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Friday, March 20, 2009

Aqueduct First

Nice effort by King Mobay, who gave it his all but couldn't hold off 1-2 Stealth Missile, one of three winners for Contessa at the Big A on Thursday. And that's about all I have say about the card. Racing on the inner track this winter has gotten as old as this. I thought the winter meeting was pretty OK, but enough is enough. Gimme a seven furlong race, please!

Of course, we'll likely see inner track racing throughout March every year until NYRA is able to fix the main track, which needs a new base. And that won't happen until and if the slots start running. No developments of course as the governor and the legislature Sheldon Silver and Malcolm Smith concentrate on not getting anything done about the budget behind closed doors.

The Queens Chronicle reports that some in the community around Aqueduct are getting nervous about the talk of slots at Belmont; area officials want to see the track in Queens upgraded first.

“I believe there could be gaming at both [racetracks] if both are vastly different,” said state Senator Joe Addabbo Jr. (D-Howard Beach). “But to some extent, revenue will be lost from either if they’re both gaming sites. One has to exist first before they can both coexist. ... Let Aqueduct thrive first.”
State Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer (D-Ozone Park), who has been pushing for the Aqueduct renovations, said there’s no need to get paranoid about the video lottery issue. In order for a racino to be opened at Belmont, the Assembly would have to pass a law allowing VLTs there, and Pheffer said that isn’t likely to happen. [Queens Chronicle]
I certainly agree that slots at Belmont [first] would doom our beloved track in Ozone Park. I've always argued that a racino location at Belmont makes more sense in a lot of ways. And in the event that, in what I agree with Ms. Pheffer is a highly unlikely scenario, Belmont would get built first, the Long Island Railroad would start ferrying patrons from Manhattan, and it would become plainly clear that there would be no need for a second racino, in Queens. And this reader would turn out to be right.

Back in Albany, the two Republican minority leaders walked out of the so-called leaders meeting on Thursday complaining that they're being left out of the talks amongst the three Democrats. However, Assembly Minority Leader Jim Tedisco has been quite busy with his faltering campaign to replace Kirsten Gillibrand in the 20th CD (and boy do I wish I had some time to write more about that). And the Senate Republicans have voted as a bloc, as Republicans seem to do these days, completely stymieing Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith, who doesn't really have the majority that the Democrats' 32-30 numerical edge indicates he does.

I find it hard to believe that there is not a single Republican Senator who could find it in his or her heart to repeal the Rockefeller drug laws or spare MTA commuters from the doomsday plan. Skelos remarked that his conference is unified in their opposition to the MTA plan. Yet Skelos himself represents constituents in Nassau County who would see their already expensive commuting costs soar by over 20% if nothing is done. And I'd think that relatively few of them would be affected by tolls on the East and Harlem River bridges. The Republican minority is in a position to extract significant concessions in return for their cooperation on issues favored by a majority of the electorate, and on which they came out on the wrong end on Election Day. Instead they're playing political games. And meanwhile, Governor Paterson and Smith show little in the way of leadership, unable to deliver the "majority" they worked so hard to achieve.


Ted Grevelis said...

Great post. Interestingly enough, I owned a piece of King Mobay when he card in California. I have a couple of win pictures on the wall and a great memory of attending his fourth place finish in the Cal Cup Classic a few years ago.

The debacle in Kansas, slots in Maryland and the Big A scenario in NY - all examples of politicians having no idea how to pump life into a business. And also all trying to re-invent the gaming wheel better the last state. Meanwhile Rome burns...

Anonymous said...

Many posters including yours truly, have discussed the Big A versus Belmont Park developments for some time now. Former Governor Spitzer convinced a majority of Albany back in March-April of 2007, that a "friendly" deal with the NYRA, let's call it "The Land Grab" in conjunction with the closure and sale of of the land at Aqueduct, with the grand development at Belmont Park was the way to maximize benefit to the state. The NYRA hasn't ever had any real qualms about not having to race in the freezing cold at Aqueduct, knowing some provision for a shorter late fall-early spring meet would be made at Belmont. An astute political move was to make it look like Delaware North was going to pay a ton of money to develop the Big A, then when they defaulted or tried to modify the deal, the discussion of just doing one grand palace at a downstate racetrack could gain some momentum once again, and as a last ditch concession to the Aqueduct community if necessary, bring in a vendor to hang some machines on the wall to keep the place open just a little bit longer. It all appears to be falling into place. Pheffer, Addabbo, and the local Community Board 10 need to keep making noise!

alan said...

Hey Ted - Thanks, and that's cool that you owned a piece of King Mobay. He's a cool horse, still honest and hard-trying and we love his versatility too. Look for him to run back on the turf next month.