I was really surprised at the announcement that the Saratoga meet will be extended by four days to an even 40. I hadn't heard any clamoring for expansion, and besides, the meet already seemed a week too long to me for sure. NYRA President/CEO Charlie Hayward said:
"Going into this year’s Saratoga meet, we predicted that wagering would decline approximately 5 percent from last year. We greatly exceeded those expectations.....The expansion to four racing days was a measured decision that reflects the overwhelming demand for racing that we have from horsemen in Saratoga. At a time when many tracks in the country had to cut back on racing days [blah blah blah...] [The Saratogian]Look, Charlie can go on all day about how great Saratoga is, but we all know exactly why NYRA has extended the neet. I truly wonder, and rather doubt, that this move would have been made had slots been up and running at the Big A. I do believe that most interested parties (other than local restaurant owners and Tom Federlin), including NYRA officials, would have agreed that the meet had already reached its limit, and possibly beyond it in terms of the quality of the races. However, with the timeline for slots already extended beyond NYRA's initial estimates of how long its cash would hold out, every little bit helps. And four days upstate instead of three and a dark day downstate will account for far more than just a little bit.
Of course, more racing at Saratoga means less down here, and what of those amongst us who don't have the time or the money to spend a lot of time upstate? You know, the degenerates who support the racing during its most moribund days in the dead of winter? That makes seven summer weekends with no live thoroughbred racing in the metropolitan area....and one less of the Friday sunset racing, which may very well qualify as the most festive downstate racing dates of the year other than the Belmont Stakes. That's a long gap...and it kind of sucks. It smacks of elitism, you know, the northeast liberal kind!
A longtime reader and fellow hopeful Jets fan writes:
I have always wondered if, during Saratoga, they could run on Tuesday at Big A or even Belmont just to give downstaters like us a chance at live racing.I know, there are a hundred practical and logistical reasons why that will never happen, but it's an interesting thought....and I'd take a staycation day or two to check that out too.
In the past I imagined running an almost all turf card filled with races they would not card upstate, 2yo turf races, Md Clm and MdNY on the turf, turf sprints, and a couple of cheap claimers on the dirt, but now they run them all up there.
They could also card the cheaper jumper races that have been eliminated, make it a fair atmosphere....10 races on a Tuesday beginning at noon, I will be there.
The good news is that I do believe that this is it for expansion....at least assuming that one day, maybe even before
- With the Senate Democratic leadership off to China for nine days, it looks like it will be at least another couple of weeks before we have that decision. The trip was criticized by Rick Lazio, the nondescript only yet-to-be-declared Republican candidate for governor, who said: “If I were going to send an economic ambassador to another country, the last person I’d send is an Albany politician." Hey, that's actually funny!
For the record, the trip is not being paid for by taxpayer money as I speculated the other day. In fact, many of the lawmakers are paying for it themselves. Not so, however, Senators Sampson and Smith are using campaign funds, which I'm sure delights their contributors.
- The defense rested in the trial of State Senator Hiram Monserrate without calling him to the stand. "We don't need to do anyone's work for them," said his slick lawyer Joseph Tacopino. With his girlfriend not having testified directly about the incident, neither of the two principals were able to tell their story of just what transpired. Justice William M. Erlbaum will have to make his decision (in the non-jury trial), following next week's closing arguments, based on what I found to be undefinitive visual evidence of the aftermath of the incident, and the she-said/she-said accounts of what the victim did or did not say at the hospital. “I don’t know how this thing is going to turn out as we sit here today,” the judge said. But I'd be pretty shocked if Monserrate is not acquitted of the most serious charges against him.