- All two year olds at Churchill Saturday, including graded stakes for each sex. French Park looks like an impressive filly. She won her maiden debut by 12 lengths at 12-1, and took the G3 Pocahantas pretty easily by 1 ¾ as the 2-1 favorite. She’s by first year sire Ecton Park (Forty Niner), and she’s his first graded winner, second stakes winner overall.
The G3 Iroquois for the boys saw 3-2 favorite Flanders Field caught extremely wide on the turn under Bailey after a slow start in a 13 horse field. It was Catcominatcha just getting up over Pletcher’s High Cotton, who bounced back with a good performance after disappointing in the Breeders Futurity at Keeneland. The common wisdom seems to be that you can virtually discard any race over the dirt track there during the recently completed fall meeting, due to how slow and tiring it was. The winner was second in that Keeneland race, but was let off at 8-1 in this one. He’s by Tale of the Cat, a Storm Cat son sire whose stud fee has been reduced from $65,000 to $50,000 for 2006.
In the 11th, a maiden affair, I took a look at Captain Hays, the Thunder Gulch-Lakeway colt that reader Walter mentioned in the comments section. This grandly bred colt was 5-1 in the morning line for Frank Brothers, hitting at 23% with first timers; but Captain Hays was dead on the board at 12-1, and went off just about that. That generally tells me all I need to know. No one other than 4-5 favorite Gene Pool really got bet, and I didn’t like him. But though I settled on Lukas’ McKenzie Pass from the 15 post at 6-1, it was a longer shot, 18-1 Music From Heaven (Songandaprayer); Captain Hays was 5th.
- A Pennsylvania State Senator is calling for Governor Ed Rendell to remove the three members of the state’s Harness Racing Commission after they voted to reject both parties’ applications for the final license for a track.
"This is an absolute slap in the face to western Pennsylvania. Philadelphia and eastern Pennsylvania should not get a free pass to an economic boom while some members of the Harness Racing Commission destroy this economic development opportunity, thousands of jobs and a better future of our area," [Rep. Mike] Veon said. [Beaver County Times]Perhaps the Senator should wait to hear the explanation for the denials, which are supposed to be released next week. However it is the second time in recent months that the commission has come under fire. In late September, they announced that Brian Sears, who is the country’s leading harness racing driver, had failed a random drug test and that he would be suspended for six months. “..we conducted random testing and that's when the preliminary positive was detected. Then it was confirmed." [NY Daily News] A week later, the suspension was rescinded with the explanation, "The split lab [the laboratory that handled the split sample] did not use the same protocol as the primary lab and I didn't feel it was appropriate. I found out afterwards. I wanted to be fair." [Harness Link] This murky affair led Albany Law School Racing and Wagering Page proprietor Bennett Liebman to crack of the license rejections: "Maybe one of [the] applicants should have hired Brian Sears."
And they’re off and.......well, whatever it is one does at a slots parlor, as gaming comes to the state of Maine. Hollywood Slots opened Friday morning in Bangor to an overflow flow crowd lined up around the block, and they already were clamoring for more.
The main complaint from people coming out of the parlor was that it wasn't enough. Some wanted to see a larger variety of slot machines like casinos in Connecticut. Others said the parlor needs table games like blackjack and roulette. They are currently illegal in Maine.Fortunately, my world doesn’t include anywhere where I can go piss my money away in slot machines during my lunch hour.
"I think it is about time Maine crawled out of the 18th century and got with the rest of the world," said Mel Blaisdell of Cornville, who stopped at Hollywood Slots on his lunch break. [Portland Press Herald]