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Thursday, July 27, 2006

News and Notes - July 27

- Latest Saratoga news up on Racing Saratoga.

- Bob Baffert has yet to decide whether he will ship Point Determined to Monmouth for next weekend’s Haskell. "I haven't figured out exactly what I'm going to do yet....I will make a decision tomorrow."

One thing is certain: If Baffert makes the trip, his horse will be worth a bet. Baffert has had six Haskell runners over the past nine years, posting three wins (Point Given, War Emblem in '02 and Roman Ruler in '05), two seconds and a third. [Asbury Park Press]
- Tragedy continues to strike at Del Mar, where Wednesday saw the 5th and 6th fatal injuries of the meet – 7 if you count one suffered during a workout. There were 17 such incidents all of last year. The head-scratching is eerily similar to what we’ve been hearing out of Arlington.
“I wish I had a smoking gun here, but I just don't,” said Joe Harper, president, CEO and general manager of the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club. “We can't put our finger on any one thing. We've looked at the surface of the track. We had some extensive studies done on it through X-ray and sonar to make sure the base is level and smooth, and it is. We passed those tests with flying colors. We got our soil samples back and have been adding some sand to the clay, and the content looks good.” [SignOnSanDiego]
One of the breakdowns resulted in an injury to jockey Ricardo, who suffered a fractured collarbone. In other Del Mar jockey comings and goings, Jose Valvidia will return Thursday from a similar injury. And it looks like Pat Valenzuela will undergo surgery to relieve a pinched nerve in his back, and miss the rest of the meet.

- Magna may be debt-ridden, and the company was forced to agree to a lower selling price, by $25 million, for its Meadows harness track, due to unfavorable developments regarding tax rates. This has not, however, prevented Magna from announcing their intention to spend $14.3 million by Nov. 25 to acquire the remaining shares of Amtote, the tote company in which it already owns a 30% share.
If the transaction closes, Magna would be the first racetrack company to own a totalizator company outright. Bet-processing functions in North America are dominated by three companies: Scientific Games Racing, United Tote, and Amtote.
Not surprisingly then, the company also announced that it's taking an additional loan fron its parent company; this to fund the housing of slot machines at Gulfstream.

- No further word on a final contract agreement between Dwight Manley and the Jockeys’ Guild. Matt Hegarty reports in the Form that the Guild intends to make a counter-offer.
Tom Kennedy, the guild's New York-based counsel, said the guild's nine-member board "instructed me to make a final proposal to Mr. Manley" on how Manley would be compensated as national manager. Kennedy declined to give details about the employment contract, but said that "we weren't on the same page, and the jockeys felt they needed further protections."
One can’t help but get the feeling that the Guild will have the Help Wanted sign posted again soon.

10 Comments:

Glimmerglass said...

I see that Vonage is to Sponsor Haskell Invitational, which is a little bit better then the NYS Lottery and Travers Stakes. Although with Vonage's recent IPO having burned a lot of folks I'm not sure if its a great deal to get in bed with these folks.

The number of breakdowns is simply wretched. Its not like Arlington or Del Mar isn't trying to see what the cause is or fix it. With the heightened general public awareness thanks to Barbaro it really pours cold water on fans being able to proudly say racing is the best.

Nice to see that Julien Leparoux is off to a bang at Spa with his ride on City Snitch - almost a track record in the time and a blow out by 11 1/4-lengths.

Tote Board Brad said...

How are you able to enjoy the racing and all the extracurriculars up there when you're putting out a ream's worth of literature between here and RSD? We're worried aboutcha, man!

Great job all around with the new site. Really a clean, crisp look, and the content fab. John, Patrick, QQ, & Dave all rose to the occasion as well. ....proud to be associated with you cats.

alan said...

Thanks TBB. Don't know how much longer I can keep this up, lol. What are you doing for the next 5 1/2 weeks?

Anonymous said...

Could'nt bet a dime on any of the Cal 3 yr olds...I know Point Determined likes to "hear his feet rattle" and its Monmouth, but in all due deference to my buddy Walter, I honestly believe the Cal horses are a cut below this season. And I am still waiting for Lava Man to come east and try on Invasor, and Flower Alley before I crown him Handicap horse of the year. Nick

Walter said...

