- NYRA CEO Charles Hayward, talking about the status of the Aqueduct racino construction, told a forum in Saratoga: 'We've got the ball I think on the 1 yard line.' [Saratogian] Let’s hope the state isn’t planning another goal line stand.
J. Patrick Barrett, the chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee on the Future of Racing, dismissed speculation that politics will push back the issuance of the RFP's (requests for proposals) from interested bidders for the franchise until a new governor is elected in November. "I can't give you an exact timetable, but it's not going to be in the November or December timeframe." [Bloodhorse] Bidders who would like to see the state legislature make the laws more accommodative to running the franchise profitably are unlikely to get their wish anytime soon, as the current session expires on June 22. With Gov Pataki, suddenly a fiscal conservative as he weighs his presidential prospects, and the legislature fighting over the budget, and even over whether his vetoes can be constitutionally overridden, it seems unimaginable to think that they’ll get to horse racing by then.
(I know that my loyal reader Green Mtn Punter is patiently waiting for me to look into Empire Racing Associates, the horseman’s group interested in the franchise, so I’ll have to do that soon.)
- It’s expected that Keeneland will approve the installation of Polytrack today, and to Wayne Lukas, whose Dance Daily broke down and was euthanized there last week, it can’t come soon enough. "Keeneland has to do something…..They can't stay status quo." [Louisville Courier-Journal]
- James Scully of Brisnet asks of Sinister Minister: How many more comparisons to War Emblem will we hear over the next three weeks? But he also points out these relevant facts:
War Emblem, who displayed dismal form before emerging as a top three-year-old with a smashing 6 1/4-length win in the 2002 Illinois Derby (G2), wasn't aided by the biased Keeneland track in his final prep and set uncontested Kentucky Derby fractions in :23 1/5 and :47 en route to victory.I have no idea who’s going to win the Derby, but I think it’s as safe a bet as was Scott McLellan’s resignation that they ain’t going no 47 seconds to the half mile, nor the 1:11.75 that War Emblem got to three-quarters.
- Patrons at Delaware Park will find some new features when the track reopens for racing, particularly a giant new indoor video screen. Bernard Daney, chairman of the Delaware Thoroughbred Racing Commission, said that it will be a big hit.
"They're going to be wide-eyed and they're going to love to sit there and watch the races…..It's like high-density TVs people have at home." [Delaware Online]Sounds like he learned his lessons from Frank Stronach. Delaware is a pretty track, or at least it was around 25 years ago when I was last there, and conducts racing during the spring and summer months, but Daney apparently wants his patrons to sit inside.
Daney….. said the renovations make Delaware Park the "preeminent" horse racing venue in the nation.Well, perhaps they present competitive racing in a picturesque setting that people can sit and watch live. Egads, the horrors!
"The other race tracks," he added, "I don't know how they get away with it."