- The weather forecast is not good here for Friday and Saturday afternoon, and damn, what is it with me and the pressbox? During my prior experience, I saw nary a fast track race through four days at Monmouth last fall. Whatsmore, I imagine that track super John Passero and the rest of NYRA have to be concerned about more than just a sloppy track for the Big A's biggest day of the year and New York's signature Derby prep. Given the well-documented problem with the base of the Aqueduct main track, a drenching rain could put the whole day in jeopardy and put more focus on the financial crunch that has precluded the necessary repairs at a time when NYRA could use some good news. The release of NYRA's 2007 financials and the conclusion of the State Investigations Committee that the Getnick contract violated the Breeders Law helped to spur headlines like SO MUCH FOR NYRA 'INTEGRITY' in the Post. The weatherman has been wrong on several occasions lately when he/she called for rain, so we can only hope that's the case once again.
- Greenlight Capital issued a press release that details its objections to Frank Stronach's reorganization proposal for MI Developments that would have him buy Magna Entertainment. As expected, they have to do with the enormous transfer of assets to the new company that Frank would control. So, in exchange for $25 million, Mr. Stronach will receive interests with an initial value of over $225 million plus 10% of reorganized MID.
Greenlight opposes making such an outrageous payoff to Mr. Stronach in order to permit MID to act in its own best interest without his further interference.Now, MID's second largest shareholder has also come out against the deal.
"Mr. Stronach's proposal includes implementing many of the Board recommendations from 2005 and implicitly acknowledges that the solutions Greenlight suggested, including disposing of MEC, returning excess capital to shareholders, and operating a focused real estate investment vehicle, are optimal for MID. However, MID only seems to be willing to implement these solutions if they are accompanied by an outrageous multi-hundred million dollar payoff to Mr. Stronach," said David Einhorn, President of Greenlight Capital. [Press release via Fox Business]
"The structural elements make sense," said David Green, principal at [Hotchkis and Wiley Capital Management]. "But the transfer of more than $300-million, greater than 20% of the stock's current market cap, to Frank Stronach in order for him to now support the deal is appalling. We strongly object to this transaction." [Financial Post]According to a report in the Globe and Mail, these two shareholders own enough shares to block the deal on their own by exercising dissent rights which permit investors to ask the courts to change the terms of an acquisition or buyout. A shareholders vote is scheduled for May 30.
- Hystericalady will bypass the Apple Blossom at Oaklawn this weekend, but wow, what a matchup we hope to see anyway, with the sensational Zenyatta taking on Distaff champ Ginger Punch.
"We're going to have to face her eventually," said Jerry Moss, who owns Zenyatta with his wife, Ann. "We might as well face her now, when our filly's feeling good and when she's ready to run. If Ginger Punch beats us, well, then right now she's better than us. That's all." [DRF]OK, that's the spirit!! This will be Zenyatta's first race since she won the El Encino at SA on Jan 13. It will also be her first race on natural dirt, but I haven't heard many people worrying that it will be a problem for her.
The Apple Blossom will not be the only fascinating matchup on the distaff side this weekend amidst the three big Derby preps. Country Star makes her long awaited three-year debut, and picks quite a spot in which to do it, facing Proud Spell in the Grade 1 Ashland at Keeneland.