- High profile jockeys like John Velazquez receive a lot of press when they are injured, but not so the riders who ply their trade at smaller tracks. Guy Smith, the second leading rider at Evangeline, suffered a broken neck in a spill there on April 22. According to a Smith family spokesperson, neurosurgeons couldn't believe he wasn't instantly paralyzed in the accident. [Bloodhorse]
I’ve reported before on serious jockey injuries such as ones last July to Omar Camejo at the Finger Lakes, and Casey Lambert at Lone Star; and I know I haven’t always followed up on such reports. Not that I don’t want to, but these are not the kind of things you see on the home pages of the Form or Bloodhorse. However, in these cases, I’m happy to report that both Camejo and Lambert have recovered and returned to the saddle earlier this month.
However, my Googling turns up nothing on Akili Grey, also injured critically last July. And a rider like Shannon Campbell, who was paralyzed from the waist down in a spill that same ill-fated month, unfortunately becomes forgotten too. Hopefully, some of the money being raised by the TRA is going to help her; Charles Town’s insurance policy was only $100,000 at the time. Anyone who has information on these two riders is encouraged to let us know.
- The corks were popping at the Fair Grounds the other day. The Times Picayune reported that they drank champagne Tuesday morning in the Fair Grounds paddock. Racing will return this fall, and based on the “thriving” off-track betting and poker business going on, Fair Grounds president Randy Soth said he expects purses next season to exceed $300,000 per day. The Jazz & Heritage Festival will start at the track this weekend, and it’s hoped that it will also go to lift the spirits of the residents of the devastated city.
None of this, however, will help the thousands of evacuees in cities like Houston and Memphis who have suddenly received vague notices from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) that their housing vouchers will soon expire, months before the end of the one year period that they were led to believe they'd be good for. A FEMA spokesperson said that they promised only to reimburse for "up to 12 months" of housing. [Chicago Tribune] Nice. FEMA’s response to the Katrina disaster has been such a disaster in itself that a Senate panel has recommended that it be disbanded and replaced. But knowing how government works, they’ll probably just add another layer of bureaucracy and create another agency, the FFMA (Federal FEMA Management Agency), which can provide housing vouchers for "up to 12 months" to all the FEMA employees who lose their jobs.
- Here’s some news that I know will make all fans of the sport happy – Seaside Retreat is in the Derby after a five furlong work in 59.54 seconds. Patrick Husbands flew in from Canada for the ride. Trainer Mark Casse told the Toronto Sun, "I've got Derby fever." Oh, really?
"He didn't like [Keeneland], some horses don't….Patrick said he was tired out in the post parade."This is bad news for the connections of Sunriver and Flashy Bull, who have either suddenly flip-flopped positions in the graded earnings according to the latest list on the Downey Profile, or I've been giving you bad information by writing that Sunriver was #21, so sorry about that. Sloppy blogging, as someone noted here recently (though incorrectly in that particular case). I’ll get better now that the Rangers are (almost) eliminated and I can pay better attention. One more possible defection could be Mister Triester (#20), who is supposed to go in the Derby Trial this weekend.