- It turns out that our trainer Billy Turner never was going to race Highland Cat on the turf, and only intended to enter him last Saturday in anticipation of the race coming off the grass. His thinking was that that would have left a weak field that HC could take advantage of. It’s so heartening to hear that he has such confidence in the colt now. He worked a half in 49.63 this morning, and we’re now hearing that he’ll be entered in a one mile maiden special dirt race on Cigar Mile this Saturday. I find that a little odd too, considering that we were told that the horse could improve when racing around two turns.
[UPDATE] Two turns it is. He'll be entered in a mile and 70 yds race on the inner track on Friday, Dec 2; it's a 60K maiden claimer. Report from the track says:
Bill likes the way he is going now, and says that HC is feeling real good. Don't take the fact that Bill is putting him in for a tag to mean that he has given up on him. That's far from the case. He wants to see HC run a big race in this spot and then race him this winter when the comp gets a little easier.- Private Vow will head Saturday’s Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes, a race he probably would not have run in had his left rein not broke in the Breeders Cup Juvenile. He worked a half in :46.60 on Tuesday, "more than we expected" according to Steve Asmussen. [Lexington Herald-Reader]
- NYRA intends to forge ahead with its art sale next week despite the opposition of the Racing and Wagering Board, even in the face of threatened legal action.
NYRA officials have insisted that they never needed state permission before to sell things like tractors or machinery, and that it doesn't need the state's authority to sell paintings given to and purchased by NYRA over the years. [Bloodhorse]NYRA VP Bill Nader says that the $2 million they expect to raise from the sale would only get them through the end of the year, and wonders what exactly the state wants them to do at this point.
'There aren't a lot of options available to us other than shutting down and putting a lot of people out of work. There aren't a lot of plays in the playbook.'Incredible that the possibility of a shutdown of racing in New York is now being discussed so matter-of-factly. The state has even expressed its opposition to NYRA consulting with a bankruptcy lawyer. As Michael Veitch of the Saratogian writes, with thousands of people worried sick about their jobs and the future of the racing game, the politicians are having fun kicking around the football known as NYRA. They had best keep their eye on the game clock. It seems that we’re inside the two minute warning, and who will they blame when they see the cash flow come to a grinding halt?
'We're still hoping we can work something out with the state, some kind of package that would get us through this period,' Nader said. 'Right now it isn't pretty, but if we can hang in there, it will be.' [Saratogian]
- The president apparently does not like our favorite animals.
President Bush may love Texas, and his ranch, as he reminded Mongolians when he compared their land to his beloved state. But his enthusiasm does not extend to another Mongolian passion - horses.This is separate from the agreement the White House secured with the Defense Department that on matters of Iraq, Secretary Rumsfeld would not give Mr. Bush the truth.
When Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld was here a month ago, the Mongolians presented him with their highest honor: a beautiful gelding that he named Montana. So in a delicate act of diplomacy, the White House secured an agreement that President Enkhbayar Nambar would not give Mr. Bush a horse. [New York Times]