- Empire Racing put out a press release citing the "disappointing" attendance figures at Saratoga. It points out that the crowds there have declined 13% from 2003, but doesn't mention the slight increase in average attendance this year over last. CEO Jeff Perlee said, "Empire Racing's mix of home grown control and an impressive team of world-class operators is the best solution for attracting more racing fans and helping create jobs and economic growth for New Yorkers."
Of course, there are no suggestions as to what exactly Empire would do to address the situation; something we haven't heard from the other bidders either. Well, there's slots at Belmont, of course.
- Turfway opens tonight for a 22 night meeting, and the Polytrack has had an adjustment.
Turfway recently removed the top two inches of Polytrack and replaced it with material that has more wax and no carpet fiber while adding Spandex strands, track president Bob Elliston said. The result is a firmer surface that should result in times speeding up in closer proximity to those over conventional dirt surfaces, he said. [Louisville Courier-Journal]And, we're told, less kickback too. The meet will also feature the return of Julien Leparoux, who more than held his own against the all-star jockey colony at Saratoga with 28 wins, a record there for an apprentice.
- Supporters and opponents of the bill pending in the House to close three slaughterhouses rallied near the Capital building on Tuesday. And the supporters rolled out some heavy artillery - the family of Willie Nelson. No, not Willie himself, but two daughters, a granddaughter, and his ex-wife, who said "He sent us here because he couldn't be here....Had he not been performing, he'd have been here."
Also present were a childhood acquaintance of Jerry Bailey, an ex-boyfriend of Lori Petti, a man who brushed up against Cot Campbell in 1995, and several equine descendents of Ferdinand.