 12th, 2011
6:07 pm

Yes we could grow lots of mushrooms,They are kept in the dark and fed horse manure.OH! we got plenty,known as republicans.

Horsetoothedjackass

November 12th, 2011
6:13 pm

One think to look at if horse racing came to the state is to look at what happened in Birmingham with the Birmingham Race Course. Horse racing flopped there and is now a dog track.

One thing that could be done would be to have such a facility be built as a racino with the casino portion being VLT machines (Which have been previously proposed in the state.) and that funds the lottery and the HOPE scholarship program.

only in atlanta

November 12th, 2011
6:13 pm

This needs to happen!!!!!

artyc

November 12th, 2011
6:18 pm

it is 2011 and still georgia does not how to deal with this, give it to the mafia and they will make it work with plenty of profits.

DannyX

November 12th, 2011
6:35 pm

“Most tracks are privately owned not state owned.”

That doesn’t stop sports such as football from building stadiums one the public dime. You watch and see, any track built in Georgia will include a great big gift from the taxpayer.

The Georgia Dome was built with tax dollars, so was the Gwinnett Braves stadium.

Matt Stigall

November 12th, 2011
6:45 pm

Heck yes!!!

That would be amazing and a HUGE boost to the local horse scene.

Wayne stuck in AL

November 12th, 2011
6:55 pm

Seriously…does anyone care about horse racing these days? People under 50 see a horse track as where Grampa blows his Social Security check. Horse racing is dead in the United States.

Philly

November 12th, 2011
7:06 pm

This would be Great!

keith

November 12th, 2011
7:13 pm

danny x, there are plenty of investors wanting to build racinos and would use little if any taxpayers dollars to get built, and yes wayne, some people do still care about horse racing, those of us who support our families everyday because of the sport, and the millions of fans worldwide!! in the day of HUGE sports scandals and as the integrity of college and proffesional sports dimishes, horse racing, has kept its integrity intact, so maybe you sshould get “unstuck” and get out of atlanta and see what the rest of the world has to offer!!!

ATLKY

November 12th, 2011
7:17 pm

As someone who grew up within walking distance of Churchill Downs I am offended that Georgians think they can just build a track here overnight. Horse racing is not just a sport that can be relocated like a hockey team. Most people I know if Atlanta know nothing about horse racing. One major race a year cannot support a track longterm.

Concrete Pete

November 12th, 2011
7:20 pm

We need this! Thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions pumped into the states economy. Look it up. Look at how valuable horse breeding is… Wake up people, it’s 2011

keith

November 12th, 2011
7:30 pm

ATLKY, i dont think they are talking about building a track just for this one day of the year, they would run regular race meets and have a casino, and you dont need alot of knowledge of horses to get the thrill of betting on one!!!! and furhter more, we move all the time with the horses, so what do you mean you just cant move like a hockey team, when there is no racing at churchill what do you think we do, just hangout and wait for them to run there again, no, we go to a track that is running live races!!

DannyX

November 12th, 2011
7:37 pm

keith, pro football produces billions yet the owners hit up the taxpayers to fund their stadiums.

Also, where does Jim’s column say anything about a casino as part of the project?

Secretariat

November 12th, 2011
8:23 pm

It is not ever going to happen so quit dreaming about it. While there may be plenty people here from “up there”, there are not enough to sway that many votes. On top of it, someone has to build a track worthy of the Breeders Cup. I cannot see horse people coming here for only 1 event each year.

Michael

November 12th, 2011
9:19 pm

The Gwinnett Braves are averaging about 500 more attendees per game than when they were the Richmond Braves. The consultants who projected the higher numbers just so Gwinnett could pay $64 million for that boondoggle are probably the same consultants who think Atlanta will support a horse track.

keith

November 12th, 2011
9:42 pm

your right, probably wont happen, but its a cool subject to debate instead of all the bad sports news lately!!!

