- 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.