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Racing industry hopes California Chrome can boost its fortunes

Friday, June 06, 2014 - 01:36

June 6 - The U.S. horse racing industry could use a Triple Crown superstar to help pull it out of a slump, and they're looking at California Chrome to do just that at the Belmont Stakes on Saturday. Jillian Kitchener reports.

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These men have high hopes of getting a return on their investment. They're part of a dwindling group still placing bets on horse racing. (SOUNDBITE) (English) DAVID GRENING, NEW YORK CORRESPONDENT, DAILY RACING FORM, SAYING: "I wouldn't say it's dying and I wouldn't necessarily say it's on life support. But it is ailing. I mean the interest in it isn't very high." Revenue and attendance at tracks around the country have been in decline for at least two decades. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CARL BENJAMIN, RACING FAN FROM NEW YORK, SAYING: "One time it used to be packed, years ago, in the eighties and nineties, but everything's going away slowly, slowly. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ERIC BISHOP, GENERAL MANAGER, FROST GIANT AND SUNRISE STABLES, SAYING: "We need some superstars. You need your Michael Jordans of the racing industry to get people's interest, and pique them to come out and enjoy the day." The industry could use a boost -- and they're looking at California Chrome for support as he gears up for the Belmont. A Triple Crown winner would create buzz -- hopefully translating to more bets. (SOUNDBITE) (English) MARTIN PANZA, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT OF RACING OPERATIONS, THE NEW YORK RACING ASSOCIATION (NYRA), SAYING: "Horses like this (California Chrome) don't come out that often. He's truly a gifted horse -- very athletic and it will be a big boost for the industry. When you can get a 120,000 people out to Belmont Park, we're exposing a lot of people to the sport and the majesty of these horses running. So it's a positive thing." All eyes are on America's favorite horse as he readies for the $1.5 million prize on Saturday.

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Racing industry hopes California Chrome can boost its fortunes

Friday, June 06, 2014 - 01:36