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Thursday, November 08, 2007

Fun While It Lasted

- I'm out after Day 2 of the SHOWdown contest, thanks to my own stupidity and usual misfortune. When both Captain Backfire AND Rollers scratched from the 3rd, I was left without a selection. It seemed like the obvious race to play with its short field and two apparent standouts, and I figured that I'd bet Rollers if the other scratched; but I was just plain unprepared for them both to do so. I was at work, with little time until the deadline, and no time to look at the other races, which I never really bothered that much with the night before. So I took a well-meaning, and ultimately well-meant-on-the-tote suggestion in the same race from a couple of readers, and it didn't work out.

But having said all of that, you'd think that an even money favorite could get at least 3rd in a freaking four horse field....for heaven's sake....

The winner, Beijing House, shipped in from Suffolk off a ten length win, and made short order of the short field. It was the old 'why would Yamil Rosario come all the way here just to ride this horse' system. His bio on the Suffolk site says: Much like Pat Day during his time, Rosario prefers to come from off the pace as opposed to showing speed from the gate; but not on this horse. Beijing House is a two-year old gelded son of Mutakddim, out of Slacks, out of Count Tootsies, out of Footy, out of Obstetrician.

In the 4th, Southern Gale was 6-1 morning line for trainer John Terranova. The barn's 0-25 record with first-time starters was right there in black and white, but this son of Stormy Atlantic was the hot horse, going off as the 9-5 favorite! He opened up a lead in the stretch, but didn't quite get it done for his backers, getting caught late by Zito's He's Solid Gold.

Another winner for the suddenly hot David Jacobson barn (Explosive Count, $17) in the 5th; and trainer Kathleen Feron is now three for five at the meeting after saddling Milliondollar Moon ($7.60) in the 9th.

- Tom Precious has done an outstanding job reporting on the NY franchise issue for Bloodhorse, but his latest entry looks to me like one of those 'hearsay as news' articles we see in the media from time to time. He writes of a plan "kicking around," and that: Under one scenario floated in the state capital the week of Nov. 4.....

NYRA would get the rights to run racing at Saratoga, with the rights for Aqueduct and Belmont Park going to the highest bidder among the various racing entities that have already made a pitch for the franchise. The video lottery terminal casino at Aqueduct would be put out to bid, and real-estate ventures involving unused land at the tracks for hotel and other development, would go to one or more of the development groups already tied to the different bidding entities. [Bloodhorse]
"It's not something we're looking at,'' a Spitzer spokesperson is quoted as saying in the only real hard news item in the piece, and I doubt that they really are. I'm going to stick to my guns on this one, and if I'm wrong, you can come back and make fun of me. But again, I just don't see Spitzer putting forth any proposal that would send NYRA scurrying back to bankruptcy court screaming "LAND CLAIM," as this certainly would. And I think that Bruno's own constituency in Saratoga would be absolutely apoplectic over any proposal that would create a downstate competitor to its treasured race meeting.

- In Maryland, if it were up to Senate President Mike Miller and many members of his chamber, they would vote to legalize slots in the state without putting the matter to a referendum. But with House Speaker Michael Busch still opposed to expanded gambling and unwilling to allow a measure that doesn't put the issue to a vote, reality has set in. The Senate voted 30-17 to give preliminary approval to the referendum concept, moving the bill towards a final vote. The Senate voted down an amendment which would have replaced the referendum with an actual bill approved by the chamber in 2005 that would have legalized VLT's. Senate Majority Leader Edward J. Kasemeyer, a longtime proponent of slots, explained: "Sometimes, in order to move forward, you have to reach consensus,....In order to move this legislation forward, we have to go through this process." [Baltimore Sun]