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Thursday, August 10, 2006

Bit of Celebrity in Saratoga

- Just a reminder for those of you who may have just tuned in that I'm hanging out mostly over at Racing Saratoga these days. Please check it out; it looks really nice, if nothing else.

I made it into the Saratoga Special yesterday, though not as a writer. Still working on that, and trying to come up with some new ideas that will suit their style. But yesterday, I appeared in a piece in which respondents were asked to select their "ride of the meet" here at the Spa thus far. And amongst trainers Allen Jerkins, Jimmy Toner and Eoin Harty; jockeys Richard Migliore and Edgar Prado; owner Jack Knowlton, and a couple of others.....was me, Alan Mann, "writer of 'Left at the Gate' blog!"

And that was pretty cool. It was like 'oh yeah, Left at the Gate, everyone knows that.' Gives it a little credibility, at least amongst all the industry people here that read this thing, especially with the hordes in town for sales week. And I was glad that they, for some reason, plugged Left at the Gate rather than the Saratoga blog. So now, if I can only get them to print an article or two.. (And I selected the two rousing rides by Kent Desormeaux on longshots of 30-1 and 40-1 here last week.)

- Bill Finley, at, writes of how the efforts to fight illegal medication in harness racing is further along than in the throroughbreds. At the Meadowlands, horses competing in stakes races such as last weekend's Hambletonian, and even certain non-stakes contests, must report to a detention barn a full 24 hours in advance of the race. And that's not all:

Anyone tending to a horse (grooms, etc.,) has to vacate the premises by 11 p.m. the night before the race and is not allowed back in until the following morning. Anyone entering the barn has their bags searched. Security is everywhere. Private vets are allowed in only in the cases of emergencies or to administer Lasix shots. While there, they are under supervision of Meadowlands security.
I've heard on more than a couple of occasions here at Saratoga, trainers still bitching about the six hour detention barns here. I guess they're in the right sport.

While the Meadowlands' security isn't perfect, as evidenced by the Ledford scandal earlier this year, at least they're making an effort. NYRA is the only thoroughbred jurisdiction to have detention barns at all. And that includes the flat races at the Meadowlands. And why is that? Finley explains:
Because, unlike the harness meet, the thoroughbred meet is small-time and the purses are modest. If forced to run out of detention barns at the Meadowlands, thoroughbred trainers would simply race elsewhere.
- Slots opponents in Florida - and no, they never give up, anywhere - are heartened by a court ruling that, amazingly, puts the machines in jeopardy even as construction is already underway on facilities to house them - the Hollywood dog track has spent $20 million, and Pompano Park harness $60 million, according to the Miami Herald! A state appeals court ruled on Tuesday that a lower court can scrap the constitutional amendment that authorized slots in Broward County if it can be proven that there were fraudulant signatures on the petitions to get the referendum on the ballot.

The court ruling was based on accusations that some of the signatures presented on the petitions were from people who were non-existent or deceased. The lower court had ruled that the vote that approved the referendum had 'cured' any problems with the signatures, but this court disareed, saying "It is clear that a favorable vote cannot cure deception." [Sun-Sentinal]

As you would expect, slots opponents were ecstatic:
''Today's ruling gives us hope that the concerns about fraudulent signature gathering -- including dead people signing petitions -- during the petitioning process for the slots measure will be examined by the courts,'' Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States, one of the plaintiffs, said in a statement. [Miami Herald]
And that poses this question: How the fuck does this concern the Humane Society of the United States? Are they concerned that gamblers that lose at slots will come home and kick their puppy across the room?


Anonymous said...

I just have one question.....who is watching Meadowlands security?

Bank Check

cookie jill said...

thought you might like to know of this story...

Tote Board Brad said...

The Humane Society opposes dog racing as one of their key pillars. Maybe the dog tracks get slots too, under this deal? Dunno. I don't know enough about dog racing myself to have a position about whether the sport rises to the level of animal cruelty, though. We have an OTT pet greyhound, though. The bitch is quite sweet, although she's rather dumb.

Anonymous said...


Just thought that you might like to know that John Pricci has started to post his column again at