- Picture this. Rudy Giuliani wins the GOP presidential nomination, and is set to take on Democratic nominee Bill Richardson, the independent Michael Bloomberg, and the Barbaro Party candidate Dee Mirich (I forgot her name, so I typed 'barbaro crazy nuts' into Google). The former mayor of New York makes an announcement that he has formed a transition team to take over management of the war, and it's led by Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld. 'What the hell is he thinking of,' you might ask!
That may be an extreme analogy, but take a look at this:
Empire Racing Associates has released the names of an eight-member team of racing-operations professionals mostly from Churchill Downs Inc. and Magna Entertainment Corp. that will lead its racing transition team should Empire Racing be awarded the New York Thoroughbred racing franchise. [Empire press release, via Bloodhorse]And I ask...'What the hell are they thinking of?' For one thing, Churchill is on everybody's shit list these days for using the Derby in an attempted blackmail of Youbet into dropping the TVG tracks.
And Magna?? They just released their latest earnings report that once again highlights their total incompetence. According to the Associated Press, the company is in such bad financial shape that its auditors have questioned whether it can stay in operation. They are a half billion dollars in debt to the real estate company that controls their voting rights, and are now looking to sell off "non-strategic" assets like Great Lakes Downs and several training centers. Ask the horsemen at the threatened San Luis Rey Downs training center how "non-strategic" they think it is. And, of course, Magna has transformed Gulfstream from a racing paradise into a total disaster (see the latest feedback I've gotten from aggrieved customers here). Even the racino there is failing badly. The company is little more than a laughingstock, and now, amidst all of this, Frank Stronach wants to buy Chrysler, another total train wreck of a company!
You just gotta wonder why, especially considering these recent developments, Empire would go out of their way to emphasize their relationship with these companies! It's not like they had to make an announcement about a transition team. What transition? It's becoming obvious that there is going to be no imminent announcement regarding a new franchise holder. All the reports indicate that the decision will be delayed; Matt Hegarty reported in the Form that Spitzer told legislative leaders that determining how to award the racing franchise....should be a priority during the last six weeks of the legislative session. That sounds to me like he's planning to go virtually back to square one, as Steven Crist reported in the Form today. By the time a selection is finally made, Gulfstream could be giving way for condominiums, and Frank Stronach may be driving a new Chrysler prototype off the assembly line. And into more red ink.