- It hasn't taken long for the racino at Yonkers to have a profound effect on the racing right across the river at the Meadowlands, and talk about a reversal of fortunes! The Meadowlands has received permission from the Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association of New Jersey to cut its weekly schedule of racing by one day. [Harness Racing News] In the past, the Meadowlands has run at least 10 races during the week, and as many as 13 on weekends; but those numbers are dipping. There were only nine races last Friday, and on Sunday afternoon, many of those with less than the maximum ten entries.
The purse money being offered is about equal at this time, but many horsemen are finding the competition easier at the Yonk. Meadowlands VP Dennis Dowd told the NY Daily News:
"You can have cheaper horses in your stable who may not be competitive here at the Meadowlands and you can go over there only having to beat seven to get the money. Here, you have to beat nine and it's tougher competition. So guys are going to try it at Yonkers, and they are doing it in droves."Freehold is also feeling the effects - they're talking about seeking permission to cut back from five days to just three.
- Aqueduct jockey Abel Castellano Jr was injured in a spill on Sunday; he suffered a broken collarbone and will be out indefinitely. Castellano was taken to North Shore Hospital given the non-life threatening nature of the injury, pursuant to the latest agreement between NYRA and the jockeys after the Jamaica Hospital spat last month.
- Street Sense continued his preparation for his debut, whenever that will be, with a half mile in 47 seconds.
“He’s as good as when we went into the Breeders’ Cup, right now,” [jockey Calvin] Borel said. “I think by the time we get to the next race, he’ll be even better.”- Here's a little weekend Derby futures report from the UPI: ..among the "most active" on Derby futures were Stormello, Catman Running and King of the Roxy on the up side; Joe Got Even and Forefathers on the down. I guess those bettors didn't read the comments about King of the Roxy sticking to one turn races.
Among 39 works recorded at the distance Sunday, only reigning Breeders’ Cup Distaff champion Round Pond (: 46 ) worked faster. [Arkansas Democrat Gazette]
Speaking of futures, I got a note from Las Vegas that Discreet Cat was being quoted at 3-1 for the BC Classic. As I told the sender, I wouldn't take 3-1 on him still being in training by then. Would you?
- Republicans still control the House and Senate in Florida, but gains made by the Democrats last November have emboldened slots proponents to attempt to scale back some of the more restrictive aspects of the bill passed last year.
One of [Senate Minority Leader Steve] Geller's bills would lower the tax rate on the slots to 35 percent, down from 50 percent. It also would expand the number of slot machines allowed at the racinos and lift the ban keeping ATMs off the casino floor. Pompano Beach Democratic state Rep. Jack Seiler is pushing similar reforms in the House.- Here's a couple more Derby trail workouts from this morning: Zanjero a half mile in 50.20 at Fair Grounds; Hard Spun a half in 50 seconds flat at Oaklawn.
Another of Geller's bills would allow the racing tracks and jai-alai frontons to host high-stakes poker and dominoes tournaments twice a year, in hopes of attracting additional tourism to the county. [Miami Herald]
- And in a very disappointing bit of news, Gorella, the fast closing turf filly whose owner Martin Schwartz was just beaming on TV before her disappointing effort in the Breeders Cup last fall, has now been retired due to an ankle chip. She is out of the Jeune Homme mare Exciting Times, and her 4x4 inbreeding to both Northern Dancer and Sir Gaylord figures to offer interesting mating possibilities. [Bloodhorse]