- Good news on Just Zip It; her shin is reported to be better, and she'll be pointed to a race in mid-February, unless something suitable comes up sooner. As for Highland Cat, he is rockin' and rollin' to the point that Bill Turner said he'd run him this month if there was a race for him. The earliest in the book for now is a one mile event on Feb 8. Of course, there's no grass racing at this time, so he'll have to wait to get back on the surface on which he ran his best race.
- Gulfstream is back at NY OTB.
- Officials at Monmouth are expecting what seems to me to be a very modest 40,000 people to attend its Breeders Cup day on Oct 27. That is, the main Breeders Cup day, after the three new races that were added for Friday. The track will also be open on Wednesday and Thursday, at a time when it's normally closed. A local resident told the Asbury Park Press: "On normal racing days, Route 36 gets to be an annoyance....I can't imagine how (a large crowd) will get in and out without difficulty." Indeed, I've paid my dues on Route 36 many times; it's the only access road to the track I know of. Perhaps Patrick can help us out with a secret route.
About the new races, which were announced last week while I was away, I can't say I felt a burning need for those particular categories, especially the filly and mare sprint. The more the merrier, some might say. But not the Form's Steve Davidowitz, who worries about serious-minded players' ability to do justice to 11 invariably complex BC races. Eight is enough, I guess he would say. But he also brings up a more profound point regarding the new Mile.
Running the newly created Breeders Cup Dirt Mile at one mile and 70 yards is intended to give needed room for horses breaking from the outer posts in a 14-horse field at one-mile Monmouth Park. But any two-turn race at a mile or one mile and 70 yards on a one-mile oval with a full field is bound to create dangerous congestion heading into the first turn. Wouldn't it have been better for the BC leadership to wait a year or two and schedule this race at a larger host track?I'd be more worried about the horses than the national TV audience. Given what the ratings were like in 2006, how many people do you think will be watching on a Friday afternoon? They'd probably do better with a hockey game.
I hate to say it, but the 2007 BC Dirt Mile at Monmouth is a potential disaster waiting to happen, a disaster that the Breeders' Cup is inviting, with a nationwide television audience tuned in. [Daily Racing Form, Sub. only]