- Todd Pletcher may have tipped his hand on which way he'll go with Rags to Riches when he told the NY Times:
“The equalizing factor in the Belmont was the mile-and-a-half, which was an advantage for us. The Travers is only a mile-and-a-quarter, so the pendulum will swing back in favor of the colts.”The filly is scheduled to run in the Coaching Club American Oaks on July 21, and then either the Alabama or the Travers. Pletcher called it a '50-50' proposition.
- Some horrible news - jockey Andrew Lakeman is paralyzed from the waist down as a result of the injuries suffered in a spill at Belmont on May 25.
An Andrew Lakeman Assistance Fund has been set up by the Backstretch Employee Service Team (B.E.S.T.) to help cover his expenses. Contributions can be mailed to B.E.S.T., Belmont Park, 2150 Hempstead Turnpike, Gate 6, Cottage 28B, Elmont NY 11003. Or call 516-488-3434. [NY Post]- To all of my family and acquaintances who make fun of me when I shut off all my electronics and go scrambling down to the basement when a severe thunderstorm approaches (that's right - I'm deathly afraid of lightning), check out what happened to Kiaran McLaughlin and his family in their Garden City home. I rest my case.
- As mentioned previously, a delegation from Maryland will visit surrounding states to check out their slots operations. But they shouldn't expect a red carpet from Dover Downs in Delaware, a sign of the fear of competition, both existing and potential, that pervades the entire region.
Ed Sutor, president and CEO of Dover Downs, as well as chairman of the Delaware Video Lottery Advisory Council, said the Maryland officials are welcome to walk around his facility. But he said he won't give his competitors any help.The article also discusses the concept of sports betting in Delaware, as pointed out by reader BobF. Delaware is exempted from a 1992 law which bans sports betting since it was once legal there. Though nothing is expected to happen this year, that's something which would give Delaware a leg up on the other states. It's also something which I think could compliment the racing in a way that slots never will, and I plan to discuss that in more detail in the near future.
"We're a public building," he said. "As far as giving them a guided tour, showing them how we operate, I don't think so."
Maryland has the potential to keep "convenience" gamblers, those who visit for a few hours to gamble, away from Delaware facilities, Sutor said. [Delawareonline]
- Getting ready to split work early for the twilight racing at Belmont. Not a great card, but it doesn't matter....these 3 PM Friday programs just get me pumped. Hopefully, Ernie Munick will be performing in the tent and tossing out his softball trivia questions for some easy t-shirts and hats! Here's a few brief thoughts on the card: In the 4th, Uncle Indy was a universal good thing his last time out, but took the Rags to Riches route around the turn and finished second. He should be tough at a short price, but I'll box him with Advanced Signs. This Zito-trainee goes back to the dirt, and his last effort on the surface, his first effort with blinkers on, was a troubled third against a very good maiden field at Gulfstream. Joppa Flat's is the Beyer standout in the race, but he ran very oddly and erratically in the stretch last time out.
In the 5th, I'm willing to throw out the last effort by Shoot the Bugler against stakes horses at Monmouth. Her prior two, at this level, were good efforts against competitive fields. She was wide on the turn in her last, and weaved her way through traffic in the stretch to finish a close 4th.
In the sixth, my favorite Mechanical Animal is in action; Classic Marilyn is always eligible to throw in a good one. She rarely wins, but has completed some exactas at nice odds, and the cutback in distance may help. In Race 8, Unenchantedevening should get money for the Toddster, but she defeated a weak field with a lone speed trip in her last. Roban Blue on the other hand was a close third in this company behind a couple of nice fillies in Dream Lady and Pleasant Rhapsody; and Stolen Star drops in class for John Kimmel, who has been on fire here the last couple of weeks.
And in the 9th, Extra Zip was second in his turf debut on Memorial Day behind Logic Way, a close second in allowance company on 6/10, and in front of Victory Assured, second in his next race on Wednesday. Good luck and have a great Friday afternoon.