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Friday, April 28, 2006

News and Notes - Apr 28

- Eric Ledford’s attorney is preparing to bring his client’s case to a court of law after his appeal to the NJ Racing Commission was denied.

"My biggest problem," said [Howard] Taylor, "are the race-fixing charges. Race-fixing to the general public and to me is drivers colluding to determine the outcome by some drivers deliberately not trying to win. In Eric's case (which was about the possible use of the drug Aranesp, which was found at Ledford's stable), this is not race-fixing in any way.” [NY Daily News]
I don’t think I have to elaborate on how idiotic that comment is. Call it race-fixing or whatever, pumping horses will prohibited medications to enhance their performance is cheating, period. Taylor should stick to the fact that the evidence in the case is purely circumstantial, and that there is nothing that directly ties Ledford to the drugs found at his father’s stable. (Nothing but repeated, inexplicable form reversals, that is.) Taylor is a harness horse owner, and said that the fact that the charges have been so widely publicized is “what really kills the sport." Then he adds:
"People have been asking me if Eric is going to go to jail. And I say to them: 'Jail? I think that he'll be back driving in two weeks.'"
I’d think that anyone who really cared about the sport would be aghast to see Ledford back on the track before we know for sure that it's all a big misunderstanding and that he wasn’t involved. The sight of somebody under such a cloud of suspicion, as circumstantial as the evidence may be at this point, participating in an event that the public wagers on is what really kills the sport.

- First Samurai has been diagnosed with broken ribs, apparently suffered when he hit the starting gate in the Blue Grass.

- Jay Cronley of ESPN.com. on the perfect betting race:
Lots of handicappers love big fields, the point being, the more horses in the race, the larger the payoffs are apt to be. But my idea of the perfect horse race is a five-horse field at Blue Ribbon Downs where the odds-on chalk can't win and two others could use a long rest.
- Bruce Gumer and Ronald Michelson pleaded guilty to charges of illegally scalping four tickets for the Derby; of that, there’s no question. But they claim that they had no intention whatsoever of doing anything illegal with the other 419 tickets that were confiscated by police, and they are suing to get them back. "He was going to dispose of these tickets in a lawful way," Gumer's attorney, Scott C. Cox, said after a court hearing Thursday. [Courier-Journal] I guess they were going to perform a public service by selling them at face value; Gumer says that they were purchased "for customers" of his jewelry store. Of course, they could have gone to Indiana, where ticket scalping is perfectly legal. A district judge will decide today whether they’ll have the chance to do so.

11 Comments:

Walter said...

...okay, today's the big Sanibel Storm race...i've been waiting on this 2yo filly for a few weeks...it came to my attention that she was the most impressive winner of the Aiken Trials back in March, which are two-furlong sprints, i guess pretty similar to the Santa Anita races...she won her trail by open lengths, and went signifigantly faster than the winner other trial (or trials, i'm not exactly sure how many there were)...she also came reasonably close to the Aiken track record, and i believe that record had stood for over twenty years...no doubt this is one fast filly, and drawn inside @ Keeneland going 4 1/2 furlongs, she should prove tough to beat...i was pleasantly surprised by her morning-line of 7/2, though it probably has a lot to do with the fact that Asmussen and Pletcher each have a horse entered here...no idea what she's up against there, i have zero info on those fillies...obviously Asmussen has been pretty close to unstoppable in the baby races though...incidentally, Byron King (who covers the Keeneland circuit for DRF, and who had mentioned the Sanibel Storm/Aiken thing in a article a few weeks back) has Sanibel Storm listed in bold type as his "best bet"...he probably knows more about her than i do, and i suppose there's some chance he's familiar with the Asumussen/Pletcher horses as well...i consider this a good sign...further, i just checked the charts for races 1-3, and speed appears to be doing well (no surprise there)...Go Sanibel Storm!!!...

alan said...

5-2 with 9 MTP...

Anonymous said...

Wow-what bad luck- Ihad the 5 both on top of and under the 2 for a $5.00 exacta. Just my luck at keenland-hope the jock and horse are ok-Byanose

Walter said...

...i guess you guys saw what happened...un-freaking-believable...it looked like she shied away from the whip...about 3 seconds before she jumped the rail, i thought i saw her take a bad step...upon watching the replay, it looked like the "bad step" was actually her shying from the first crack of the whip, though obviously it was pretty subtle compared to the second incident...i'm not sure she was gonna hang on anyway, it looked like she was starting to blow it right before she jumped the rail...hard to say...for those who didn't see the rcae, she went off @ 5/2, popped the gate and immediately went clear by 2 lengths...she had a healthy lead turning for home and looked like an easy winner...she remained clear until deep stretch, then bolted inward and tried to jump the rail, sending the jockey flying over the rail...looked like he took quite a spill...Sanibel Storm still had about a length on the field at the time of the incident...she regained her feet and continued onward past the wire, afdter being passed by just about everyone...the only positive i can take from this is that she'll have one of those blank running lines when she turns up @ Churchill, assuming she's none the worse for wear...but again, it looked like there might have been a stamina issue...what a tough foulking beat...UGH...

alan said...