Love it

November 12th, 2011
9:56 pm

Fabulous idea, would love Atlanta to host such an amazing ‘tradition’ – it would be a wonderful asset and bring jobs, visitors, revenue and fun – not to mention a beautiful and impressive sport. I vote YES!!!!

glenn campagna...i have been out of georgia before)

November 12th, 2011
10:11 pm

huge opportunity. best comparison would be The “Masters”.

Well...

November 12th, 2011
10:15 pm

If we must have gambling in the state (the legal kind, anyway), I’d rather see casino gambling. My reasoning is that it would be a bigger draw than horse racing, or so it seems to me.

Bacchus

November 12th, 2011
10:36 pm

Not on with public funds. We’ve got a horse park in Conyers and that’ll have to do for now.
As for gambling in Georgia, bring it on. Regulate and tax accordingly, re-pave all Atlanta streets, and let the City of Atlanta reduce its water billing rate below the Draconian level, among other things to do with the revenues.

A.S.

November 12th, 2011
10:49 pm

This would be a great investment. Like others have said, you’ve got to spend money to make money. This could become a huge source of revenue for the city. Look at the return on investment for the SEC Championship and other key college football games. We need more exciting events like that.

To logical

November 12th, 2011
11:15 pm

The Georgia Legislature will never allow this. It makes to much sense.

BILLY MAYS HERE

November 12th, 2011
11:20 pm

A.S.

November 12th, 2011
10:49 pm

This would be a great investment. Like others have said, you’ve got to spend money to make money. This could become a huge source of revenue for the city. Look at the return on investment for the SEC Championship and other key college football games. We need more exciting events like that.

Money that you and 99% of the rest of Atlanta won’t see any benefit from.

BILLY MAYS HERE

November 12th, 2011
11:21 pm

One think to look at if horse racing came to the state is to look at what happened in Birmingham with the Birmingham Race Course. Horse racing flopped there and is now a dog track.

Quotin’ this

Cap Pistol

November 13th, 2011
12:23 am

Horse racing is barbaric. Midgets ride animals into the ground, breaking their fragile legs. And then the horses are executed. All so dilettante women and fat plutocrat snobs can gamble.

SAWB

November 13th, 2011
12:41 am

Why not combine pari-mutuel betting with the new captive hunting of exotic animals they were discussing. So, instead of building a new track we race them on the Atlanta Motor Speedway track. We have chimpanzees ride zebras in the race and afterwards people bid for the opportunity to shoot them in a closed pen. Then Paula Dean cooks them to order in a special private dining room. All the leftover monkey hips on rice and zebra steaks can then be donated to Occupy Atlanta.

Jackd

November 13th, 2011
12:43 am

Most of the jobs at these tracks are filled by Hispanics. I think they might have trouble filling those jobs in Georgia.

SAWB

November 13th, 2011
12:53 am

No, if the State owns the track the pay and benefits will be pretty good. Also, once the Jackson and Franklin families get finished with the vendor contracts they’ll be hiring lots of cronies. If they did have trouble getting workers we could use State prisoners or out of work ATL school teachers.

[...] Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) [...]

[...] Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) [...]

Well...

November 13th, 2011
6:41 am

I’d rather see Harrah’s, MGM, Planet Hollywood, etc, come in, buy land and build casinos on their own dime, than have the state get into the gambling industry. I may be wrong, but the only thing people might have a problem with would be the state/county/city giving them tax incentives (i.e., tax breaks) to locate in their area (of course, in theory, the difference would be made up many times over by the people who come to the casinos to gamble, and the associated periphery revenue (restaurants, hotels,etc., in addition to the ones at the casinos themdselves)). Mind you, I’m not crazy about any kind of gambling being legal in Georgia; I’m taking the “lesser of the two evils” approach. If there is to be gambling in the state, let the casinos, or whoever, spend their own money to bring it here, and keep the state out of it.

Well...

