- Racing has resumed at the Big A with no official word of any temporary franchise extension. However, in a Xmas day article in the Albany Times Union, Oversight Board chairman Steven Newman confidently predicted that racing will go on, and that an agreement will soon be reached. "Everybody's working to resolve this matter ... so that racing employees have a job they can go to on Jan. 1." With no chance of a legislative agreement by Dec 31, that short-term extension will be required; Newman "would not say" if he's worked out the terms. NYRA continues to plug its New Year's Day calendar giveaway as if there's nothing different going on this year.
Buddy's Holiday won the second, though with several scratches, I didn't get the odds I was looking for in this post. However, he got bet like a good thing, on the nose in the win pool. This was a classic example - with just a few minutes until post, he commanded around 25% of the win pool, but only 12% of the show pool. So I had to get down despite the odds, just to cash a freaking ticket for a change. And in his first try around two turns, he won like the hot horse he was, wire-to-wire after lagging behind in his initial, sprint race. I'll likely piss it all away on Gipsy Limits in the feature.
- Santa Anita will apparently open today as scheduled after repairs to correct the drainage problem, but the true test for the Cushion Track won't come until it rains. And again, track president Ron Charles doesn't sound the least bit convinced, telling the Orange County Register that if drainage problems continue, the Cushion Track would be treated like a conventional dirt surface.
"That means we'll have to seal the track, run heavy rollers over it when it rains....That'll mean the track will be harder than we want it to be, and then we'll just rip it out after the meet and put a new one in."And if those sound like fightin' words, reporter Larry Bortstein noted a war of words and talk of litigation between officials of Santa Anita and Cushion Track.
Paul Harper and Philip Bond of Cushion Track have been at Santa Anita the past week but have declined to comment- The holiday weekend brought the tragic death of trainer Dale Baird in an automobile accident.
The question of who will pay for the possible resurfacing might not be settled without both sides going to court. [OC Register]
Baird became the first trainer in history to reach 7,000 wins in 1996, became the first to reach 8,000 in 1999, and in 2004, became the first to reach 9,000.And Frank Gomez, who retired from training in November due to declining health, passed away at the age of 78.
After he reached his 9,000th win, Baird was honored with a Special Eclipse Award in January 2005. He is not a member of racing's Hall of Fame. [Bloodhorse]
Invariably, Gomez turned over his top horses to other out-of-state trainers instead of leaving behind his family, once it became apparent the horses were of national caliber. Princess Rooney and Smile helped to put Calder on the national racing map once they left and went on to earn Breeders' Cup victories and national divisional titles.
Gomez preferred to enjoy their success while watching from afar.
"Look, I don't need any of the limelight," Gomez said in a 1993 interview after Cherokee Run, whose career he launched at Calder, finished second in the Preakness Stakes after being handed over to another trainer. ``I just like to do my own thing and go my own way. Who cares about limelight?" [Miami Herald]