- Doug O'Neill is pissed that Areyoutalkintome was left out of the top 14 for the Sprint in favor of Commentator. And Crist made a more than fair point in his aforementioned column when he wrote that it seemed to be a double standard to judge Flower Alley on his 2006 form, and Commentator on that of his past. The latter's trainer Nick Zito said "He's a Grade 1 winner...He's one of the best and most exciting horses to have campaigned over the last two years. He's Commentator." [Daily Racing Form]
I think that what got him in is not the first part of Zito's statement, but the subsequent ones. His Grade 1 and gaudy figs took place in 2005, and thus presumably aren't part of the discussion. But he is a charismatic horse as Zito pointed out, and it seems as if the decision was based more on his flair and speed than what he's accomplished this year - a win against three NY-breds and up the track in the Forego. That as opposed to O'Neill's horse, who in all honesty hasn't really been all that hot himself this year either, but at least has run competitively in some graded stakes.
I don't think there's anything wrong with the Breeders Cup opting for the more theatrical decision in a case like this....and perhaps I should revisit my comments on Flower Alley being left out in favor of Super Frolic (but not Perfect Drift).
I wonder if they would have left George Washington and David Junior off had the race attracted more pre-entries with solid dirt form. If I thought that they were really, really smart, which, based on the lack of promotion we've seen for the big day, I don't, I would envision a scenario in which they would have pressured the connections of the two to run in the Turf or Mile, instead of braving the dirt. It's creating a lot of pre-race intrigue, but I get the feeling that in the end, the cause of better theater would have been served if the two invaders stayed on familiar footing. We'll see.
- The reader who provided this excellent insight on the NY franchise bidding was wondering just who Capital Play Pty Ltd. is. Wonder no longer, the Australian outfit is out of the running for the NY racing franchise after failing to post a required $1 million bond. Where the hell did NYRA get the money for that?
The state's latest racino opened on Thursday at Vernon Downs, a harness track in upstate Vernon. There are only 777 machines there, about half as many as at Saratoga, and a mere pittance compared to what we'll see at Yonkers if it doesn't burn down first. Hundreds lined up for the 10 AM opening, with some camping out since 6:30.
Facility officials had originally projected between 3,000 and 4,000 people would visit Thursday, but General Manager Eric Persson said Thursday night about 9,000 visited. [uticaOD.com]Unbelievable.
- The quarantine at Monmouth, covering at least 1,000 horses, will last for at least three weeks. Four horses have been confirmed to have equine herpesvirus. And the brief and beleagured thoroughbred meeting at the Meadowlands has been severely affected by the outbreak, banning horses coming from anywhere but Monmouth to race there. Only eight races have been carded for Saturday night.
- TVG inks a deal to have content distributed in Ireland and the UK, and I'm sure that comes as great news to those who can't even get the network in this country on cable systems such as Time Warner.
- Please feel free to email me with questions, comments, suggestions, or whatever.