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Sunday, December 23, 2007

Sunday Morning Notes - Dec 23

- NYRA's bankruptcy plan was approved by 97% of its creditors. "NYRA is proud to have the support of its creditors as it works to emerge from chapter 11 and maintain its position as a leader in thoroughbred racing," Steve Duncker said in a brief press release. NYRA is due back in bankruptcy court on Thursday to argue for final approval, but that approval is contingent on legislative approval of its franchise extension, which is unlikely to occur before that time.

- Back to the Cash Call Futurity, the winning connections of trainer Richard Mandella and Victor Espinoza didn't exactly burn up the (cushion) track during the meet; Mandella finished with just three winners from 29 runners, and Espinoza rode just seven winners from his 129 mounts — an appallingly low 5 percent.

"The way I've been going lately, I'm surprised he wasn't 30-1," Mandella said of the little bay colt who gave his trainer his only stakes score of the meet.

"I've noticed that my training gets better when my horses run faster." [Orange County Register]
And I'm not sure how those whose free trials over at Discreet Picks had expired will react when I inform you that...well, I suppose you can guess..

SoCal racing takes a brief break now until Wednesday, when Santa Anita opens, commencing the dark portion of the racing season for those of us who don't have HRTV; literally, should racing in New York be interrupted. The Cushion Track there opened on Saturday for the first time since December 4, when it was closed to correct a drainage problem.
"It's back to normal," proclaimed Rosie Yrbarra, a longtime employee at Clocker's Corner, who was sporting an elf's costume and a big smile Saturday. "And everybody is happy."

On this cool but sunny morning, there were only good comments about the condition of the track.

Retired jockey Chris Loseth, who worked Smooch for trainer Sean McCarthy in 34.2 seconds at three furlongs, said, "It felt good to me. Very even." [LA Times]
However, track president Ron Charles sounded less than sanguine that the problems are 100% behind them. “Even though it’s not draining to specifications, it has improved and we’re hoping that will remain so." [Bloodhorse] Some trainers have said that the absence of main-track training for more than two weeks has left some of their horses behind schedule [DRF], so we'll keep an eye on the entries for opening day to see if they come up a bit short.

- And back to NY, Joe Bruno has resigned from Wright Investors Service, the Connecticut investment firm which has handled investments for New York unions which routinely have business before the State Senate, as reported by the NY Times a couple of weeks ago. Taking a page from the Bush Administration, the announcement was timed to hit the papers on a Saturday in order to minimize press exposure, especially on a pre-holiday weekend. The Senator admitted himself that "the relationship was ended on December 17."

Bruno is generally defiant about his right to supplement his income given the part-time nature of legislative work in New York State. In the wake of the Times report, he said that the paper is "the extreme liberals out there and they love Spitzer", and questioned why they were "singling me out with my other income, which I have a legal right to earn?” But now, he's slinking away from the gig quietly, and calling for a debate on whether the legislature should instead be a full-time job. I wonder if that's perhaps because, as the NY Daily News reported:
Law enforcement sources said last night the FBI probe of Bruno remains active.

A number of subpoenas have been sent by a federal grand jury to people and companies with ties to Bruno.
That probe is, of course, the long ongoing investigation into possible conflicts from his outside business interests. Wright Investors has refused to comment as to the nature of Bruno's work, nor whether they have received any of those subpoenas. Here's a wild guess...


Anonymous said...

Bruno has been caught with his hand in the cookie jar a few times. His son was an Albany lobbyist for a few years. This is the heart of the FBI probe. Then there is the abuse of state helicopters. Now it is the sleaze of working for an investment advisor who happens to run NY State pension money. Silver, Bruno and many others in Albany are guilty of this last transgression of sleazy self dealing. A few years ago, Silver's law firm put tips on suing New York State on its website. They took it down after public outcry. Thank goodness Silver and Bruno are part time. The taxpayers could not afford to pay for the level of theft that would result from full time positions.

Anonymous said...

I so badly want to see on the evening news Joey Bruno do the "Perp Walk" with 'braclets' on his greedy little paws.

Anonymous said...

If they don't put the crooks at NYRA in jail they'll never do anything to Joe Bruno. Eliot Spitzer has done more in the past year to earn a new set of horizontal pins stripes than any politican in recent memory.

Of course 97% of the creditors approved of the plan -- they won't get paid by the state if they don't.

NYRA's land claim must be pretty weak if they are willing to take an extension.

Anonymous said...

"NYRA is proud to have the support of its creditors...." Only NYRA would be stupid enough to declare themselves to be proud of any part of a bankruptcy.

Anonymous said...

Both the creditor's committee and the IRS objected to the NYRA bankruptcy Plan, and particularly the inadequate Plan Supplement. It's a matter of public record. If I am ever in real trouble, I hope the public relations firm that Ed Lewi runs will "spin" the truth and make it look like I am the victim. The DRF is nothing but a Lewi influenced dishrag of a publication, as it is the one that most frequently distorts the real story with the NYRA.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:31, if you are aware of specific illegal activity by someone at NYRA we, and I am sure the NYS AG's office, would love to read about it.

If, as I suspect, you are referring the the five year old tax evasion charges by low level mutual clerks, get over it.

Time to stop grinding that axe.

Anonymous said...

I'm a big fan of Into Mischief. The horse just exudes talent, and he handled his first route attempt about as well as he possibly could. It's not easy to win your first two-turn race while stepping into a Grade 1 and breaking from the 10-hole. He's in very capable hands with Mandella, and he should only improve with experience. Looks like a major Derby contender from where i'm sitting; at least as major as they come with over 4 months to go.

Anonymous said...

Ol' Joe still has the upper hand in all of this and has the ammo to cause more problems for Spitzer than Spitzer does for Joe. That's why this whole racing franchise mess drags on. Bruno has won the PR war in the polls so Spitzer is the one who continues to look bad, I don't care what they say about Joe's behind the scenes deals. Spitzer, who most thought to be the fastest gunslinger in NY, just plain forgot that there's always a faster gun on the street, and he's more than met his match in Joe Bruno. So, lay off the FBI witch hunts, subpoenas, and all the other stuff, let's call it even, and get on with doing the best you can with the franchise. /S/ Green Mtn Punter

Jim O said...

Oh, c'mon. "Taking a page from the Bush Amninistration..." Everybody drops bad news on Friday night. You didn't know that? This is my favorite racing blog, but the constant left-wing jabs are an annoyance. When I want left-wing bias, I go to Kos.

Alan Mann said...

>>Everybody drops bad news on Friday night. You didn't know that?

Yes, of course I do. And I freely admit that I take any opportunity I can to bash the current loathsome administration. But so many officials from this particular administration have resigned under dubious circumstances late on Fridays that it's been particularly noticeable.