- There was a fair amount of hype over Storm Marcopolo, an Argentinian import who made his U.S. debut for Ken McPeek at Churchill today. The trainer had told the Form that the horse "has trained like he could be any kind," said that the G1 DeFrancis at Laurel could be next, and spoke about the Golden Shaheen in Dubai too. But I guess those plans are on hold after he couldn't clear 12-1 Sharp Attack and faded to 6th, ugh. The unfortunately named Stormin Baghdad won for Asmussen. Another winner at CD for Mott, and check out Calvin Borel and trainer Ian Wilkes, the former assistant to Carl Nafzger. That combo won their second two-year old maiden race in two days, both at nice prices too; today with Isella at 6-1, yesterday a 9-1 winner in Jedi Code.
- The claim by the IRS that NYRA owes it $1.6 billion contains a stunning assertion; at least according to the accused. It is claiming that the association owes taxes on its gross handle rather than on its share of the takeout. That's not just a NYRA issue, but an outlandish declaration that could effect every track in the country. I'm hardly a tax expert, but seems to me that's like the IRS telling a business that they owe taxes on their total sales rather than their net profits. Thus, NYRA's attorneys say that this is a "landmark" case for the entire industry.
"It’s entirely new.....It looks as if the IRS is trying to change the way taxes are established, not just with respect to horse racing but with respect to the entire gaming industry. We have never been assessed any of these taxes previously." [Thoroughbred Times]In addition, the IRS claims that NYRA is improperly deducting the property taxes on the land, because of the fact that its ownership is in dispute. Oh man. It is also claiming that a portion of NYRA's expenses should instead be allocated to OTB since the latter benefits so greatly from the races, yet offers nothing in return. Thus, it is disallowing $347 million in expense deductions!! Oh man!! OK, let me get this straight - OTB takes NYRA's signal and a lion's share of its business, but because OTB returns so little to NYRA, the IRS is claiming that some of NYRA's expenses should be allocated to OTB. Thus, less deductions, and more taxes owed by NYRA. And you thought NYRA was getting screwed by OTB before? Is there a tax lawyer or accountant out there that can shed some light on this for us?
NYRA says that its true liability is only 1% of what the IRS claims. One thing we don't need any clarification on is that if this tax claim holds, NYRA is out of business, plain and simple. The claim was filed in June, but it was Capital Play that brought it to the attention of the press, thanks for that bit of public service, mate.
- CP West won a minor stakes at Aqueduct today, and I would have bet against him for sure. Buffalo Man, briefly on the Derby trail after taking the Spectacular Bid and OBS Championship before getting hurt last winter, made his return and ran second. The two-day carryover Pick Six was hit to the tune of $164,081. I'm sure that many were eliminated in the 7th, won by Classic Marilyn at 16-1, and I'm a little pissed that I didn't pay closer attention to that race. Trainer John Hertler is a guy who can put over the longshots, and I'd noticed last night that he had two seconds with three starters at the meet. Just the kind of under-the-radar indication I look for in search of a trainer warming up. I also love the horse's name, as it always makes me think of the Classic Marilyn (Manson) album Mechanical Animals, one of my favorite musical guilty pleasures of all-time.
Speaking of guilty pleasures, I've been spending too much time of late at the website Hockey Fights.com. No explanation needed there. I think this site warrants a permanent slot over on the sidebar. Anyway, for you old-time hockey fanatics only, this fight from Saturday between the Flyers' Riley Cote and the Bruins' Shawn Thornton is getting ample support on the site for FOTY honors thus far in the young season. If you think this is not relevant to this blog, just imagine that it's Eliot Spitzer and Joe Bruno duking it out at center ice. Enjoy; I'm off to the Rangers game, see ya later.