- Big Brown zipped five furlongs in 58 3/5 seconds this morning, so I guess those feet are holding up thus far. Dutrow had all the usual laudatory comments that we'll be hearing from a lot of different trainers about their horses this week. He'll ship to Churchill on April 28th and, in case you want to be on hand to give him a warm Louisville welcome, he'll arrive there by about 5 p.m.
Other than that, there's just not much going on right now. However, with internet coverage for the Derby already reaching a saturation point, people have to write about something. So we see headlines about Tale of Ekati working out yesterday, and Cool Coal Man doing so today; those two items go in the 'so what' category in my opinion. And there was other compelling news such as: Gayego had the morning off Wednesday, walking the shedrow at Barn 33. As I said, not much going on. The Courier-Journal lists the drills currently scheduled for this weekend. Nothing too exciting to me there either until Pyro and Z Fortune go on Monday. Colonel John is not yet listed, and we'll surely be looking out for that one. I shudder to think how dull this Derby would be if not for Big Brown.
The paper also is reporting that Pletcher has opened the door a crack to the possibility of Behindatthebar running. Personally, I'd like to see that door slammed shut. It would have important implications, as it would close the door to Bob Black Jack, who those of us planning to bet against Big Brown are certainly hoping to see with his potential for high speed. Even forgetting that, Bob Black Jack is, in my opinion, a deserving Derby runner, having stretched out his speed to give Colonel John a tussle in the G1 SA Derby. He also ran third in the San Felipe. Pletcher's colt would qualify on the basis of a single graded stakes, and a questionable one at that. I think that a rule prohibiting a horse from qualifying based on a single graded stakes may be in order.
- Egads! A rock concert on the hallowed grounds of Saratoga? NYRA is planning a free music festival there on September 13.
Secure with a new 25-year contract to operate the track, the New York Racing Association is working with whiskey maker Southern Comfort to host the Sept. 13 concert in the track's parking lot along Union Avenue, facilities manager Charlie Wheeler said.Sounds like NYRA may be coming full circle back to the old after-races concerts that used to pack the backyards of Belmont and the Big A in the 70's and 80's. At least one resident was unhappy, telling the Times Union: "It'll have a real detrimental impact on the neighbors." But I'm sure that the 20 bucks a car that the neighbors will charge to park on their lawns will more than make up for any inconvenience.
"The concert is a reflection that NYRA perceives all of its racetracks as venues, destinations used to host major events," [VP of sales and market development Gavin] Landry said. "We're having discussions with all three tracks that will allow us to offer things to people who may or may not come for the races." [Albany Times Union]
- Contrary to earlier reports, Atlantic City is not exporting a simulcast signal for its six day meeting which started yesterday. Horsemen and the NJ Sports and Exposition Authority could not agree on a deal.
NJTHA President Dennis Drazin said the New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority pays horsemen 3.5% of handle on its exported simulcast signal from Monmouth Park and the Meadowlands. Greenwood offered 2.5% for the Atlantic City signal, a figure that horsemen rejected. [Thoroughbred Times]- Developer Louis Cappelli received local approval for his plans to turn the old Concord hotel into an entertainment complex featuring a new Monticello Raceway and racino. But the state has not yet approved relocation of the racetrack. [Times Herald Record]