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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

News and Notes - March 7

- The West Virginia Senate has passed the bill allowing table games at the four racetracks in the state. The House needs to reconcile some minor differences between it and the one they passed a couple of weeks ago. Once the governor signs off, we'll be off to the races for four local referendums on the issue, as attempts to require a statewide vote were once again beaten back. And the fun is already beginning.

Prior to Tuesday’s vote in the Senate, the West Virginia Council of Churches held a vigil outside the Senate chamber and prayed for legislators to have guidance in their decision.

“People ask us why we’ve been here when it seemed like an already done deal,” said West Virginia Council of Churches President Dennis Sparks. “It’s because we wanted to set the momentum for when this goes to a county vote. We will immediately start to work. [Wheeling News Register]
- Magna and Churchill Downs tried to calm fears that they will not make their tracks available to competing ADW's. "We need to make deals with all the distribution channels, and those deals have to make economic sense to both sides," [Magna CEO Michael] Neuman said. [Daily Racing Form] In other words, expect the two companies to use their newly found bargaining power to make economic sense for themselves. Youbet's stock has been on a downslide since the announcement. As for TVG, Matt Hegarty reports that the general consensus is that the company...will likely listen to Magna and Churchill about a proposal to swap racing signals. I don't see that they're really in a position to do otherwise.

And hopefully Churchill will be more generous with its signals than it is with its video archives. As more tracks make their past races available freely to handicappers, Churchill does not. They have not made them available on Cal Racing, and they are only available on the websites of its tracks that are currently in season. So presently, if you're handicapping and looking to watch past races run at Churchill or Calder, you're out of luck.

And while I'm picking on Churchill, am I the only one who thinks that their Derby website is a bit on the cheesy side this year?

- Sounds like the pending installation of synthetic surfaces at Santa Anita and Del Mar may inspire Doug O'Neill to shun the trip to Dubai for Lava Man, and keep him in this country to run in the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic on Derby Day.
"To close our eyes to that and go after money in a foreign land....If something happened and he got injured, I wouldn't forgive myself. He could be like John Henry and run until he's 9." [DRF]
- A very quiet session of the Fasig-Tipton two-year old in training sale at Calder on Tuesday. This was the sale that produced The Green Monkey last year, and perhaps that fiasco was on the mind of the buyers. The real reason of course for the 12.9% decline in average price was the fact that there were no horses that were the object of desire for both Darley and Coolmore.
"We hoped they would clash, but, to our knowledge, they didn't," said Boyd Browning, Fasig-Tipton's executive vice president and chief operating officer. "There just wasn't a horse here that they both thought they had to have." [Bloodhorse]
However, despite an increase in the buyback rate from 32 to 40%, the sale wasn't half bad when you consider that the average was actually up 16.5% if you take out The Green Monkey; and the median price increased from $200,000 to a record $250,000.


Anonymous said...

Les Grand Trois returns in the 7th @ Santa Anita today, and has been training very well.

Anonymous said...

"He could be like John Henry and run until he's 9."

I knew John Henry. Lava Man is no John Henry. Happy Birthday john.