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Friday, June 24, 2005

Long Post on a Short Day

- Colonial Downs owner Jeff Jacobs should give his publicity person a raise considering all the national press I’ve seen about the Grand Slam of Grass series there which starts tomorrow with the $500,000 Colonial Turf Club. No slots in Virginia, but Jacobs has come up with a unique way to get slots dough anyway.

He has succeeded in a novel way, using revenues from truck-stop casinos he owns in Louisiana to supplement Colonial Downs.

"We weren't profitable in the early years," said Jacobs, whose holdings with Jacobs Entertainment include 14 truck-stop casinos in Louisiana and casinos in Colorado and Nevada.

"But many of the most successful tracks these days have some kind of [slot] machines. Ours just happen to be a thousand miles away." [Sun-Sentinal]
I love these 3 yo turf races, but the problem with handicapping this one for now is that there is a competing stakes at Delaware tomorrow, the Grade 3 Kent BC Stakes, and no less than six of the horses are entered in both. Whatsmore, some trainers may wait until Friday night to make a final decision on where to run. [FOX] So no point putting a lot of time into these until we know who’s running.

- Only six entered in the G1 Mother Goose tomorrow, and word is that one of them, Lady Pegasus, may very well scratch. Acorn winner Round Pond is waiting for the Delaware Oaks in three weeks; John Servis says the timing…is perfect for his filly. She'll have six weeks from the Acorn and five weeks to the Alabama at Saratoga. [DRF] That very well may be, but Dave Liftin points out in the Form that the Delaware race is $200,000 richer, and writes of the fierce stakes purse competition that is adding to NYRA’s short field woes.
Instead of waiting for next week's Suburban Handicap, Saint Liam, who trains at Aqueduct, went to Churchill Downs for last week's Stephen Foster Handicap because the purse was $828,000. That is $328,000 more than the Suburban purse.

Ashado, winner of last week's Ogden Phipps Handicap, "probably" will run next in the Go for Wand Handicap on the first Sunday at Saratoga, according to trainer Todd Pletcher. But he raised the possibility of opting instead for the Delaware Handicap two weeks earlier. Why not? Ashado, already a champion and a Grade 1 winner in each of the past three years, has long since proven everything a budding broodmare needs to prove. Why run in the Go for Wand for $250,000 when the Delaware Handicap is worth four times as much?

Trainer Bobby Frankel worked Louisiana Derby winner High Limit and Ashland winner Sis City in company the other day.

Don't look for High Limit in the $150,000 Dwyer on July 4, because 13 days later the Leonard Richards at Delaware offers double that amount.

Sis City, who at 3-5 was outdueled in the Kentucky Oaks by Summerly, bypassed a rematch with that rival in Saturday's $300,000 Mother Goose and awaits the $500,000 Delaware Oaks in three weeks. [Daily Racing Form, sub. Only]
High Limit, by the way, is working well, turning in a 5f work in :58.65 the other day.

As for the Mother Goose, it’s obviously not a great betting race. I’ll stick with Smuggler, who I had at 6-1 when she ran second in the Acorn. She was a bit closer to the hot pace than I would’ve liked, and Shug McGaughey switches to Edgar Prado with Velasquez out of town. Summerly and Spun Sugar have won their big races around two turns, and it’s always worth taking a shot against when a horse tries the one turn configuration at Belmont.

- With the New York legislative session drawing to a close, Governor Pataki announced an agreement with the Senate and House leaders that would set up an oversight board for the NYRA. The board would replace a board within NYRA established by its board of trustees and management, which Pataki and state and federal investigators have accused of mismanagement and corruption. [Albany Times-Union] In addition:
Pataki announced a deal to send oversight of NYRA's $170 million Aqueduct casino project to the Division of Lottery and take jurisdiction away from the Racing & Wagering Board. The board had determined that NYRA improperly entered into a contract with MGM Mirage to manage the casino, having failed to honor competitive bidding requirements.

….Pataki's move enhances the chance a NYRA casino will be built.

Instead, Lottery would have to deem the MGM contract appropriate, something Pataki indicated he expected. [ATU]
Aqueduct will not be the NYC area’s first racino however, as Yonkers Raceway will shut down for four months after tomorrow’s card for construction of a VLT parlor. Some of the horses will move up to Monticello, which is adding Sunday racing to accommodate them, and which is thriving from its racino these days, with the featured pace now going for $12,000 every week, as compared to the $5,000 that was offered before the machines hit town. [NY Daily News]

- Ten horses are scheduled to go in the $1 million Queen’s Plate at Woodbine Sunday, and Dances with Ravens is the 5-2 morning line choice. The filly Gold Strike, who won the Woodbine Oaks two weeks ago, is second choice at 3-1, but if you’re thinking of betting her, heed the words of her trainer Reade Baker.
"I'll tell you, at the quarter-pole Sunday," Baker said as to when he'll know if Gold Strike is fit enough to run. "That's the only time you can tell.

"If I had a chance to breeze her five furlongs then Jimmy (jockey Jim McAleney) can come back and say she's as good as she was the last race or two races ago but this is a pig and a poke.

"We're just going to have to take her over there and take a chance. We don't have a choice. With two weeks there's just not enough time to do anything." [Ottawa Citizen, via Albany Law School]
I’ll try to pick a winner a bit later after the PPs come out. It’s a gorgeous Friday in New York City, with a high of 96 predicted for tomorrow. I’m once again taking a half day to go to Sunset Racing at Belmont; the card seems a bit better than what we’ve been seeing, but on a day like this I’d go to see a rickshaw race between Dick Cheney and Michelle Malkin. Have a great day.