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Sunday, December 09, 2007

Dead Heat, Dead Races, Dead Bidder

- Z Humor and Turf War split $800,000 for dead heating in a wild edition of the $1 million Boyd Gaming Delta Jackpot on Friday night. Z Humor was just a length or two behind a torrid pace set by St. Joe. The first half of 45.93 was virtually tied with a five furlong allowance for the fastest split of the day; the filly stakes (with a run to the turn one sixteenth of a mile shorter) went in 46.78, and an earlier mile state-bred allowance in 48.72.

The race slowed down significantly after that half mile. Z Humor crept up the rail to engage the leader, as they went to the six furlongs in 1:11.91, a quarter of just about 26 seconds flat. Mott's colt took the lead, hitting the mile in 1:38.68, that quarter going in 26.77. At this point, with the half mile to the sixteenth pole run in 52.75 seconds ('ugly racing' anyone?), as one might expect, a couple of horses were bearing down on the faltering leader, including Turf War, who was dead last after the first half. It looked like he was going to go past, but Z Humor was dead game, and fought on admirably under a furious ride by Garrett Gomez to retain a share of the win. Golden Yank was gaining between horses, and there was said to be contact among the three (a claim of foul against the two winners was dismissed), though it's not apparent on the pan shot.

Z Humor had a very poor finish to a five furlong workout a few days before the Juvenile. He failed to gallop out at all, and Mott spoke as if he might scratch him when interviewed on The Works. But he ran, and was inexplicably bet heavily to 6-1, before fading to 5th, far behind War Pass. This was his first stakes win, and he's the 21st stakes winner of the year for his sire Distorted Humor, who is now third on the national sires list, close behind AP Indy but far behind Smart Strike.

Turf War is a full brother to Grasshopper who was making his first start on dirt after four tries on the Poly at Woodbine.

- The three new Breeders' Cup races added for the Friday before the big day range from 'oh no' to 'who cares' to 'gimme a break.' Turf sprints are a recent phenomenon, at least here in New York, that most bettors seem to agree we could do without. A turf race for two-year old fillies? Quick - who won the Juvenile Turf this year? And a mile and a half dirt race? I can't think of a single horse that was either entered in, scratched from, or considered for this year's Breeders' Cup that would have had any interest in a race of that sort. It's bad enough seeing important races run at a mile and an eighth consistently fall apart. Horses in this country are not bred to run a mile and a half, and I'd guess that the chances are pretty good that the race will be filled with horses who will have run for claiming tags at some point during the year. Come to think of it, a Breeders' Cup Claiming Crown race for horses entered for a tag of $50,000 or less at a standard distance would be far, far more attractive to this observer, both from a sporting and betting standpoint.

- I wasn't even going to mention the piece of garbage published in the New York Sun as an 'Opinion' piece today; but I guess somebody has to say something. Written by a consultant to Capital Play's PR firm Sheinkopf Ltd, it's nothing more than a perverse summary of all the distortions we've heard opponents hurl at NYRA throughout the franchise drama, with some outright lies mixed in for good measure. In addition to the usual crap suggesting that it's all NYRA's fault that attendance has dwindled and that the business is far in the red, we're told that the Getnick contract "directly violates existing State law" (that has not been determined to this point), that "NYRA is forcing the public to subsidize a corrupt agency" (the agency has received a clean bill of ethical health), and that the $250 million bailout money "would otherwise have gone to State education funding" (yeah, I'm so fucking sure). And, as usual and as in the case of their TV ad, Capital Play offers no suggestions as to how they would make things better. Perhaps that's because the ideas they offered - giant signs on buildings, a "beautiful fence" around Saratoga, and luring men to the track by turning it into a singles bar - have long been discredited and ridiculed.


Anonymous said...

Take the New York Sun piece for what its was: an Op-Ed contribution from an interested party, not a journalistic review of the facts.

People shouldn't be wholly dismissive of the contents, but it should have no greater weight in the debate than an article authored by a paid consultant to NYRA, Empire or Exceslior.

El Angelo said...