November 13th, 2011
6:43 am

Themselves, not “themdselves.” It’s too early in the morning for me to be on the computer. lol

Bob Decker

November 13th, 2011
8:22 am

The reason HorseRacing would not work in Georgia is because of the ignorant comments above, this state unlike advanced states up north is to stupid to understand what parimutual wagering is all about, one moron above said “I guess Ga will foot the bill” the bills are paid from the gambling and mutual pools. Anyway getting back to morons in the south, another reason Birmingham failed is southerners are to stupid to figure out how to handicap horse racing. You actually have to have some education to read a racing form, but the morons in the south would rather play brainless games like the 3 digit lottery or scratch off tickets, not one brain cell is required. If you want to tax the rich in this state, bring in horseracing, usually the successful business person can be found at the Track, not bubba and his fat wife.

sterno

November 13th, 2011
8:49 am

Yeah, and let’s build the track next to a polo field so that rich Atlanta’s can enjoy double headers.

1gadawg

November 13th, 2011
9:25 am

just another way to backdoor gambling…. and you can bet the taxpayer will end up footing a large portion of the bill and another state bureaucracy will be created to support it, again at the taxpayers expense…

Fred

November 13th, 2011
9:43 am

I have been to Steeplechase at Pine Mtn. and the Queen’s Cup in Charlotte. It is great fun. Yes, horses occasinally go down;but, not everybody there is a fat cat snob. The equine industry is one of the biggest agricultural segments in the State. Don’t count the track as dead on arrival.

BILLY MAYS HERE

November 13th, 2011
9:44 am

Bob Decker

November 13th, 2011
8:22 am

The reason HorseRacing would not work in Georgia is because of the ignorant comments above, this state unlike advanced states up north is to stupid to understand what parimutual wagering is all about, one moron above said “I guess Ga will foot the bill” the bills are paid from the gambling and mutual pools. Anyway getting back to morons in the south, another reason Birmingham failed is southerners are to stupid to figure out how to handicap horse racing. You actually have to have some education to read a racing form, but the morons in the south would rather play brainless games like the 3 digit lottery or scratch off tickets, not one brain cell is required. If you want to tax the rich in this state, bring in horseracing, usually the successful business person can be found at the Track, not bubba and his fat wife.

You know for someone who is convinced of their own superiority you don’t know anything about Georgia politics, which is what this blog centers around. So, don’t post anymore. Thanks.

Richard

November 13th, 2011
9:46 am

This would require a state constitutional amendment. It’s not something lawmakers can decide with an amendment.

Nickie

November 13th, 2011
9:46 am

I am opposed to this and dog racing, too. I don’t gamble but do not care if someone else wants to just as I don’t drink but am not opposed to anyone else drinking responsibly and applaud the Sunday liquor sales vote. My opposition is solely based on the welfare of the animals. Top winning horses are treated well and often retire in a humane manner. It is the lower ranking horses and the dogs that are poorly treated and often killed. I will vote No is a vote comes and will express my views to my legislators.

BILLY MAYS HERE

November 13th, 2011
9:47 am

1gadawg

November 13th, 2011
9:25 am

just another way to backdoor gambling….

Let me guess, you’re a “small government” kind of guy–except when it comes to things like gambling, then you don’t mind the government telling folks what they shouldn’t do.

Robert Pagniello

November 13th, 2011
1:08 pm

Horse Racing is an industry and a business. New business and growth are a good thing for Georgia, not a bad thing. Gambling on horse racing would bring much needed income to our state. You only have to look to our neighbors in Florida and Louisiana to see that it can be a huge income producer to those states revenues. For years we saw people travel to Florida to buy lottery tickets because short sighted people in our legislature refused to allow a lottery in the state. Florida was certainly thankful for years for this oversight. With internet gambling available in horse racing, you are not preventing gambling, you are just making states like Oregon very happy. It is time to move into the 21st century and allow legalized gambling in Georgia. If you don’t like gambling, then don’t go to the track!

BILLY MAYS HERE

November 13th, 2011
6:12 pm

…You only have to look to our neighbors in Florida and Louisiana to see that it can be a huge income producer to those states revenues…

lol what about the track in B’ham?