- Got a look at Private Vow’s win in the Kentucky Jockey Club on Saturday, in which he confirmed his status as one of the top two year-olds, and made one wonder how he might have fared in the Juvenile had his rein not broken. Shaun Bridgmohan was practically upright in the saddle trying to keep the colt under control around the first turn, and kept him under stout restraint as he stalked the slow pace (:48.4 to the half, as opposed to :47.1 for the girls in the Golden Rod) while well wide. He got to the top effortlessly and was ridden home to a 2 1/4 length win in his first test around two turns. Watching the race (thanks to the excellent Thoroughbred Daily News), one knew what Bridgmohan was saying when he commented "All I was was a passenger trying to keep him out of trouble.” [Louisville Courier-Journal] It would be nice to see Bridgmohan get a shot to stick with the colt should he make the classics next spring. So Private Vow and Bluegrass Cat have now both won around two turns, while Derby hopefuls such as Stevie Wonderboy, First Samurai, and Henny Hughes will have to wait until next year to pass that test.
Private Vow is the only stakes winner thus far amongst 12 winners for his sire Broken Vow (Unbridled), out of 38 starters and 92 foals in this crop. Broken Vow was unbeaten in four tries at 3, only one of them (the Sir Barton) being a stakes race. He blossomed at four, taking the Iselin and Ben Ali, and placing or showing in four other graded stakes, all of them at a distance.
- Not much rest for Japan Cup winner Alkaased, who is being wheeled right back on two weeks rest for the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Vase. What are the chances of seeing a Grade 1 winner not trained by Richard Dutrow try that here these days?
- More turmoil in the world of expanded gambling in the state of Pennsylvania. Last September, Frank Fiel, the executive director of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, resigned after press reports that he lied about his academic record. Friel had testified under oath that he had bachelor and masters degrees; it was later discovered that while he had attended two colleges, he had received a degree from neither. In an angry and tearful rebuff to the press, Governor Ed Rendell said, "I hope you understand what you did.” [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]
Now, Friel’s replacement, Anne L. Neeb, is facing a far more serious and possible criminal charge stemming from her time as the Executive Director of Louisiana’s Gaming Control Board. That state’s State Inspector General accuses her of collecting pay for hours she did not work, and of falsifying attendance records in an attempt to validate her pay.
Louisiana State Inspector General Sharon B. Robinson alleges in her report that Neeb missed work for 208.5 hours but was paid for the time. Neeb later submitted leave adjustments for 152 hours of the missed time.A state police commander said that Neeb may have been collecting paychecks from two states.
"She came back later, after we started asking questions, and submitted a leave slip," Robinson said. "Those issues suggest potential payroll fraud, but we can't make that determination." [Philly Inquirer]
[Col. Henry] Whitehorn also said it appears that Neeb was absent the entire last month that she collected a salary and might have been paid both by Louisiana and the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. The Pennsylvania board hired Neeb July 7, two months before her resignation from the LGCB, as executive director, contingent on the results of a background check.Neeb denied the charges categorically, claiming that she was owed leave time under the Family Medical Leave Act; and she also invoked a defense that we’re all-too-familiar with from Washington: Neeb also said she could not account for all her time because she was engaged in confidential meetings that required she not disclose the participants.
Whitehorn recommended that the district attorney's office in Baton Rouge investigate the issues for possible criminal acts. [Shreveport Times]
The Louisiana report also accuses the current head of that state’s Gaming Control Board of not working the hours required of him for his pay. Charles Gaudin is supposed to be in Baton Rouge four days a week.
Investigators concluded that Gaudin worked in Baton Rouge an average of two days a week for a 3-month period ending July 3.- Highland Cat faces six others in the second at Aqueduct on Friday.
They also found that Gaudin is being paid more money than allowed by law and that the gambling board's attorney and former executive director received full-time pay despite working fewer than 40 hours a week.
In a letter, Gaudin claims the investigation stemmed from an anonymous whistle-blower with "ulterior motives." He doesn't outline what those motives are. [2theadvocate.com (Baton Rouge)]
- From time to time, we see a high-priced yearling or two-year old succeeding on the racetrack, but I imagine there are far more that we never hear from again, especially colts. Temescal Ridge brought $875,000 at the two-year old in training sale at Keeneland in 2003, and was unplaced in two starts on the track. But he's a half-brother to Belong to Me, so he'll get a shot at stud in California for $1500 a pop. Gonna take a lot of pops to break even on this one.