- As Brett pointed out, the forecast for Saturday now calls for temps in the low 90's, so you can probably leave that light jacket home. Belmont is often an interesting meteorological phenomenon, in that it can literally feel 10-15 degrees cooler up in the grandstand seats than in the sunny backyard. But if the weather is going to be as steamy as they're saying, it's not going to matter. (I will be bringing something nonetheless....you never know what it's going to be like at 8 PM for that 13th race.)
- Big Brown's dam, Mien, has been bred to Stormy Atlantic by her owner Dr. Gary Knapp; and as was the case with the Derby/Preakness champ, it's an interesting and rather eclectic combination. Big Brown has that inbreeding to Round Table and Damascus, in addition to Northern Dancer. This new prospective foal also has the Northern Dancer inbreeding; and, in addition is inbred, 4x4, to the full sisters and highly influential broodmares Moccasin and Thong. Both of those of out of the blue hen mare Rough Shod, who, in addition to dropping those two, is the dam of the stakes winning colts Lt Stevens and Ridan.
“I did some research on my own and found from 1914 to 2002 that 85% of the American classic winners had one or more crosses of significant female families in their pedigrees,” said Knapp, who referenced American Classic Pedigrees (1914-2002). “I want to be in that group when I breed horses.”Dr. Knapp also obviously likes the cross with Northern Dancer-line stallions. Big Brown (the result of a mating in 2004) is by Boundary (Danzig); a 2005 colt is by Horse Chestnut (Fort Wood/Sadlers Wells); a 2006 filly by Touch Gold (Deputy Minister/Vice Regent); a 2007 filly by Belong to Me (Danzig, and thus a 3/4 sister to Big Brown), and now the future foal by Stormy Atlantic (Storm Cat/Storm Bird), are all by Northern Dancer-line stallions.
Knapp set a minimum stud fee when searching for a stallion this year. “I can’t remember, but it was either $20,000 or $25,000,” he said. “I looked at all the stallions standing in Central Kentucky at that level or higher, and all of them had one of more crosses of significant female families within the first seven generations, except five stallions.” [Bloodhorse]
- Bettors would not be the only ones helping to subsidize NYCOTB through higher takeout rates under the proposals being floated in Albany to relieve it of a portion of its payment obligations. While higher rates of retention would salvage NYRA's bankruptcy plan, the NY horsemen figure to take a hit. So NYTHA president Richard Violette Jr. issued a scathing criticism of the plan; and, in doing so, got right down to the key point.
“Mayor Bloomberg has made it abundantly clear that he has no real interest in the overall welfare and future of NYCOTB or the Thoroughbred racing industry. It would be unwise to allow an entity so vital to the racing industry to remain in the hands of such disinterested leadership. Whatever solution the governor and the legislature finds for NYCOTB’s immediate problems, it must include a binding commitment to either a merger with the NYRA or have NYRA take it over completely.” [Bloodhorse]Even Assemblyman Gary Pretlow, in the course of negotiating the agreement, blasted the mayor.
“We gave them a plan that worked, and he rejected it....I think the city thinks they have us over a barrel" because of the upcoming Belmont Stakes, the lawmaker said. “I don’t believe the city is negotiating in good faith."Bloomberg has not had a good year, seeing his presidential aspirations and his key policy initiatives go down in flames. Now, taking a nod from his petty predecessor, he's making noise about quashing the legal limit of two mayoral terms and thus overstaying his welcome in office. Which, as far as I'm concerned, he did when he arrogantly brought the GOP convention to this overwhelmingly blue city in 2004, and presided over the disgraceful mass arrests during the protests that inevitably (and quite correctly) followed.