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Thursday, October 26, 2006

Joke's On Flower Alley

- Todd Pletcher said that it's "a joke" that Flower Alley didn't make the top 14 for the Classic. Personally, I think it's a joke that the horse was entered in the first place given his dismal form this year. Yes, he had a great 2005 and ran a fine second in this race last year, but I thought the rankings were based on 2006. I don't see anyone in this field that he should have necessarily made the race instead of. Every other entrant won a Grade 2 or Grade 1 (Flower Alley won only a weak G3), except for Perfect Drift (second by a nose in the G1 Stephen Foster) and Super Frolic (third, beaten less by a length by Lava Man in the G1 Hollywood Gold Cup). And since he knows that Flower Alley will get in anyway when Discreet Cat (or Bernardini) scratches, I'm not really sure why a guy with 17 other entrants would bother complaining about something like that.

- Alan Hevesi, the Democratic Comptroller of New York who is running for re-election, last year called NYRA the "poster child for mismanagement and corruption." But NYRA needs to share the picture with Hevesi. He's under pressure to resign and withdraw from the race after admitting to utilizing a state-employed chauffer to drive his wife around for three years. He's reimbursed the state for more than $80,000, but it seems that he kept no records of what the exact amount should be. He's the subject of a grand jury investigation that could result in a criminal indictment.

- More fire code violations were discovered after a new inspection of Yonkers Raceway. The violations found in the follow-up inspection showed several serious and significant hazards -- and a total of eight more than the 56 discovered on Oct. 5. [Albany Times-Union] Track president Tim Rooney claims that the violations...well, "almost" all of them...are limited to floors not currently in operation.

Rooney said the casino had an emergency management plan and trained security, two other serious violations cited in the report. He said both were submitted as part of the environmental review of the casino project completed last year. The Oct. 16 inspection, however, called that plan "outdated." [Journal News]
Racing is supposedly going to resume on Nov 3.

- Aidan O'Brien on George Washington's chances in the Classic:
“It is a huge challenge and the odds are against it.....but all I know is that we’ve never had one like him before. He has always been different.”

That is high praise indeed. Among Ballydoyle’s finest has been Giant’s Causeway, who almost won the Classic the last time it was run at Churchill Downs six years ago. Jockey error was largely responsible for Giant’s Causeway’s failure to overhaul Tiznow by a scant neck. It is therefore ironic that Mick Kinane, who dropped a rein at a critical time, has a chance at redemption aboard George Washington this time. [Times Online (UK)]

1 Comment:

Anonymous said...

George Washington is a big question mark, and not just because of the dirt/distance question. He's always been a bit of a head-case, and 100,000 people @ Churchill Downs could have an adverse effect on his demeanor. And in a somewhat related matter, he hasn't always broken particularly well. Which sometimes is a problem with the European horses anyway, when they step into an American-style starting gate for the first time. I'm not saying i expect him to break poorly, but i would say he's more likely than most.