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Saturday, October 21, 2006

NYRA Nears the Big A and Big B

- The Albany Times-Union reported on Saturday that NYRA could file for the Big B - Bankruptcy - as early as this Thursday. A NYRA official, William Nader, said he could not confirm that. He said he thinks NYRA's cash flow should allow it to continue operating through Nov. 1. The reports from last week that an agreement that would release the remaining $19 million of NYRA's loan have not come to fruition.

The report by James Odato goes on to tell of a letter from a NYRA lawyer to the Ad Hoc Committee that blames the Pataki Administration for holding up the loan, and thus bankrupting the association. It was said to "infuriate" administration officials, and it was actually shredded by the committee after after NYRA said it was mistakenly sent.

"The letter was sent in error by a staffer who was on deadline to send over some other information to the committee," Reif said. "We believed it was a mistake and therefore complied with their request to get rid of it."

Officials with the Committee on Open Government and the New York State Archives said state agencies, including public committees, are supposed to retain records involving their functions and transactions. Robert McDonnell, associate archivist, said that when a sender says the material was sent in error, "that's a gray area" as to whether it can be destroyed.
The news comes a couple of days after Empire Racing Associates released their latest attack press release. This one cites statements by past NYRA officials in which they conceded that ownership of the land reverts to the state if and when the franchise goes out of existence.
"No one can say for sure why NYRA would change its position now, particularly when they have previously clearly acknowledged the State's ultimate ownership," said Empire Racing spokesman Mark Grimm. "Our concern is that they're trying to manufacture a bogus legal claim to somehow gain leverage and derail an open and competitive State bidding process."
That's a fair point, and it makes for good copy; however, it bears little relevance to the process at hand. The Committee is well aware, I'm sure, that the overwhelming sentiment outside of NYRA is that the state owns the land. And besides, all's fair in love and business; indeed, there are those who feel that Friends of New York Racing, even as they solicited donations from various parties that themselves were possible franchise bidders, was nothing more than a vehicle with which to promote an agenda and pave the way for Empire.

- Bloodhorse has released the Report of Mares Bred for 2006, and Roman Ruler leads the way with no less than 197 romantic encounters. A winner of five out of ten lifetime starts, including Haskell, his only Grade 1 win, this son of Fusaichi Pegasus commands a fee of $30,000, live foal. So even if only 150 of his mares delivered live foals, a conservative estimate to be sure, his owners earned a total of $4.5 million in fees. And that's why we don't have many stars racing after the age of three. (And it's not like Roman Ruler even quite fit into that category.)

Interestingly, second on the list at 195 is El Corredor, who is a half-brother to Roman Ruler, and who stands for the same fee. The complete list can be found here.

- Another Triple Crown participant made a return to the races on Saturday; Sharp Humor, 19th in the Derby after battling Barbaro to a close decision in the Florida Derby, returned in a NY-bred stakes, part of the New York Showcase on the final weekend at a cold, breezy, and stinky Belmont Park. State-bred stakes dominated the card, and a foul odor prevailed in many areas of the backyard despite the wind, perhaps foreshadowing the coming bankruptcy proceedings and NYRA's general screwing-over by the state. Perhaps the association isn't paying their sewarage bills. The opening of my beloved Big A on Wednesday can't come soon enough. My final day at Belmont for 2006 lasted for all of two races; the Head Chef, who had come mostly for the New York vendors that were there for the day, was pleasantly shocked when I told her I was ready to leave. My recent lack of interest in wagering continues, though I plan to snap out of it by November 4.

Anyway, Sharp Humor, the 6-5 favorite, got hooked up early with Castle Village's Introspect, and did well, I thought, to battle on gamely for second to Tom Bush's sharp Gold and Roses (Gold Token). Sharp Humor's trainer Dale Romans, who has bounced back from a slow Saratoga meeting, said "You never want to lose, but I'm really happy with his effort." [Daily Racing Form]

I was long gone by the time Funny Cide was sent off as the 9-2 third choice, and never even remotely threatened against NY-breds in the Empire Classic.


Anonymous said...

El Corredor and Roman Ruler are actually 3/4 brothers. And as talented as they each were, i'm not sure why anyone would breed to them, with their well-documented history of foot problems. Hard to believe they're the two most active sires.

Anonymous said...

Ouija Board worked out today under her Breeders Cup jock Frankie Dettori, and looked good, "bounding away from a decent handicapper".

BC Mile contender Araafa also drilled today, and racing manager Tony Nerses had this to say:

"He worked very well. He is in tip-top condition and we will be supplementing him tomorrow for the race. Jeremy (Noseda) is very happy with him and thinks we go there with a good chance. We have not decided on a rider at this stage, but it will be a top American jockey."

Anonymous said...

I thought the stink was from the goat meat concession.

Cold and windy it was, the grandstand was empty as everyone flocked to the backyard in a futile attempt to find some sun and escape the wind. They need to reconsider ever holding another Breeders Cup at Belmont, late October is no time for a non-enclosed facility in the northeast.

It was a terrific betting card however, which showed how far NY Breds have come.