I'm shocked they added a JF Turf and not either a Juvenile Sprint, which would at least be fun, or a F&M Mile, which would at least get interesting horses like Vacare and My Typhoon a race on the weekend. I'm just glad they didn't add a 1 1/4 mile turf race as Shuback keeps stupidly suggesting; do we want to make the Turf field smaller?

the chalk said...

The New York Shit....I mean Sun. How ignorant can a sub par newspaper be by letting journalism seep to that level! Did anyone take the 5 minutes to edit the article for facts? But then again, ignorance is measured by those who have an understanding of the word. Sun, enough said.

Mr. Austin Capital Play....I mean Shafran. How pathetic of a piece could he have put together for The Sun? (I pray he/they reads this) I would love to know the hourly rate Capital Play is paying you for your sadly advised services. For that matter, Capital Play how pathetic of an approach are you taking at NYRA. It appears none of your organization has any experience in the corporate environment, as business ethics are severely lacking from your campaign. If that goes to show what would be expected from Capital Play given their control, I am truly glad that is never going to happen.

Please, I repeat please get your story straight and get the facts together before making any more toilet plunges. Speculation and ignorant jurisdiction rumors hold no weight in the media.

Also, NY Sun if your going to pay someone for writing. I know Alan or myself would gladly take the time and probably beat Shafran's rate.

Anonymous said...

re: BC expansion

A major gripe is ANYONE using the term "marathon" for a 1 1/2 mi distance. You have to be kidding me - what the heck is that? Plus they only ante up $500k for the race. b.s.

The Pimlico Cup back in Exterminator's day was 2 1/4 mi. (He won it three times in a row and set the time record) Have we regressed that badly that 1 1/2 is considered a marathon?

Has anyone seen a comment/explanation as to why Cave's Valley never really fired at Delta? He looked like he was ready to fire another monster but at best was a close second going into the final turn and then nothing more.

Alan Mann said...

Glimmer -

That was a very fast pace that Cave's Valley was pressing. I thought it was rather remarkable that Z Humor was able to stick around, despite the slow fractions in the second half of the race.

Michael said...

How far is the Zia Park Distance Challenge? 8.5 Furlongs?

Teresa said...

I don't know...I think turning tracks into single bars could be kind of fun. Instead of speed dating, you could do speed handicapping: five minutes with this guy on the early double; ten with that one for the first pick 3. I suppose you could end up with a dud for the pick 6, and you'd have to spend a long time with him.

Weeding out guys based on their handicapping skills would have saved me an awful lot of time over the years...

Anonymous said...

There was plenty of contact at Delta, but unable to place fault after watching the head on three times.

What a great race for two year olds on that tight course! I jumped off my couch in excitement and stayed standing until the result was official, despite having nothing riding on the outcome.

Z Humor very impressive, suspect he is going to be a nice three year old with distance limitations, although his sire certainly can get them to run 10 furlongs.

I love the "marathon", think it will be a lot of fun,especially since they plan a series of 12 fulong races leading up to it. Just what American racing needs, a reason to breed stoute horses.

The concept of marathon is something to which the general public can relate. Properly marketed I believe it can be a true success in a few years. Would prefer they extend the distance of course, and think they will with time.

Suspect the purse is temporary until they see what kind of field they draw.

Hopefully the usual suspects already shipping over will give it a go with some of their grade two types, especially since it will be on an all weather surface. If they can draw some entrants from Asia and South America, where marathon racing truly is popular, it can indeed become a world championship unlike the other events.

The 2 yo F turf event is logical counterpart to the male event.

Not loving the million bucks for turf sprint though, seems like the existing mile suffices.

I too would prefer a FM Turf mile over the sprint.

It really seems a $750,000 purse would suffice for all of the Friday races, dontcha think?

Nothing says they have to be Grade 1 calibler either.

I do feel the overall expirement logically will impace handle on the Big Day, there is only so much money to go around.

Anonymous said...

Revisiting the Delta Downs issue, did you catch the filed objection to the stewards dismissing the claims of foul by 'Golden Yank''s jockey against the winners?

Owner and trainer of GY have formally appealed the decision of the Delta Downs stewards.

Link from the DRF (via CBS Sports) below for Dec 11th