- Reaction continues here to the dismissal of NYRA’s racing secretary Mike Lakow, as NYRA honcho Charles Hayward met with unhappy trainers, but didn’t provide any real clue as to why Lakow was let go. The Troy Record’s Nick Kling talks about the odd timing of the move, noting that Lakow was prominent at NYRA’s pre-Saratoga press conference a couple of weeks ago. That's akin to a major league baseball team, excepting any club owned by George Steinbrenner or the late Charley Finley, showing up for spring training with one manager and opening the season with another.
Longtime NYRA observers have noted with pleasure that Lakow has incorporated challenging and unusual race conditions into his daily programs. Among them are conditioned claiming races, optional allowance/claiming races, and open allowance events that provided an exemption for certain restricted races. None of these were part of the NYRA schedule under Lakow's predecessors. [Replacement P.J.] Campo told me that he will likely see how things go during the first condition book, when asked about potential Saratoga changes. After that he will consider adding something new in the second book. Among the innovations he wants to try are 51⁄2-furlong turf sprints at the Spa. NYRA bettors have longed for these type of turf dashes, which are a staple at tracks around the country.(Personally, I could do without those races. They’re off, you lose....)
- - John Brunetti has failed in his bid in the Florida courts to reverse the revocation of his license to have racing at his Hialeah Park. Brunetti tried to argue that he was not able to conduct race meetings because of the "undisguised conduct of its competitors," Gulfstream Park and Calder Race Course, which have not allowed Hialeah to perform unopposed racing dates.
The court, however, was not sympathetic to Richard's argument. "As Hialeah's remaining point on appeal lacks merit, there is no basis for disturbing the final order." The order reads that failure to operate can only be due to "the direct result of fire, strike, war, or other disaster or event beyond the ability of a permiholder to control." The court said Hialeah's decision not to run its races was "based purely on an economic concern." [Sun-Sentinal]
- Big upset in the Bowling Green at Belmont as 26-1 Cacht Wells stalked pacesetter Salic Law through crawling fractions of 26.28, 51.94, and 1:17.19. But once they started sprinting home after the mile in nearly 1:41, it was Cacht Wells putting Salic Law away in a :22.1 quarter, and the longshot gamely held off even money favorite Relaxed Gesture in a final eighth of :12.2. Unfortunately, the winner pulled up lame and had to be vanned off. "He took a bad step pulling up," [Stanley] Hough said. "It doesn't appear to be that bad. He's been doing great. This is the farthest he's run, but he's always acted as a steady-paced horse. I thought he would go the distance, but I didn't know about the company." [Bloodhorse] Hough had two winners on the day and at least one more in the last couple of days I recall. His other winner Saturday was a first time 2 yo, and he’s always had a reputation of being adept with those; in fact, he’s currently hitting at 20% with first timers, but the $1.50 ROI shows that he’s no secret. And here, Trippi Appeal was bet down to 6-5 despite being the 7-2 second choice in the morning line. Watch his 2 yo's at Saratoga.
Cacht Wells was Elbar Coa’s third winner of the day. Brice Blanc was in to ride Relaxed Gesture, but the day was worthwhile as he picked up two winners elsewhere on the card, including 40-1 Elusive Image in the 4th.
- Wild Desert's owner Dan Borislow was asked by the Buffalo News if he was planning to bet a lot on his horse in today's Prince of Wales Stakes.
Borislow, who retired five years ago at age 38 on the proceeds of the sale of his telecommunications company, said he planned to bet a lot "relative to what other people bet" but not so much according to his usual standards.(via Albany Law School Racing and Wagering Page)
However, he added, "If I could get even money, I'd go hog wild."
- Please feel free to email me with questions, comments, suggestions, or whatever.