- Hollywood Park is set to install their synthetic racing surface, but, surprise, it’s not Polytrack. It’s a similar-sounding material known as Cushion Track, and according to the website of UK-based manufacturer Equestrian Surfaces, it has “minimal kickback.” Well, we’ve heard that before about Polytrack, and it couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, people are getting concerned about possible long-term effects from horses and jockeys breathing it in. The cost of installing Cushion Track will be in the neighborhood of $8 million. [Bloodhorse]
- You’d think that Mike Hushion would be thrilled about the second place finish of his filly Nothing But Fun in the Phipps last weekend, especially since it was just her second start of the year following the disaster in the Distaff last fall. But he sounds pretty disappointed, actually,
"I guess I should be happy with her, but I felt so good going in…. "Normally with a second in a Grade 1, you're very satisfied. The way she was training going into the race, it was a bit of a letdown." [Daily Racing Form]- I posted about Woodbine’s new policy for their stakes races the other day, and Bob Baffert, the trainer of Wanna Runner, isn’t happy that his colt had to be there a full five days before Sunday's Queen's Plate. In fact, he says he’s not coming to see the race.
"It sort of messes things up….We were all going to go up and take a few days off and enjoy it, but I just can't get away [for five days]. I had to send the horse early and you have to send other people. It's sort of a pain. . . . They came up with this rule at the last minute, so I had to change my plans around. . . . [The Woodbine rule] caught us a little off-guard. . . . They could have taken blood here." [Toronto Globe and Mail]Of course, that doesn’t at all explain why he can’t attend the race. Sounds like he’s having a little hissy fit, but he ain’t going to get any compassion from Woodbine president David Wilmot: "I don't have much sympathy at all for people complaining about inconvenience when the integrity of the business is at stake." Especially not in this case, as Baffert’s horse, a second stringer amongst U.S. three-year olds, and with all due respect to the horses who will face him, won’t find a better opportunity to pick up a huge payday, even if the million bucks is in Canadian currency.
And if Wilmot seemed a bit testy, perhaps it’s because he has other things to worry about. Mutuel clerks at his track have gone on strike, and TBA member Jen Morrison has the details on her Thorough-Blog (as well as in the Toronto Star).
- Empire Racing Associates’ Jeff Perlee doesn’t buy NYRA’s argument that the fact that they pay property taxes means that they own the land that their three tracks stand on. 'There are literally thousands of transactions in New York City where the person who holds the lease pays the taxes…'NYRA would have to reinvent the business notion of commercial real estate.' But on the other hand:
NYRA Senior Vice President Bill Nader said that the firm took out a loan from private lenders to purchase the racetracks in the 1950s and that it has possession of the deeds.You just know that ultimately, the fate of the New York franchise is going to come down to a court decision on this very issue; stay tuned.
'I don't know that that other argument applies,' he said. [Saratogian]