Casino Gambling

Horse race betting is coming to a Coast casino in time for the Kentucky Derby

Todd Pletcher reacts to his four horses’ post positions in Kentucky Derby draw

Trainer Todd Pletcher talks about the Kentucky Derby post position draw, held Tuesday at Churchill Downs. Audible drew post No. 5, Magnum Moon No. 16, Vino Rosso No. 18, Noble Indy No. 19.
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Trainer Todd Pletcher talks about the Kentucky Derby post position draw, held Tuesday at Churchill Downs. Audible drew post No. 5, Magnum Moon No. 16, Vino Rosso No. 18, Noble Indy No. 19.

They’re off and running and Palace Casino Resort in Biloxi is the first casino on the Coast to take bets on horse racing.

The ribbon cutting is at 9:45 a.m. Wednesday at Contact Sports Book and comes just ahead of the race for the Triple Crown that starts with the Kentucky Derby on May 4.

Bets can be placed everyday at two windows, where tellers will help with common or more advanced bets, or two self-service kiosks in the sports book, said general manager Keith Crosby.

“We’re thrilled to be able to bring pari-mutuel wagering on horse racing to the Mississippi Gulf Coast,” Crosby said. While the sportsbook at the Palace opened in August, “We hadn’t gotten to the point where it (betting on horses) was permitted,” he said.

“This is a project we have worked on for several years,” Crosby said, “and we are excited to offer our guests the best possible wagering opportunities on all major U.S. tracks.

The system for betting on the races is powered by United Tote, a Churchill Downs company. Churchill Downs owns Harlow’s Casino Resort in Greenville and Riverwalk Casino Hotel in Vicksburg, and Crosby said, “They field-tested the equipment there.”

William Hill operates the separate sportsbook at The Palace, which is a smoke-free casino.

While other Coast casinos are preparing to add horse racing to the menu of sports bets, it’s fitting that it will begin at Palace Casino Resort.

Robert and Lawana Low, owners of Palace Casino, also are thoroughbred owners and breeders who operate Primatara, a 300-acre horse farm in their hometown of Springfield, Missouri. Their horse Magnum Moon ran in the Kentucky Derby last year and they’ve owned several other champion horses such as Steppenwolfer, the third place finisher in the 2006 Kentucky Derby.

A watch party was held at the Palace for last year’s Run for the Roses, and another celebration is expected to be announced for this year’s Kentucky Derby.

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