- An anonymous commenter, in a long, impassioned rant on the latest trouble at the Spa starting gate, which resulted in a costly refund of over $500,000 to bettors of Phantom Income, has a list of questions regarding the starting gate crew that he wants answered:
Are they bonded? Do they undergo background checks? Are they prohibited from wagering? Do they carry cell phones when on the job? Are they drug and alcohol tested? Are records kept of which starter is in the gate with which horse? Are they disciplined when they screw up?These all seem like valid questions, as the commenter rightfully points out, in light of this. The Tim Donaghy scandal is going to have implications far beyond the NBA, raising doubts in the mind of fans of any sport regarding the impartiality of officials of all kinds. The reader is particularly piqued at the effect these incidents have on those who wager on the heavily marketed multi-race wagers, who are then left at the mercy of the post-time favorite; as well as by the seeming "nonchalance" of NYRA. Perhaps I should contact Gelnick and Gelnick and let them earn their $125,000 per month, he writes.
John Pricci, on his Horserace Insider site, feels that Fleet Valid may have cost Will He Shine second place in yesterday's third (and he makes a good case based on watching the head-on at Cal Racing), and asks: Where is Getnick and Getnick when you need them. Or are they not overly paid to help adjudicate fouls? NYRA's proposed deal with its former federal monitor is certainly attracting the derision it deserves.
- A federal judge in California has dismissed a lawsuit filed by the Jockeys Guild against Dr. Wayne Gertmenian. U.S. District Court Judge Otis Wright ruled Aug. 13 that the Guild could not sue Gertmenian under the Labor Management Reporting & Disclosure Act because they are independent contractors and not members of a labor union. [Bloodhorse] Dr. G, of course, argued that the jockeys should be treated as a labor union rather than independent contractors when he headed the Guild, so this ruling, termed as "bizarre" by a Guild attorney, is the ultimate in bitter irony for the jockeys. Fortunately, the claims of Gertmenian's financial fleecing of the Guild for personal purposes are also pending in a California state court (where he had the nerve to countersue for defamation of character!). Hopefully, this sleazebag will someday get what he deserves.
- I was surprised to read of the sale of Any Given Saturday to Darley which will take effect after the Breeders Cup Classic. Winstar stands his stallion Distorted Humor, and one would think they'd love to have them side by side. But Winstar is only a co-owner of the colt, along with Padua Stables. A Darley spokesperson said, of the chances of him racing at four: "That's a possibility, but nothing's been decided yet. It depends on how he's doing." [DRF] Oddly, I get the feeling that there's a better chance of that happening with Darley than with Winstar.
- Friday is the day on which election officials in West Virginia's Kanawha County will gather at 7 AM to consider the hundreds of uncounted early ballots, 67 early ballots from a St. Albans precinct that were apparently counted twice, and more than 500 provisional or challenged ballots; this regarding the table games vote won by the 'yes' side by a mere 33 votes. The public is invited to watch. One official said: "It will look a little like, and I hate to use the term, Florida, except you won’t have the hanging chads.” [Charleston Gazette] I also hate to read that reference to the fiasco that resulted in the current disasterous administration. And it produces a picture in my mind of John Bolton bursting in and yelling: "I'm with God, and I'm here to help the recount!"
- There's some headlines today about a GOP plan to bring slots to Maryland, but I wouldn't get my hopes up. The plan is being presented as an alternative to the Democrats' proposal to address a $1.5 billion budget shortfall with tax increases. The Republican plan proposes to limit growth in spending, and would allow 15,000 slot machines around the state. [Baltimore Sun] However, the Washington Post notes that Republicans hold 37 of 141 seats in Maryland's House of Delegates, so their plan is unlikely to greatly influence debate.
- And finally, back to the NBA scandal for a moment. I read this note in the NY Post: The NBA forbids gambling by its refs in any form, except playing the ponies during the off season. So nice that we get these little exemptions, isn't it? But perhaps we should check to see if the NBA forbids any of its officials to work on the starting gate crew at Saratoga...