- Churchill Downs and the Jockey Guild have come to an agreement in which the Guild agrees not to organize any job actions during Kentucky Derby week - the type of boycott that the Guild has denied being involved with anyway - and Churchill withdraws its preliminary injunction to prevent such an action.
Matt Hagerty writes in the Form that Churchill’s Calder Race Course will have a $1 million policy in place when it opens its doors - but Calder is passing on a charge of $5 per start to owners to help defray the cost (estimated to be around $25 per starter), and some owners are not happy.
At Calder, the board of directors for the Florida Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association said its members do not want to pay the start fee. "Nobody in our organization believes this is the responsibility of the owner," said Sam Gordon, the newly elected president of the Florida horsemen's group..... We believe the track is making money, most of the jockeys are making money, but 98 percent of us who own horses are losing money and the other 2 percent are lying." [Daily Racing FormF]Gee, that sure makes us all want to get into the business. Sounds like a sure thing, if nothing else.
And a Kentucky congressman, Ed Whitfield, chairman of the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, has sent a letter to the Guild demanding information.
"I seek documents and information related to the actions taken by the Guild regarding its health insurance policies for on-track accident as well as the Guild’s efforts to persuade racetracks around the country to increase their own on-track accident insurance coverage," Whitfield wrote in his letter. "I also seek information regarding the Guild’s management, accounting, and oversight of all funds provided to the Guild from its various funding streams." [Thoroughbred Times]Oh yeah, and he wants to know about Wayne Gertmanian's resume too.
- Trainer John Sheriffs is plodding forward with Giacomo for the Derby despite his 4th place finish in the SA Derby. He never races terribly enough to disgrace himself, but I don’t recall the last time he actually won. He had a workout Tuesday, and if you have him on your watch list and didn’t get a notice of it, there’s a reason.
..the time was so slow - Shirreffs said Giacomo went in approximately 1:35 - clockers did not report the breeze.
No big deal, according to Shirreffs. "I'm fine with it," he said. "I just wanted to give him a breeze and get him back on schedule."
He said Giacomo would get two more workouts before the Kentucky Derby. [Daily Racing Form]
- Digital video recording is a wonderful thing, and it gives me a chance to easily go back and review the prep races. At the NYRA tracks now, the video replay monitors are incredibly easy to use; and you can call up races in seconds from many different tracks. I recall when replays of races were first introduced there, you would write down the race you wanted to see (NYRA races only), give the slip to somone inside the booth, who would pull out a VCR tape, tell you which monitor to go to, and play the race for you. It seems as primitive now as the little animals running all the machinery on the Flintstones.
Anyway, I was curious to check out the last two races of Andromeda’s Hero. In the Lane’s End, he seemed to get bogged down on the inside around the last turn, and didn’t get going until he hit the stretch, at which point he started his rally late, behind Flower Alley and Wild Desert. But once he got going he seemed to be closing on even terms as those two, getting 5th. Shortly after the finish, you see him pass the winner. In the Arkansas Derby, he was in good position down the backstretch, then once again seemed to lag on the turn, had to switch paths midway down the stretch, and finished well for third. Then, once again, as the camera focused on Afleet Alex galloping out around the turn and into the backstretch, there was Andromeda’s Hero going by. This is a colt with a nice closing kick and he may absolutely love the Derby distance; he just takes a long time to get going and I’m not sure how athletic he is in terms of handling turns and traffic. Nonetheless, he’s one who will be a price that I may be considering for a spot on my tickets come Derby Day.
Something else I noticed in reviewing the races is that Wilko really had no excuse in the SA Derby; it was a step forward for him, but he was in perfect position behind the leaders, and wasn’t really all that much wider than Buzzard’s Bay. As they turned for home, Trevor Denman called “Frankie Dettori asks Wilko to do what he’s supposed to and strike the front.” He should have, but he never did.