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Friday, March 09, 2007

Highland Cat Getting Ready

- Highland Cat had a leisurely maintenance work this morning; a half mile in a relaxing 51.09. He's getting ready for his scheduled next appearance this coming Wednesday. It's a 30K claiming event for non winners of two lifetime, at a mile and a sixteenth. Seems like a realistic spot.

- Steve Wynn is looking for a racetrack operator for his Thoroughbred Racing – NY. Sid Davidoff, the "lawyer and influential lobbyist" that is representing the group, said that it could include entities already lined up with other bidders. Because after all, who is really left at this point?

"There aren't many left after you get past Magna, NYRA and Churchill," NYRA Chief Operating Officer Bill Nader said.

Keeneland and Del Mar are both non-profit firms that aren't apt to partner with a mega-casino developer such as Wynn. Penn National Gaming Inc. operates six tracks, owns 11 casinos and manages one other, but Vice President for Public Affairs Eric Schippers said his firm is not involved with Thoroughbred Racing-NY. [Saratogian]
Gary Pretlow, a member of the Ad Hoc Committee, is understandably perturbed that new bidders have been allowed to waltz in at this point, echoing the sentiments we expressed yesterday.
"Where were they a year ago? The bidders, all of them including NYRA, did a lot of work."

They also spent a great deal of money. Excelsior Racing Associates, which won the ad hoc committee's recommendation, spent $2 million preparing its proposal, spokesperson Katie Burke said.

Last week, Spitzer said integrity would be a key factor when evaluating each firm's proposal. But he might have compromised the selection process by inviting new firms to submit bids more than six months after everyone else. Each of the original bidders' proposals was made public two weeks ago, and a new firm could simply pick and choose the best elements from each of them. "Exactly," Pretlow said. [Saratogian]
By the way, what's with that name - Thoroughbred Racing-NY?? How much thought did they put into coming up with that? Probably about as much as Wynn's slots customers put into that endeavor.

- Barry Irwin of Team Valor is doing the Bloodhorse.com's Talkin' Horses thing today, and here's the definitive word on King of the Roxy (pay attention you futures bettors).
Team Valor is not thinking about the Kentucky Derby with King of the Roxy. We did not plan on running him around two turns this spring until he surprised us with how easily he won the Hutcheson. He is forcing us to stretch him out. We have chosen the Santa Anita Derby as the race. Richard Migliore will ride him, as Edgar Prado is busy at Oaklawn Park on the same day. If Roxy surprises us again, I would say the Preakness is a lot more likely than the First Saturday in May.

8 Comments:

Kevin said...

What are the odds that, if he wins the Santa Anita Derby, King of the Roxy finds himself in the Kentucky Derby post parade?

Greg said...

If you have a chance, check out the race replay of a hore named Jacks Away. 4yo NY bred I believe. Loved his first race. Don't really know anything about his connections, but he should be gone if he breaks well tomorrow at the Big A.....

alan said...

Kevin - That's a fair point, to be sure. We'll read, "He's forcing us to run him in the Derby."

Green Mtn Punter said...

Alan, wonder if Charlie Hayward has heard from Steve Wynn lately? A Wynn-NYRA joint venture would make a lot of sense as they each have what the other needs. The Excelsior people must feel like they're getting jerked around big-time as their winning bid has now been "shopped" to their competitors. I conclude that the "do over" is, at root, due to Spitzer's vulnerability on cronyism and/or corruption charges, dressed up for the voters to look like the pols are doing a thorough job by leaving no stone unturned in their search for "integrity". Is this absurd, or what?!

alan said...

Greg - Thanks for pointing that out. That was an excellent effort after an extremely poor start. And though his trainer doesn't win much, I see that he's been going very well lately. Two winners in his last four starters (through Thursday), including a 17-1 shot....and a recent record of 11-3-2-3.

alan said...

GMP - Absurd is one word for it. Ridiculous, inane, asinine.....

I thought about a possible Wynn/NYRA connection. But then what would be the relationship between Wynn and MGM be? Excelsior must be furious, and I would imagine that after the initial euphoria and thinking about it for awhile, Empire can't be too thrilled either. I don't think they're in any better position than they were before, and now they have this added competition, which may be trying to lure one of their partners away.

Green Mtn Punter said...

Alan, with Steve Wynn in the running, the franchise race has really arrived in the big time. Wynn, I believe, is the single biggest player in Las Vegas; he's been watching his gambling revenue decline as more states add VLT's and casino gambling. I am guessing that the MGM contract is still not set in stone so Wynn could possibly take over the VLT contract, or enter into a joint venture with MGM. Wynn wouldn't jump in without some assurance that the VLT contract would be his. Then the next obvious step is to sign up NYRA to operate the tracks and we're off to the races! With Wynn in the game, however, we're definitely entering new territory, but it is new territory with an emphasis on casino gambling, not thoroughbred racing. Excelsior will need to really show it's stuff now, time to call in all of the IOU's and due bills.

Anonymous said...

Wynn's involvement now is interesting. Don't forget that LRW Development, LLC filed a notice of interest with the ad hoc committee. LRW Development, if I recall, was wholly owned by Wynn. I wonder why he didn't both to bid last year.

The MGM contract is for five years only. After year five, it would be his.