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Saturday, June 25, 2005

Notes - Saturday, June 25

- A winless betting day for me yesterday, but that didn’t at all ruin a beautiful day and evening at Belmont yesterday with a tad over 5,000 on hand. It started out a bit wacky in the second, a 2 yo affair. Bill Mott had a first time Storm Cat filly named Saoirse Cat, out of G3 winner Saorise, that was getting absolutely hammered in the win pool, while Pletcher had the morning line favorite, a first time starter who was dull on the board at 5-1. Indeed, Pletcher was talking on a cellphone the whole time the horse was in the paddock, and was chatting away as even as giving Velasquez a leg up with this free hand, so I figured if he wasn’t paying attention to the horse, I wouldn’t either. So I used the Storm Cat over the two logical form horses, but there was an incident at the gate, and both Mott’s and Pletcher’s horses were scratched, leaving a four horse field, and causing tens of thousands in refunds and a loss in parimutuel takeout that NYRA will likely be criticized for in the next audit. That was the only ticket I cashed all day.

Mott came back to win the third, with a 2 for 2 3 yo filly, Sweet Symphony (A.P. Indy). She won her debut at 17-1, and was 2-1 second choice to Pleasant Lyrics, coming off a close second to Toll Taker in the Boiling Springs at Monmouth. She won impressively, drawing off by 6 under a hand ride by Bailey. This George Steinbrenner-owned filly is a half-sister to a couple of nice stakes horses, Infinite Glory and Patriotic Flame, and her second dam is Sharon Brown, the dam of Holy Bull. Definitely one to keep an eye on.

My most frustrating loss of the day was in the 5th. It was five horse field, for a change, but I’d picked out the 5-1 Boortz, moving up the claiming ladder for the high-percentage Frank LaBoccetta barn. He was sitting in perfect position on the rail, close behind the 7-5 favorite Justification, dropping down for Allan Jerkins and involved in a contested pace. But as they headed around the turn, a guy started screaming “ASK HIM TO RUN, ARROYO! ASK HIM TO RUN, ARROYO!” Once again, this is the ultimate kiss of death for me; it’s just uncanny how I can never win when the screaming guy is rooting for my horse. And just for good measure, this guy adds “THE FIVE IS DEAD!”, referring to the favorite, who went on to beat Boortz by 2 3/4.

Javier Castellano had four winners on the day and Elbar Coa chalked up another. Jerry Bossert in the Daily News has news on another disturbing trend for NYRA.

More than ever, we bet more on out-of-state thoroughbred racing than at the three New York Racing Association tracks - Aqueduct, Belmont and Saratoga.

In 2000, it was almost 5-0/50 but last year it was 6-0/40 in favor of the out-of-state action and by the end of this year it could be 65-35. Out-of-state gambling has jumped 34% since 2000, when it was $738,063,394, to $987,907,132 last year.
New York State lawmakers, breeders and horsemen should all be concerned because very little of the money bet out of state gets returned to New York State and the racing industry.

Instead, the money the six OTBs make on these out-of-state wagers goes to local municipalities and not toward the well-being of racing in the state.

That's the way the system was wrongly created back in 1971.

Lawmakers have to increase the percentages OTB returns to the state and industry on out-of-state bets or, once and for all, do the obvious and correct the problem. [NY Daily News]
- Just a coincidence, but on Queen’s Plate weekend, there's a Canada in New York concert, presented with major support from the Canadian Consulate General in New York, at Brooklyn’s Prospect Park tonight, and the Head Chef is currently shopping for picnic dinner supplies. New Pornographers, Stars, and the Sadies are the bands performing.