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Thursday, September 08, 2005

If It Ain't Broke...

- Jerry Bailey will replace Edgar Prado on Saint Liam in Saturday’s Woodward, and trainer Richard Dutrow made it known that it wasn’t his decision. "The owner decided to switch jockeys and he wanted Jerry Bailey to ride him, which is the owner's choice.”

Dutrow's thinking is, if it's not broken, it doesn't need fixing. Prado rode Saint Liam in his last nine starts, including victories this year in the Donn and Stephen Foster handicaps.

"I'm pleased with the way Edgar rides the horse," Dutrow said. "He gets along really well with him. I do believe that Saint Liam's last two races are possibly the best races we've seen him run. I mean, he's done everything right in those races.

"But, Mr. Warren just felt differently about it and wanted to get Jerry, and Jerry was open, so he just went ahead and made the move. I still feel confident Jerry's going to get along with him just as well as Edgar. I'm just going to play my part and try to ensure the horse gets there the best way he can." [Houston Chronicle]
- One thing that most definitely is broken is racing in Maryland. Reaction to Magna’s plans to scale back racing dates there is coming in from the horsepeople, and the reaction is predictable.
Assistant trainer Nick Capuano, a cousin of Dale Capuano, had no trouble voicing a clear opinion.

"It stinks!" he said. "You lose days, and that's money out of our pockets. They say the purses will be bigger, but then you have to spend the extra money because you have to ship elsewhere to race. It defeats the purpose.

"And to cut the days in half, that means the other six months you're on the road -- Charles Town, Delaware, New York, New Jersey -- and [the Maryland tracks] cry now when you ship. They want their cake and to eat it, too."
Trainer Beverly Heckrotte said the new proposal "will kill" Maryland breeding, and Tom Bowman, former president of the Maryland Horse Breeders Association , didn't disagree.
"We've lost about ... 50 percent of the horse population over the last 10 [years]," he said. "Only a handful of breeding farms are left, and they're not as active bringing in stallions. I can't leave because my farm is here, but the people who keep their horses here are leaving. [Baltimore Sun]
Magna’s request must be accepted by the Maryland Racing Commission, and their approval is not ensured.
"I had a suspicion Magna wanted commission approval to cut back on some days of racing, but I didn't expect anything of this magnitude," commission chairman Tom McDonough said. "It's obviously going to have an enormous impact on horsemen. I'm hoping there is movement and we can get everybody to the table. The human toll is something you have to take into consideration."

"If the proposal I see is correct, I won't support the cut in live days," said commission member Terry Saxon, who declined to meet with Magna representatives. "I'm not sympathetic about closing down Bowie or losing live racing days." [Washington Post]
Andy Beyer writes that given the legislature’s failure to approve slots, a shorter season with higher purses may be the right way to go, citing the success of the short seasons at Keeneland in slot-less Kentucky. But he points out the folly of planning a mostly winter schedule at Laurel, where Magna just opened an expensive new turf course (What a waste!), and says that Maryland horsemen should be more concerned about Magna’s plan to close the Laurel barn area during the down time.
Trainers might not be able to obtain stall space at other tracks in the region, because there is already intense demand for stabling accommodations at Delaware Park and Charles Town. Instead of fighting the new racing schedule, horsemen should fight to keep the stable area at Laurel open year-round, so that they can use Maryland as a base for shipping to other tracks in the area. [Wasington Post]
- Imperialism is headed for the Jockey Club Gold Cup on October 1. [Bloodhorse]

- Bay Meadows has written a new 3 and up stakes sprint for October 1, specifically in the hopes of luring Lost in the Fog to prep for the Breeders Cup there. That’s the day of the Vosburgh at Belmont, sure to be a much much tougher spot. "I’m very happy this race has come about," said [Greg] Gilchrist. "It definitely would fit our schedule well. I’d have to say we’re very interested." [Thoroughbred Times]


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