- The dotted line has not been signed, and Dwight Manley is not yet officially the new national manager of the Jockeys’ Guild. But A Guild attorney told Thoroughbred Times:
“Darrell [Haire] is still with the Guild as interim national manager, and until there's a contract finalized, we would not formally recognize Manley as national manager, but since Manley is committed to the organization, he and the Guild are working closely already. The title is just a technical distinction."Oh, well that clears that up, eh?
As far as Jesse Jackson goes, it’s interesting to note that John Velazquez, contradicting many published reports over the last few days, told Bloodhorse that Jackson wouldn't be in a position to control the organization. "We didn't vote to hire Jesse Jackson.....(Jackson) is an advisor to Mr. Manley." This is just a guess, but it seems to me that the Reverend’s surprise appearance before the Guild was nothing more than a stunt on Manley’s part. Jackson was in town at the time regarding a Supreme Court challenge to a local school desegregation plan, and, as we discussed last week, he’s intervened on Manley’s behalf in the past.
But other than a chance to make some news in his quest to keep himself relevant, I just don’t see what’s really in it for the Rev here. Manley is the one reportedly putting up $500,000 of his own money to bail the Guild out financially, and thus, he is the one that will naturally reap the benefits of any money to be made. (Velazquez disputed the 15% of Guild earnings that Manley was originally reported to be in line for, saying it was 5%.) So I think that Rev. Jackson won’t be much of a factor unless the TV cameras are rolling. Instead he’ll go back to his “shakedowns” of poor, helpless victims like British Petroleum, which earned $19 billion in profits in 2005.
As for Manley, I guess he must see some financial potential here, unless he’s just really bored. Velazquez maintains that "We want to work together with the industry."
"We voted to hire Dwight Manley because he's a good businessman. He knows about handling organizations, he has a good background in sports; he's a positive asset to the Guild [Bloodhorse]."He knows about dealing with management on behalf of his clients too. The problem is that in this case, he'll be dealing with management that do not consider themselves employers of the jocks, and tactics that he’s used in the past may not be as effective in doing anything but antagonizing racetrack owners that are sure to be skeptical to start with.
- The latest racino in New York State is Tioga Downs, a harness track located near Ithaca and Binghamton. They’ve been racing there since June, but now comes the part most people have been waiting for - slots, of course. They had to wait a few extra days though; the recent rains and flooding caused “fiber optic” issues that delayed the opening until Tuesday (and the grand opening until July 10). Not everyone learned of the delay, however, and crowds reported to be around 1,000 people showed up each day over the weekend at around 10 A.M., anticipating some exciting slots action.
“I seen old men sneaking ... to get to the front of the line,” said Jason Schoonover, 35, of Towanda, Pa. “I had people pushing me to get some T-shirts (being thrown as freebies to the waiting crowd). I just put my head down and hoped I didn't get hit. It was crazy.” [Ithaca Journal]Do you think we'll see scenes like that when the new racetracks in Pennsylvania open? The Meadows is one of the existing tracks anxiously awaiting slots there, and they can’t come soon enough.
“Well, things have been going down bit by bit over the past ten years,” said Mike Jeannott of the Meadows. “We've lost 30 percent of our business and 40 percent of out attendance. So it's been pretty dire.” [KDKA.com]The report says that some nights as few as 100 racing fans are in attendance at the Meadows. The problem for the sport is that once the casino opens, you’ll probably have those same 100 people actually watching the races, while the rest attend to the stimulating action inside. [Hat tip to Albany Law School Racing and Wagering Page]
- Strong Contender’s final time of 1:45.24 for the Dwyer was the slowest of the 13 editions run at the mile and a sixteenth distance – and he came home in a slow 33 2/5 for the last two and a half furlongs. Yet, John Ward’s budding star received a Beyer of 109.
Mark Hopkins, who makes the Beyer numbers for Belmont, said the track got significantly slower as the day went on. Hopkins said he had to adjust his figures by 32 Beyer points for the last three dirt races.The Dwyer was the only race run on the dirt beyond seven furlongs, but the prior race went seven in 1:28 2/5; before that, 5 ½ furlongs were run in 1:07. (Both were state-bred allowance races) So yes, the track seemed pretty slow.
"It was one of the most dramatic changes I've ever seen at Belmont," said Hopkins, who has made New York figures for 30 years. "And Belmont has dramatic changes." [Daily Racing Form]
But if the track was indeed slowing throughout the day, as Hopkins said, what does that say about the performance of Soaring By, Pletcher’s two-year old who cruised to a final clocking of 1:04.93 for the 5 ½ furlongs in the fifth race? It was two races prior that Out of Gwedda won his race in 1:06.66.