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Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Spring Derbys and Daffodils

- I saw an ad in Thoroughbred Daily News today from Magali Farms, home of High Fly’s sire Atticus, trumpeting the accomplishments of the Florida Derby winner, and I’m glad to see that someone there is paying attention. Because if you go their website, you’ll find that it hasn’t been updated in some time and, in fact, I was unable to turn up a single mention of High Fly, who has merely won 5 of 6 and two graded stakes. Also in TDN today, Andrew Caulfield discusses High Fly’s pedigree and his sire, who retired to Three Chimneys in Kentucky with an initial $20,000 stud fee, but now resides at Magali in California for a mere $4000, where he stands alongside such illustrious names as Fusaichi Zenon, Mr. Broad Blade, and Truckee (and sprint champion Lit de Justice, whose Injustice recently won the G3 Azeri at Oaklawn). While he serviced 75 mares in his first year, High Fly is one of just 29 in his crop. According to, he has only 17 2 year olds this year.

As has been mentioned High Fly’s female family is a classy one, and is the direct family of Belmont winner Summing. There’s a lot more on him and his pedigree in Caulfield’s column and, if you don’t get TDN, in the latest columns by Haskin in Bloodhorse, and Lauren Stitch in the Form.

- While most racetrack executives reacted with dismay to Youbet’s rebate program, one did not.

Bobby Geiger, the simulcast coordinator of Oaklawn Park and an outspoken critic of some rebate shops, said that the program offered by Youbet did not run afoul of Oaklawn's policies because Youbet does not offer its players direct access to betting pools or the ability to use customized computer-wagering programs, as many offshore wagering sites do.

"If Youbet is willing to give up some of its profits to satisfy some of their better players, so be it," Geiger said. "At those lower levels, you are not affecting the integrity of the pools." [Daily Racing Form]
Oaklawn has cut off the rebate shops, and Geiger has cited access to the betting pools in the past as his prime concern about them.

- Wild Desert will be a welcome addition to the Arkansas contingent if and when he goes in the Arkansas Derby off his strong second in the Lane’s End. His owner Don Borislow is expected to challenge the other Philly area connections, those of Rockport Harbor and Afleet Alex, to a $50,000 wager on which of the three finishes best. If I was the owner of either of these other two, I’d make sure the wager is not like the futures bet, and that the money would be refunded if they don’t make the race.

- With slots racing towards its saturation point on the east coast, West Virginia is trying to turn its racetracks into full-blown casinos by introducing table games. A state official offers this explanation for the nationwide rush to legalize gambling in various forms.
"One of the reasons why states are going to gambling has a lot to do with Medicaid. Medicaid is growing faster than taxpayers are willing to provide funds for," said Mark Muchow, fiscal policy director for West Virginia’s Department of Revenue.

"The spending pace just can’t be kept up," Muchow said. "Medicaid makes Social Security look like a lamb." []

- Galloping Grocer will stay in NY and run in the Wood, and most of the prospective entrants had workouts. Even if the race was merely a rematch of the four main protagonists from the Gotham, it would be a fascinating betting race, trying to determine how Pavo will run with his jockey intact, and how Survivalist and Naughty New Yorker will do with the second turn and extra distance. The addition of Going Wild and Bellamy Road add an extra element of intrigue, and also give the race legitimacy as a real Derby prep for this year.

- Lawyers for the two Lincoln Park (Rhode Island) executives accused of trying to bribe the speaker of the state house through his law partner, are trying to have their retrial moved to Massachusetts.
The lawyers said "a significant amount of the population of Rhode Island believes that state government is corrupt" and said those attitudes will make it difficult or impossible for an impartial jury to be selected. []
I don’t imagine that the feeling that their state government is corrupt is limited to residents of Rhode Island…especially in Massachusetts!! Besides, the law partner did not accept the alleged bribe, so government corruption is not the issue here. Nonetheless, I suppose they would like to move the trial to a state where residents think government corruption is a good thing, so they would be less likely to convict those who take advantage of that particular feature of American democracy. Perhaps they should try Tom DeLay’s home state of Texas! Or, then again….maybe not.

- The Maryland legislature missed its budget deadline, and is stalemated over a House proposal to cut property taxes that the Senate refuses to go along on. And then there’s the festering issue of slots, which some feel is connected to the tax standoff.
Senate leaders insist their opposition is grounded in sound public policy. Maryland can't afford to give homeowners a $100 or $200 break, they say, denying that they are delaying budget passage as a ploy to break an impasse over legislation to legalize slot machines.
Still, slots is the specter that has hovered over all high-stakes discussions in Annapolis since Ehrlich was elected in 2002.

"The Senate president has created an artificial impasse for his own agenda, which is either not debating stem cell research or forcing a slots agreement on the House," said Del. Peter Franchot, a Montgomery County Democrat. "It's like daffodils coming up every spring; the Senate president seems unable to control himself." [Baltimore Sun]

Some links via Albany Law School Racing and Wagering Page.

Please feel free to email me with links, comments, questions…