- Highland Cat will be scratched from tomorrow's race. It's just too damn hard. The only other option this month is that six furlong 35 maiden claimer. But since he has no speed and hates the dirt, it could be nearly as fruitless as tackling tomorrow's field would have been.
- They're off at the Big A again today, though it doesn't sound as if any real definitive agreement regarding hospitals has been reached. And that's because, as NYRA's Bill Nader told the Albany Times-Union: "NYRA does not have a part." The protocol of the Regional Medical Services Council of New York City is that they be taken to the nearest Level 1 trauma center, which is Jamaica Hospital. As you know, I'm generally very supportive of the jocks in this space, and can certainly understand these comments by Jerry Bailey, who, according to the Form, negotiated an unwritten agreement with NYRA that riders with non-life threatening injuries be taken to North Shore:
What we wanted was the best care, the most efficient care - it was a no-brainer. We work in an industry where an ambulance follows us around. This is the most basic - basic - of requests. This is like asking a mother to feed her baby."But one can also sympathize with the angry commenter who pointed out that the jocks are free to engage a private ambulance service, adding:
I know it sounds insensitive, but there are a lot of folks that are working very hard in sub freezing temps and depend on the money provided by winter racing. The jocks are insensitive to those individuals needs every time they shut down the racetrack for something other than unsafe racing conditions.On a somewhat brigher note, with assistance from Robert Colton, Philadelphia Park has reached an agreement with their jockeys to insure them for up to $500,000 for on-track accidents. Tony Black called it “a good first step," and that's really all it is. It's better than the disgraceful $100,000 coverage they had before, but many tracks provide coverage up to $1 million. Keep that in mind the next time you read about how much money they're making in their slots parlor.
Every race cancelled is money out of these peoples pockets.
- Governor Spitzer's proposed budget eliminates some $3 million that the city of Saratoga has received from the harness track racino to help mitigate gambling's impact in the community. [Saratogian] Only Yonkers and Monticello would now be eligible, subject to poverty tests.
And the Democrats picked up a seat in the New York State Senate yesterday, taking a special election on Long Island to replace GOP senator Michael Balboni, who the Governor, strictly in the spirit of bipartisanship (of course), tabbed to be the head of his homeland security department. This reduces the Republican's advantage in the Senate to two seats, and the Dems are reportedly courting two or three Republicans to switch parties. It's considered a longshot, but that would be quite the humorous twist if Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, the object of much affection, money, and plane rides from former Empire director Jared Abbruzzese, was no longer in position to be a decision maker when the time comes to award the franchise. Hee hee.