To win something "hands down" means to win something easily. The phrase comes from the practice of horse racing jockeys loosening the reins when it seemed certain they would win.

This week, the Massachusetts legislature was in the home stretch of finishing their business, but the lawmakers suffered an acute charlie horse by not passing a bill to extend horse racing and simulcasting legality in the state. In other words, the Beacon Hill lawmakers just banned jobs, horse racing and simulcasting from Suffolk Downs and Plainridge Park.

Across the board, our representatives and senators broke from unfinished and important legislative work, for the rest of the year, to engage in horse play until 2019. I hope leadership calls for an informal emergency session, so horse racing and simulcasting can take place this Saturday. We already lost a day of revenues from cancelled racing today, August 2, not to mention the hundreds of related jobs that went unpaid.

Lawmakers never took the final procedural votes required to send a bill extending racing and simulcasting authorization to the governor's desk. They could kill an entire industry and leave hundreds unemployed if they don' t act real fast.

In politics, the front-runner is the leading candidate in an election.But the term comes from horse racing, and means a horse that runs best while in the lead. They better fix this hitch right now, and that's straight from the horse's mouth.

Phil Paleologos is the host of The Phil Paleologos Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @PhilPaleologos. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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