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Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Tracks Conditioned

- Evangeline Downs is scheduled to reopen next Wednesday, and all systems appear to be go; in fact, that’s one whole day earlier than originally scheduled. The meet has been extended until September 24, and a fifth weekly racing day has been added as well. The new schedule ensures the track will run 86 of the 88 Thoroughbred days approved for this year by the commission. [Daily Racing Form] The shutdown did not adversely affect the slots parlor though. The slot-machine casino won nearly $7.1 million, compared with $5.5 million the same month last year. [Opelausus Daily World] I doubt that that's money being diverted from the races, given all the simulcast options available there; and what self-respecting horseplayer would sit and feed coins into a slot machine all night anyway? Seems to me it's just another illustration that slots players could care less whether there's a racetrack at their casino, or not.

Meanwhile, the reopening means the party is over for Louisiana Downs, where there was little problem filling races the past few weeks. "Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't wish anything bad on anyone," [Racing secretary Pat] Pope noted Sunday afternoon. "But having had the extra horses has made it easier to get the big fields that makes for more exciting racing." [Shreveport Times, via Albany Law School]

Delaware Park cancelled their last four races on Sunday and the whole card on Monday when the jockeys refused to ride citing track conditions, and it cost track superintendent Bob Beaubien his job. The track’s COO Bill Fasy said the complaints were that the track was uneven in several places.

"In one spot the track might be deep and a quarter mile later it was thicker or thinner," Fasy said.
Scott Peck, president of the Delaware Park Horsemen's Association, said some trainers recently had expressed displeasure with the track condition. However, Peck isn't convinced the jockeys made the right call Sunday.

"They complained the track was too dry and needed water," Peck said. "It looked like they added too much and the track was muddy. It was heavy going for the horses. Jockeys were coming back from races with mud on them and soaking wet. I know there was concern, but I didn't think the track was unsafe to ride on." [Delaware Online]
Racing resumed this afternoon as scheduled.

- Saturday is the Grade 1 Mother Goose for 3 yo fillies at 9 furlongs, the one-time second jewel of the filly triple crown. Summerly will be making her first start since her win in the Kentucky Oaks, having missed a start due to the quarantine at Churchill. On Tuesday, she had a four-furlong work in 47.43 seconds, the fastest of the 40 at the distance.
Other Mother Goose contenders include: Smuggler and In the Gold, the second- and third-place finishers in the Grade 1 Acorn Stakes; Black-Eyed Susan winner Spun Sugar; and Winning Season, a recent allowance winner at Belmont for trainer D. Wayne Lukas. [Daily Racing Form]
- Derby winner Giacomo had successful surgery to remove bone chips in his left ankle and right knee. He could return in the first few weeks of the Santa Anita winter meeting in 2006. [DRF]

- Please feel free to email me with comments, links, suggestions, or questions.