- The ownership group International Equine Acquisitions and Holdings almost pulled off a Jay Trotter at Belmont on Thursday. With four starters for the day, they had three winners, two of those for Richard Dutrow, and the 4th was nailed on the wire.
- With all the hand-wringing in Maryland and other neighboring states over the coming of slots to Pennsylvania, the process is still stuck in the starting gate. The state’s Gaming Control Board has still not reached a solution to the contentious issue of granting licenses to slot machine distributors; and by law, licenses cannot be granted to the racetracks there until 90 days after that process is fully completed.
The continued impasse could push the approval of licenses for the first group of slot venues into late spring, and perhaps into June, gaming board chairman Thomas A. Decker said.In Florida, there will indeed be a special session of the legislature in December or January. It's necessary to deal with Governor Bush’s Medicaid initiative that was approved by the federal government, but the question of Broward County’s stalled slot machines will take up much of the agenda. Problem is that there is now increasing talk of a referendum to repeal the vote that allowed the machines, and just imagine how disruptive that would be to the grandiose plans of pari-mutuels like Pompano Park harness and Hollywood greyhound. Gulfstream’s reconstruction is on regardless, and Magna has upped the budget for the process, big surprise, and secured a loan to cover the added costs.
Initially, the board had hoped to hand out those licenses, which would be conditional and go to seven horse tracks, by December. [Philadelphia Inquirer]
- Jerry Bailey has chosen First Samurai over Private Vow for the Juvenile after being “torn” over the decision, and given his reputation as a keen judge of equine talent, one might take that into strong consideration when handicapping the race. But according to the Whittier Daily News, Bailey’s longtime friendship with First Samurai's trainer, Frank Brothers, was the deciding factor. It was Brothers who gave Bailey the mount on his first Triple Crown race winner, Hansel, in 1991.