- 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.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..
"I've noticed that my training gets better when my horses run faster." [Orange County Register]
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."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.
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]
- 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.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...
A number of subpoenas have been sent by a federal grand jury to people and companies with ties to Bruno.