- Thanks to reader jk for bringing to our attention this little tidbit buried in a column by Fredric U. Dicker in the Post on Monday.
The Wall Street crisis has led Paterson administration officials to temporarily put off a long-awaited decision on choosing one of three potential builder-operators of the Aqueduct racetrack's massive entertainment and casino complex.Of course, we were all anticipating that last week. It's certainly no surprise. In fact, it would have been a surprise had business proceeded as usual. We were also wondering if any of the three parties had the cash on hand, particularly Capital Play, who only pledged $100 million up front, and which threw huge numbers around during the franchise process. But Dicker's language - "a second look at the financing behind each of the three.." - implies that they do not.
The officials want to take a second look at the financing behind each of the three would-be operators to make sure it's still solid. [NY Post]
The clock is ticking on the 24 months that NYRA said it can survive without slots money; as far as a deadline for starting construction, it's actually 12 months given the expected one year it would take to build. It's certainly not clear at this time what exactly is going to change regarding credit and real estate in the next 12 months. We've seen this matter slide by for far more than 12 months during the peak of the real estate boom...and the slots boom for that matter. So it's certainly conceivable it could do so again. Amazing considering that it's a guaranteed money maker for the state starving for cash...though who knows if it still will be when (if?) they finally get around to it. I wouldn't be complacent about this if I were NYRA.
The other bit of non-news from Monday is this article from Bloodhorse: No Network TV Coverage for Weekend Races. Well yeah, we knew that too. As pointed out previously, ESPN's last telecast was the Pacific Classic on August 24, and their next won't be until Keeneland. That's one telecast in the nine weeks leading up to the Breeders Cup. There are 12 Grade 1 races on tap between Belmont and Santa Anita this weekend; a number of them are, I guess, Breeders' Cup Challenge races. And aren't the races at Santa Anita especially newsworthy with respect to the Breeders' Cup just in and of itself? Even if the Win And Yer In program hadn't been over-diluted this year to the point where it's hardly news at all, you still can't expect that much momentum could have been sustained with such a big gap in the telecasts.
Curlin worked a leisurely half in 51 4/5 up at Saratoga, his final work for Saturday's race. Jess Jackson will certainly be pressed during a teleconference scheduled for today to disclose his plans - or lack thereof - for the Breeders' Cup. I think we'd like to see him win easily and with a little flair, like Commentator did. He'll of course be facing a far tougher field than did Zito's horse - Mambo in Seattle, Wanderin Boy, AP Arrow, Frost Giant area amongst his possible opponents. But he's the champ, and it's not unreasonable that people expect him to win like one. That might silence the speculation that he hasn't been the same since two races in Dubai.
Don't know how much of a marketing effort NYRA is going to put into this race after the disappointing crowds at Curlin's last two appearances here. I'd missed this piece by Odato in the Times Union blog with word that those crowds were at least partly behind the departure of Gavin Landry. But without some significant rivals, Curlin is just not appealing enough himself to make much of a difference, and Landry had an unenviable task. I mean, even the presence of Pass the Point would have added a little pizazz to this race, where the hell is he?