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New Jersey eyes cutting in horse tracks on internet gambling

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TRENTON, N.J. — New Jersey lawmakers want to give the state’s horse racing tracks a piece of the action on internet gambling.

The state Assembly on Thursday passed a bill that would authorize tracks to offer internet gambling on their premises if they reach a partnership agreement with an Atlantic City casino or an online affiliate of a casino.

Democratic Assemblyman Ralph Caputo says it’s a way to help the struggling racing industry with new revenue.

“It would bring more traffic into the racetracks, and they need it desperately,” said Caputo, a former casino executive.

Gamblers with internet betting accounts already can place bets from anywhere within New Jersey’s borders, and don’t need to go to a track to do so.

“The casinos should realize that absolutely nothing will happen unless they agree to allow it through an agreement with a track,” said Dennis Drazin, chairman and CEO of the Monmouth Park racetrack in Oceanport. “Nobody is forcing anything on them. This is really a win-win for the racing industry and the casino industry.”

Supporters envision track patrons placing online casino bets between races. The track would be compensated by the casino for drumming up new online business; the exact amount each track would get from a casino would have to be negotiated individually.

Drazin said tracks would set aside an area for customers to place casino bets over the internet. The tracks would be specifically exempted from state law banning so-called “internet cafes” that offer real-money gambling.

The Casino Association of New Jersey did not respond to a request for comment on the bill.

Internet gambling has been a bright spot in New Jersey’s gambling market. On pace to win $250 million online this year, New Jersey has the largest market of the three states that currently offer internet gambling (Pennsylvania recently approved it but has not started offering it yet).

Delaware allows internet gambling through casinos based at racetracks.

The state Senate has not yet scheduled a vote on the measure, which is being considered in a committee.


Native River gets wire-to-wire win in Cheltenham Gold Cup

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CHELTENHAM, England (AP) Native River delivered an exhibition in front-running to outlast favorite Might Bite in a thrilling duel to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup, Britain’s most prestigious jumps race, on Friday.

Ridden by champion jockey Richard Johnson, 5-1 shot Native River took the lead right from the start and was never passed in the race over 3 miles and 2 1/2 furlongs in front of a crowd of 70,000.

After they jumped the last fence, Native River and Might Bite were neck and neck, but Johnson got a kick out of the Colin Tizzard-trained horse on the uphill finish and Native River won by 4 1/2 lengths – a year after finishing third in the race.

For Johnson, it was a second victory in the Gold Cup – 18 years after his first on Looks Like Trouble.

“It’s been a long 18 years,” Johnson said. “To be honest, I was a passenger.

“The more I asked from him, the better he jumped.”

Might Bite’s handler, Nicky Henderson, was looking to become the first trainer to capture the Cheltenham Festival’s three signature races in the same year – the Champion Hurdle, the Champion Chase, and the Gold Cup.

It was Might Bite’s first defeat over fences, and Henderson said the heavy going didn’t do the horse any favors – especially against a rival who is a past winner of the Welsh National and the Hennessy Gold Cup

“It was the right thing to track Native River because no other horse got into the race, he had to be in the right place,” Henderson said of the 4-1 favorite.

“On better ground, stamina wouldn’t have been an issue. But in that ground you have to work so much harder. The winner is a Welsh National winner and the reason I’ve never won that race is because I can’t find horses that go in that ground.”

Native River won his owners 369,822 pounds ($515,000).

Anibale Fly, a 33-1 shot, was third.

Jockey Ruby Walsh to miss rest of Cheltenham Festival

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CHELTENHAM, England (AP) Jockey Ruby Walsh will miss the remainder of the Cheltenham Festival after aggravating a leg injury when falling off his horse during the RSA Insurance Novices’ chase on Wednesday.

Walsh, the most successful jockey in the festival’s history with 52 wins, had only recently returned to competition after a four-month layoff due to a broken leg. He was taken to a hospital for X-rays and his sister Jennifer said in a statement that “unfortunately he has aggravated a recent leg injury and will see his consultant in Dublin next week for further assessment.”

Walsh had been set to ride Killultagh Vic in Friday’s Gold Cup.

On Wednesday’s second day of the festival, Altior extended his unbeaten record over jumps to 13 in the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase.

Altior had a slow start eventually powered seven lengths clear of the Willie Mullins-trained Min.

It was also a good day for trainer Gordon Elliott who took home three wins, headlined by Samcro in the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle.

The 8-11 favorite beat Black Op by two and three-quarter lengths.