- Matt Hagerty reports in the Form that NYRA has been negotiating with the Lottery Division and Governor Pataki, and that NYRA officials have said that the sides were close to a deal to release the money as recently as Friday. Charles Hayward told the NYRA board that they won't remain solvent through the year without the $19 million that would be released. But with the racino still a year away, they need to make it to Belmont day, if not Saratoga, and I wonder if that money will be enough. MGM will be loaning NYRA $190 million for construction costs if they really do get approval, so perhaps they can use a little of that to stay afloat.
It seems to me that the reported negotiations should be the headline of the Form's story rather than the board meeting; I don't believe I've read before of any direct talks amongst the parties. I wonder if the Governor is yielding to the bad publicity he's gotten over the matter of late, or if he just realizes that there's really no excuse for any further delay. Or perhaps, he's gotten word from moles on the Ad Hoc committee that NYRA is likely to earn their recommendation? (I just made that up.)
- Wanted to mention the win by Admiral Bird at Keeneland on Saturday; the NY-bred just lasted to get the win, and is now two-for-three lifetime, all on the grass for Christophe Clement. This two-year old son of Royal Academy was one of my favorite performers at Saratoga; and I posted about his stunning debut win here. And about how I almost got out for the meeting when he and Giant Chieftain (one of my other faves from the Spa) were edged by Fernando Po here.
He was game to edge Pletcher's Twilight Meteor, who looked like he was going to go by for sure; but Admiral Bird hung on in a final sixteenth of 5.76 seconds. This is a really, really nice grass colt, and I'm looking forward to his development next year.
- Flower Alley will stand for $25,000 at Three Chimneys next year. He's also apparently going to run in the Classic despite his awful performances in the Whitney and Woodward. I guess now that the fee is out there, they have nothing to lose by running him. They won't have to lower it no matter how badly he's beaten by Bernardini, and can always raise it if a miracle occurs. Still, it seems like a strange decision to subject him to being trounced after he showed so little interest in those races at Saratoga.
The marketing campaign began immediately, as Three Chimney's owner Robert Clay told the Thoroughbred Times:
"Afleet Alex was voted champion three-year-old, but Flower Alley ran a 110 or better Beyer three times....and Afleet Alex did so only in the Preakness. Flower Alley has been our pick of his crop since his domination in the Travers."- Please feel free to email me with comments or questions.