...Lava Man is definitely the best the West Coast has to offer, but he didn't fare too well on the East Coast last year so i doubtyou'll see him around there anytime soon...and he'd have to be supplemented to the Breeders Cup, so don't hold your breath on that one either...incidentally, Flower Alley and Invasor may be the best handicap horses on the East Coast right now, but i really feel that's just until Bernardini/Discreet Cat enter that foray later this year...those two are simply a cut above, i don't think there's much question about it...look for a big win from Bernardini on Saturday, btw...with Discreet Cat still MIA, i don't think there's a 3yo around who can stop that one at route distances...gimme even-money and i'm all over him...

...ps...you can turn the tables on that scenario just as easily, Nick...do you think Flower Alley or Invasor could ship West and beat Lava Man on his preferred surface?...i kinda doubt it...

Walter said...

...almost forgot...Midnite Lute is entered @ Del Mar tomorrow...he may have his hands full with Elwood and Jake however, that one is ultra-sharp and was clearly best (to my eyes, anyway) in his latest start...he was bottled up and pretty much checked out of contention approaching the lane, and damn near one anyway...he trains well on dirt as well, so that shouldn't be a problem...i haven't checked the workout reports yet, but if there's anything noteworthy on Midnight Lute i'll post it late tonight...

Walter said...

...holy smokes...i grabbed an overnight sheet for Del Mar, and saw that Elwood and Jake is 15/1 on the morning line...wasn't expecting that...as for Midnight Lute, i only have the report on his most recent drill, but it was surprisingly sub-par...perhaps he's not the same horse that debuted so imprswssively last year, because he was training much better into that race than he is this one...keep in mind, this horse fractured a leg and required surgery...i guess the jury's still out, but i was expecting a much better report considering his long string of quick drills...also of note, Jitterbug Ball returns VERY well, according to the reports...he drilled a monster 6 furlongs, and according to my guy, he "comes back stronger than he went out"...looking for big effort here, but it's important to note Jitterbug Ball had been training very well last year and was something of an underachiever...i'm sure he'll run well, he always does, but he seems to have some trouble winning arces...in his defense, he DID knock heads with some very tough colts last year...also turning up in this race is the Frankel trainee Ramsgate, who was considered by some (myself included) to be a live Derby prospect early this year before he injurered himself in an allowance race...so all-in-all, a very interesting race here...i gotta like Elwood and Jake at the price though, he's got a big chance i think...

Walter said...

...Midnight Lute ran a close second, with Ramsgate a nose behind him in third...Elwood and Jake went off @ 8/1 and didn't show a whole lot...i guess he's more suited to the grass after all...

Walter said...

...important King George update here...Electrocutionist was reported to be "stiff" when he came out of his stall this morning, and while he's still on his way to Ascot for the race, his participation is very much in doubt...they're going keep a watchful eye on him throughout the morning, and a decision will be made around 2:00pm British Time...for those who aren't following the race, the favorite is last year's Arc winner Hurricane Run, with the other main contender being the Japanese horse Heart's Cry, who split a pair of decisions with Deep Impact...in fact, he's the only horse ever to beat Dep Impact...Heart's Cry also won the Sheema Classic on the Dubai World Cup undercard back in March, beating top-class mares Ouija Board and Alexander Goldrun in the process...should be a very good race, and it'll be a real shame if Electrocutionist has to scratch out...

Anonymous said...

Walter, I am surprised at you, go West to prove how good a horse is? You know the history of the game is just the other way round, you gotta come East. Magnum, Giacomo, Wilko? What's that prove? And Churchill is just beautiful in October. Supplemental fees won't keep Lava Man out of the Breeders Cup. This is the Breeders Cup, if they think he's good enough they will put up the dough. Whitney this weekend, traditionally first time youngers meet olders in a significant race, if Secretariat got beat in this race, I am guessing Bernadini might get his ass handed to him in it too. Take care, and keep me posted, Nick