- Inflation and higher steel prices have pushed up the cost of the VLT parlor at Aqueduct by $30 million, and guess who’s going to foot the bill?
[The increase], he said, may require the need for compromise with horse owners and breeders for a projected increase in VLT splits in the years ahead.The parlor is not expected to be done until September of 2006. NYRA will be more of a lame duck than the president by then.
The level of VLT revenue sharing for purses and breed development was, under the original state law, to rise after the fifth year of the gambling program. A new law, enacted in March, no longer specifies how much VLT revenue will be dedicated to purses and breed development, but Hayward said NYRA hopes to cut deals with horsemen and breeders to match the splits under the earlier VLT law.
Hayward warned that MGM must be assured it will get its investment back in a set time period. "We can't have an increase in our commitment to purses and breeders, which we would like to do, if we have not paid back MGM," Hayward said. [Bloodhorse]
- Here’s a familiar name added to the Preakness roster: Galloping Grocer, the NY-bred who ran second to Rockport Harbor in the Remsen last fall, but who has disappointed this year. [Bloodhorse]
Trainer Tim Ritchey says that Afleet Alex may not work out before the race. "I would prefer not to breeze. That would be my first preference. But he may get a two-minute clip or something. Who knows? It's hard to say." [Baltimore Sun] According to Pimlico oddsmaker Frank Carulli, Alex will be the favorite:
"A strong favorite, for sure…..With [beaten Derby favorite] Bellamy Road out, [winner] Giacomo is a probable second choice." [Washington Post]That’s fine with me; I’ll have no problem taking a stand against him for the win spot. Right off the bat, there are two horses that beat him in the Derby – they both ran superior races to him in my opinion, and I believe either one of them are more eligible to show further improvement than him.
- I was listening to the Senate Foreign Relation Committee’s “business meeting” on the Bolton nomination today, and when Republican Senator George Voinovich blasted the nominee, saying that he’s a "poster child of what someone in the diplomatic corps should not be," it looked like the nomination was as dead as Spanish Chestnut after 6 furlongs. [CNN] But when he pivoted at the end of his speech and declared that despite his misgivings he would vote in favor of moving it out of committee, albeit without recommendation, it was like the sickening feeling when the “inquiry” sign goes up. Two moderate Republicans who also have misgivings about Bolton put their own political aspirations ahead of their conscience – Senator Chafee of Rhode Island is susceptible to a GOP challenge for his seat from the right, and Senator Hagel of Nebraska is planning to run for president; both were covering their asses, as did Voinovich to an extent. Still, he pledged to vote against confirmation on the floor and urged other Senators to do the same. This would be an embarrassment for any administration not as arrogant as this one. If they had a horse in the Derby, they wouldn’t care if they won by shooting all the opponents.
Still, as Steve Clemons reports at The Washington Note, and in the immortal words of Ice Cube – “It ain’t over motherf----r.”