- It didn’t take a genius to figure out that NYRA’s Aqueduct casino isn’t going to be ready until well into 2007, nor that the construction costs would rise beyond what was originally projected. It’s been long known that the project would take 12 months to complete, and construction still hasn’t yet started. The estimated cost of the project, envisioned in 2003 as costing $80 million to $100 million, has now grown from a recent estimate of $170 million and is now at $181.5 million with the potential of reaching $190 million. [Albany Times-Union]
But now the oversight board that is supervising the loans to NYRA that are supposed to get them through until the VLT’s are in action are getting a bit nervous, as if this is something they didn’t expect! When they approved the $30 million in loans in December that were intended to get the association through to the end of this year, did they really think that the racino would be ready at that time considering that construction wasn’t even close to being started? What the hell were they thinking? The state Lotttery didn’t even issue a license to NYRA until last week, and whatsmore, a spokesperson for casino operator MGM said that final approvals from the state attorney general's and comptroller's offices are needed before work can begin, which could take another six weeks. [Saratogian]
So now, the oversight board says it’s concerned about NYRA’s ability to repay the loans on time; chairwoman Carole Stone said 'We need to look at this issue.” But they really need to look at themselves, and the delays caused by the state bureaucracy. NYRA has no control over the scheduling and costs, and perhaps it’s the oversight board that could use some oversight here for granting the loan with conditions they should have known were impossible to meet.
- Brad Free in the Form (sub. only) has an interesting take on Baffert’s real reason for sending Bob and John to the Wood rather than going in the Santa Anita Derby.
It's not likely because of pace. There is plenty of that. Is it because Bob and John is overrated and has no shot to beat Brother Derek? More likely, Bob and John's stablemate Point Determined needs to finish at least second in a rich race to be guaranteed a berth in the Kentucky Derby.In the same column, Free also queries: Is there a sane handicapper anywhere who believes that Godolphin-owned UAE Derby winner Discreet Cat actually has a chance to win the Kentucky Derby in his fourth career start?
Do I think he has a chance to win it? Absolutely. I may change my mind after the next three week’s worth of preps, and I’m not saying I consider it likely. But this horse has been dominant in all three of his starts, and there are no apparent superstars here. Other horses with similar potential, such as Strong Contender or Showing Up, would be coming in with only three prior races as well. While it would be quite an accomplishment and as much as I respect Brad Free, I think it would be foolish to completely discount Discreet Cat at this point. Do you?