You might have noticed a photo of a thoroughbred race horse on page 1 of today's New York Times. Unfortunately, and as you might expect, it does not accompany a story which marks the run-up to the Kentucky Derby a week from this coming Saturday. Instead, it's a piece on a horse named Overdose, currently the rage in Hungary with a perfect 12-for-12 record. So, for horses, I guess you have to be either a hero in a depressed nation starving for one of any kind, or drop dead after the finish line of the Derby to get on the front page of the Paper of Record these days.
But the Overdose story illustrates one of my ongoing themes - that the love of horse racing is an inherent quality of us silly humans, no matter what the geography or politics may be. I do believe the time will come when a horse once again captures the imagination of the public at large in this country, and provides a major boost to the sport at large. It will be a certain animal with a certain story at a certain time. Don't know when that will be.....except that it apparently won't be around the classics this spring.
I also see that the Times is starting up its The Rail blog again....just around 12 days before the Derby, and certain to come to an end shortly after the Belmont as it did last year. The Times is even chintzy with its cyberspace when it comes to racing. Hockey, a sport which the paper has largely shunned in print since the lockout, has the year-round Slap Shot blog (excellent, by the way). But they can only spare less than two months for racing? For a blog to which I and many others donated their time and effort for absolutely no compensation last year?
- Excellent catch by this reader...as I've often said, this site is only as good as the feedback it generates from you guys. In this article from Black Enterprise dated March 19, R. Donohue Peebles, the CEO of Peebles Development Corp, which was to be Delaware North's construction partner on its scuttled Big A racino deal, discloses some information about the original $370 million down payment that I'd never read before.
"Delaware North was going to operate a casino there for slots and they were going to pay the state a licensing fee of $370 million. They were going to pay that licensing fee in four quarterly payments. And so in essence, it was an installment plan from day one and that was going to be about $92 million every quarter."Peebles adds that Delaware North planned to borrow $270 million of that fee; but when the credit markets froze, it offered the state the $100 million up front, and to pay the balance off within three years.
So, a couple of points....As the reader pointed out, the quarterly payment plan which Peebles mentions is new to me, and seems contrary to the terms of the MOU, and to the notion that the money was going to be part of the fiscal year that ended on April 1. So, his/her suspicion of 'favoritism' towards Del North is certainly understandable. And secondly, at this point, how much better of a deal does the state think it's going to get than the $100 million up front and another $270 within three years that Del North offered, at least according to Peebles?