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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Notes - Aug 21

- I'm battling a balky wireless connection here in our otherwise wonderful rental. I may have to resort to.......dial-up!?

Well, while I have a moment sitting on the floor in the one spot I can hook up to the high-speed connection directly, let's catch up on a little news.

Last Friday's vote canvass in West Virginia's Kanawha County resulted in the affirmation of the 'yes' vote which would allow table games at the Tri-State Racetrack; the margin of victory, originally 33, widened to 343. That of course is still a slim margin, less than 1% of the vote. The opponents, led by the West Virginia Family Foundation, want a recount. But who's going to pay the estimated cost of $280,000? The opponents argue that a recount is a part of the election process which the track is obligated to pay for. The track and its allies likely spent at least twice [the $280,000] on the "Vote Yes" advertising and marketing campaign. [Charleston Daily Mail] The track obviously disagrees, and is backed by the County Commission President. Maybe they'll have to have a referendum as to who pays for the recount.

- Thanks to the reader who sent in this link from the Albany Times Union, regarding the suspension of the subpoena issued to the paper's James Odato with respect to the Choppergate, or Troopergate investigation, whichever you prefer. He/she also makes an excellent point, calling to our attention the fact that the Columbia Journalism Review, which supported the T-U in this article I'd linked to, has a "working relationship" with the paper.

- Finally some reaction from NYRA to the flurry of gate incidents at Saratoga, and quite a reaction it was. In a news release, the association announced that starter Richard Brousseau "will begin retirement" after 31 years; but as noted by the Times Union, the timing was unusual with two weeks remaining in the meet. The starter is the guy who just pushes the button to open the gate, whereas a lot of the attention, at least in the feedback I've gotten here, has concerned the assistant starters who are actually handling the horses in the gate. Without knowing all the details of any investigations that may have been conducted into those incidents, I would speculate that Brousseau is being made a scapegoat here. Assistant Roy Williamson will be the new starter.


ljk said...

Alan, I know desperate times call for desperate measures, but nobody should have to resort to dial-up. I'm not sure where you're renting, but there's plenty of Wi-Fi goodness in my neighborhood avaiable to be "borrowed". I'm on the west side of town near the high school. If you want details I can send an email.

Anonymous said...

Here it is Tuesday of Travers Week and nary a word- let alone the usual "buzz"- from anyone about the big race on Saturday, the "Mid-Summer Derby", the "4th Jewel of the Triple Crown", THE Race of the Spa Meet. Is it because the field is such a disappointment? Is it because the once veddy historic, veddy prestigious Travers just doesn't matter anymore as most owners of Grade I stock have their eye on BC Day as it appears to be the only requirement (and the KY Derby for 3 YO) these days for an Eclipse? Hopefully the new NY franchisee has a plan to turn this around so that the best Grade I 3 YO's don't dare to pass on the Travers, as was the case in days gone by. Why should NY's ancient and prestigious Grade I's serve as mere optional steppingstones for the BC Series? The new NY franchisee must begin by leading the charge for changing Eclipse Awards to a point system, a point system such that a consistent performer over a long season could lose the BC race and still win an Eclipse based on total points. This one long-time NY racing fan is fed up with hearing about 2 races: The KY Derby and the BC Series. These races were concocted largely by and for KY breeders, and these KY breeders have cashed in big-time. But their jackpot has done nothing for the business of racetracks and thoroughbred racing as a whole; it is time for NY to stop being promoters of the Derby and BC Series and instead emphasize the importance of winning NY Grade I's, race for race, still the best in North America. It's a matter of marketing and promotion, and what is NY if not the best at finding the "angle" to get to the "top of the heap"!/S/ Green Mtn Punter

Valerie Grash said...

Amen, Green Mountain Punter, AMEN!

Anonymous said...

Your comments regarding the 'change' at the Starting Gate in Saratoga were fair. Scapegoat is a perfect word for the treatment an honest, hardworking man who rarely, if ever, had serious incidents at the Gate. Do some further research. You should be interested to find out that Richard Brosseau was not even 'Starting' the races on the 'most notable' incident occurring on August 6th, and in fact, the 'new' starter, Roy Williamson, was starting the races during that incident. No one seems to realize this.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the Replacement of the Head Starter at NYRA without saying to much previous poster has good point- Brosseau - the Head Starter was not there that day at all. Roy started that day...I know. Rich did a good job and is taking the fall for something he would never have done. Feel bad and wish him well Many of us will miss him.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone recently checked in on NYRA starting gate- they just can't seem to figure it out- Now a jockey is hospitalized! Not to mention that was the day Duncan was not there because he got hurt the day before...brilliant plan NYRA. Anyone thinking here that maybe just maybe they need to re-evaluate their decision making process? Take 5 minutes to watch is a team that wins/loses NYRA get it together- this is patheits worse than ever now.