The race chart says:

"SANIBEL STORM sprinted to the fore near the inside early, was clear into the stretch, then, while tiring leaving the sixteenth pole, changed to her left lead, swerved into the inner railing and unseated her rider."

The chart caller seems to think she was going to blow it anyway. Hopes everyone, including Walter and Byanose, is OK.

Walter said...

...the chart caller seems to be of the impression that she ducked inward because she was tired...that's 100% wrong in my opinion...while she certainly may have been tired, i don't think there's any question it was a reaction to the whip...it looked plain as day to me, i knew it before i even watched the replay...the replay only confirmed it...as i noted previously however, her initial "bad step" also appeared to be a reaction to the whip, at lesat that's the impression i got on the replay...now, after think about it some more, it seems that where all her trouble began, with that firsrt whip...she had things WELL in control up until that point...i'm starting to think there wasn't a stamina issue at all, just that the whip threw her totally off-kilter...again, it's very hard to say...but i'll stand by my view that the rail incident was 100% a whip issue...i'm inclined to give her another chance going 5 or 5 1/2 @ Churchill, and i'll lay even-money that she's never touched by the whip in her next race, regardless of how well or poorly she runs...

davidrex said...

Walter-You seem like a very upbeat individual.I always admire people like yourself that can look death in the eye and shrug it off.
Ever see the movie The Cooler? Maybe you should keep an eye out for that guy...what with the way your luck is rite now.That and runaway trolley cars.Good Luck kid...good times are rite around the corner.

Walter said...

...i've been doing extremely well on 2yo races, but i can't remember the last time i picked a non-juvenile winner...i've just been getting crushed...the recently concluded Santa Anita meet was by far my worst ever...and the Hollywood meet before that was terrible as well...i had an exceptional Del Mar meet, but that was a LONG time ago...hopefully, with the new Hollywood meet being chock-full of 2yo races, i can get back on my feet...in fact, i'm going to restrict myself to 2yo's from now on...i just can't beat the other races, at least not with any kind of consistency...

...btw, i did see The Cooler...thanks for cheering me up... 8^P

Anonymous said...

Walter is 100% right. I called it in my mind before she went over the rail. She had moved a couple of paths towards the rail with Julien stroking her right handed, I had said in mind, stop hitting her right handed and hit her left handed. Too bad for horse on rider he didnt. Actually its kind of ironic that it happened to J L. He is not an abuser of the whip at all. He really wasnt blasting her when she drifted and finally swerved. If Ramon Dominguez had been on her she would have been over the rail at the 8th pole, the guy is brutal with the stick. Some horses really shy from it. I drove harness horses for a lot of years, and I had one horse, Trailway Hanover that I raced in the 80's. I claimed him at Liberty Bell in Philly for 4000. A perfectly mannered horse on the track and around the barn but he was a son of Steady Star, they were known to sulk like their daddy when something provoked them. This horse was so whip shy in a race that if you drew the lines up over his back like you were getting ready to hit him he would swerve hard to the left. He knew you would have to straighten him up and couldnt hit him if he was darting like that. The first time I raced him he nearly took down the horse inside of me when I got ready to set him down in the stretch. Not quite the same thing that happened yesterday but the principle is the same. Had I been on the rail and we raced with hubrails back then, I would have been in the centerfield. I got it worked out but they are funny creatures. Nick

Walter said...

...just following up on this subject, two other horses who didn't like the whip were Sharp Cat and Serena's Song...i remember one when Nakatani was aboard Sharp Cat and she was all alone in the stretch heading to an easy win, Nakatani hit her righthanded and she just bolted, much like the incident yesterday...Nakatani damn near fell off...i'm not sure if she shied from the whip, or if she was just plain startled...i do remember Nakatani saying afterward that he wouldn't use the whip on her again...as for Serena's Song (gotta be one of the top 2 or 3 fillies i've ever seen), i saw virtually every race of her career, and i don't think i EVER saw her touched by the whip (though i didn't really notice it until she had run several times)...they simply wouldn't hit her, case closed...i don't remember any type of incident, but i figure there must have been one (or more) during training hours, because they made it a point not to whip her...even when she was in tooth-and-nail stretch duel, they simply hand-rode her...and she obviously responded to the hand-ride, considering she always seemed to come out on top...she's probably the #1 example that you don't have to whip a horse to get them to run well...personally, i don't think a whip does anything more than get a horse's attention...i don't think it makes them run any faster...in my view, i think horseracing could do without the whip entirely...it might help a little in certain cases, but whatever help it provides is far out-weighed by the cruelty factor...it just isn't necessary in most cases...

Anonymous said...

We'll see how Miss Norman responds to "no Whipping" in the oaks Friday!! Byanose