- In case you didn't know (as I didn't), Perfect Drift is now under the care of trainer Richard Mandella. He's also recovering from surgery as he prepares for his nine-year old season. Mandella lost the nine-year old The Tin Man to an injury late last year, but replaces him with another hard-hitting oldtimer.
- The Dubai races will be televised on HRTV, which is good news for about eight of us. I suppose that ESPN will show the World Cup on its Florida Derby coverage, which has been downgraded to ESPN2 this year. And speaking of downgrades in TV coverage, as reader Glimmerglass was, a look at the upcoming TV schedule shows nothing whatsoever for the Wood Memorial and Santa Anita Derby. Racing on network TV seems to have been reduced to the Triple Crown only - what happened to Derby preps on ABC, or all those races we used to see on CBS just a couple of years ago? Hate to belabor the point, but for a network which pledged to increase their coverage when they took over the Breeders' Cup two years ago, ESPN seems to be showing less and less, at least at this time of year. And a look out to October shows that they have the Friday Breeders' Cup races on ESPN2. Imagine, the former Distaff, the showcase for the great fillies and mares of our sport, has gone from being a mainstay on NBC's Saturday coverage to being run during the dinner hour on ESPN2 on Friday. Unbelievable.
- Reader Case sent along an article about a high-stakes poker game gone bad in Delaware. The players were bound and robbed, and a couple were beaten; and a cop who was a participant in the game is among three who have been arrested in the affair; he's accused of setting his fellow players up.
And as it turns out, many of those fellow players are harness horsemen.
They included licensed harness owners, breeders, trainers and riders, according to sources from law enforcement, the racing industry and two of the poker players.Oh, please! There are a lot of things in harness racing, and the flats as well, that are troubling and worth investigating. Playing poker with some buddies certainly can't be one. Of course, poker players are rarely investigated or charged with any crimes even though the games are technically illegal......but neither, generally, are public officials who engage in prostitution. So one never knows.
And while none of the robbery victims has been charged with gambling-related offenses, the current and former executive directors of the Delaware Harness Racing Commission say their role in the high-profile event is troubling.
"The commission is concerned about what's in the best interest of harness racing," [Harness commission chairman Hugh] Gallagher said. "We'll have to determine whether it's an illegal activity. It could possibly be against the law.
"If it was found to be illegal, I'd probably assign an investigator and want a full report to find out why they would be engaged in that activity and at what level in a purported illegal activity such as a high-stakes card game," he said.
In addition, the commission can refuse, suspend or revoke a license if someone is convicted of a gambling violation, has pending criminal charges or "whose conduct or reputation may adversely reflect on the honesty and integrity of horse racing."[Delaware Online]
- Reading stories like this, and like this, after having read this, makes me nervous. Imagine Joe Bruno as two of the three men in the room!
Governor Paterson is now also imminently facing a potential constitutional and judiciary crisis, as Albany DA David Soares is demanding that he immediately, by 5 PM today, waive the executive privilege that Spitzer had claimed to withhold emails regarding Troopergate that were labeled "potentially damaging" at the time, and which are now "almost definitely positively damaging" given yesterday's revelations about his coffee-spitting orders to proceed. Paterson has referred the matter to Andrew Cuomo for advice; but personally I'd be shocked if he goes along and releases Spitzer's emails. Soares wrote the governor that "the public has expressed great interest in this matter;" but the truth is that the public stopped caring about the matter months ago. Any public interest now is more of the prurient variety due to the exploits of Client 9, and it's still my opinion that Bruno's cynical use of state resources for his own political purposes is a more important issue; especially now, with Spitzer gone and having proven to be somewhat mentally unbalanced. Bruno is getting a free ride here, like a certain other prominent Republican.