- Still up in Saratoga, and continuing our weekend journey, so the posting will be light for the next couple of days. We will be back in town for the Met Mile on Monday though. And so will Wilko. He's back from England and is set to go in the big holiday feature. He’s still winless since his Juvenile win back in 2004, but gained new respect with his lights-out run for third in the Dubai World Cup. His trainer Jeremy Noseda has more realistic prospects in mind, at least distance-wise.
"The fact is in our mind we don't feel that he maybe truly gets a mile and a quarter.....Most probably the Stephen Foster at a mile and an eighth is a spot-on trip, yet the Met Mile to me - looking from England - is one of the standout races on the American calendar." [Daily Racing Form]With Pletcher’s imposing Bandini in the field, as well as Sun King and Sprint winner Silver Train, Noseda feels that his horse should be “6-1 or 7-1,” but adds: “There's no horse in there that I can sit here and say that will definitely beat me.”
- Discreet Cat started his training for the July 4 Dwyer with a three furlong work in 39.69 seconds.
- Matt Hegarty reports that Empire Racing Associates, the horsemen-backed group that hopes to compete for the NY racing franchise, has raised $1.5 million, half of what they hope to raise in order to be an effective lobbying voice in Albany, where they hope to effect a change in the state’s antiquated racing laws. Filling the void left by the departure of Friends of New York Racing, who wrapped up their operations earlier this year, the group promises to be a crucial presence on behalf of racing interests. Of course, raising the vast sums of money necessary to actually bid for the franchise is a different story, and one that will require business partners who hopefully have the sport, and not slot machines, as the main priority.
[CEO Jeff] Perlee said that a number of companies and individuals have contacted Empire about striking a partnership with the group to make the bid. He declined to identify any of the interested parties. [Daily Racing Form]- Save the date, August 12. That’s the date of the Sword Dancer Invitational at Saratoga. An interested party informs the Highland Cat partners: “Highland cat's [fatigue] curve from this race says he can go 1 1/2 miles on firm turf in 2:27 1/5th.” Better Talk Now run the race in 2:28 2/5 last year. “I can dream, can't I ----“
Yes, you can. Hope does spring eternal after all. But perhaps we should get him a win first...
- Horsemen and management have settled their differences at Yonkers Raceway, and the track will reopen for racing in September; which is when management was planning to anyway when the horsemen sued. The settlement ensures 77 of 154 missed dates would be made up in the first year of the five-year agreement. [Journal News]