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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Saratoga - Life Goes On

Governor - yes, still! - Paterson said on Tuesday that he doesn’t believe the Saratoga racing meet is threatened.

“There are financial encumbrances that the racing authority is going through, but I wouldn’t project that the Saratoga racing season is in jeopardy at this point."
Feel better yet?
"That may have, in itself, been a bit brash. But the basic notion that the racing association is suffering – the racing association was suffering prior to this recession.” [Capitol Confidential]o
Here, the governor descends into incoherence. Consider too that he made this statement while signing a bill regarding end-of-life health decision making.

That's the kind of decision making that Assemblyman Gary Pretlow was hinting at on Monday. He too dismissed the chances of a shutdown upstate; but still, I found it rather jarring to hear him discuss quite seriously the "worst-case scenario" of Aqueduct or Belmont closing "for a week or two" instead. Pretlow is doing his part to prevent a closure, rejecting NYC OTB's crazy harebrained scheme to cut statutory payments and borrow money; and instead calling for a drastic reduction in executive salaries and the purchase of a single tote operator to serve all of the state's racetracks and regional OTB's. Seems like a reasonable start.

In any event, the way I see it, no way is there any chance of an interruption of racing at Saratoga. That is not happening, I don't care about the doomsday scenario presented in the Times Union's Saratoga Seen blog the other day. Everyone makes money there....well, not everyone. But, you know, the state gets its fair share of the big handle there, and it doesn't have to worry about NYRA for six plus weeks. Maybe they'll even select an operator for Aqueduct by the time it's over.


Anonymous said...

Sorry Alan, I beg to differ. If the state is willing to forego their fair share of the handle on the VLTs for the last eight years, what makes you think they care about the handle at the Spa meet?

Sure, upstate contituents would make a stink, and the meet will probably go on as planned, but purses would need to be cut dramatically at the same time Mth is competing with all time high purses. What a disaster.

I guess the meet itelf is not in jeopardy, but the quality of the meet certainly is.

Anonymous said...

With the combination of the totelizers, would the issues of track take for OTBs be resolved? Probably not. It's a step though.

Steve Zorn said...

hmmm, all the good horses go to Monmouth; guess I shouldn't let go of those $15,000 NY-bred N2Ls just yet. Might be a lot of spots for them at Saratoga.

Jack said...

I think Monmouth is going to put a lot of pressure on Saratoga this Summer. If they are running MSW's at $80k a race and Overnight Stakes at $100k, why wouldn't top trainers, owners and jockeys head to the Jersey Shore for weekends and win the extra cash. Also, I know the Travers has the tradition but a few years in a row now the top 3 year olds have come to Monmouth for the Haskell, not Saratoga. Saratoga has always been easy for NYRA because it was the only big game in town. The competition is getting tough and with NYRA's management the way it is, I would be worried.

alan said...

Just got this press release.



Oceanport, N.J. – A dramatic shift in New Jersey racing will emerge in 2010 when Monmouth Park offers $1 million in average daily purses, by far the highest in North America. Monmouth's million dollar meet, which gets underway on May 22, will showcase 50 live racing dates running through Labor Day, Sept. 6.

In total, New Jersey Thoroughbred racing will see 71 live dates, down from the 141 that have been contested the past several years. After the million dollar meet, Monmouth Park will host a fall racing meet on Saturdays and Sundays through November 21.

"These exciting changes would not have been possible without the collaborative effort of all stakeholders in New Jersey racing; specifically the Governor's Gaming, Sports and Entertainment Advisory Commission and the work of Bob Mulcahy," said Dennis R. Robinson, president and CEO of the New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority, which owns and operates Monmouth Park. "We're confident that this new racing schedule, coupled with the nation's highest purses, will breathe new life into this industry and become a new foundation for racing, breeding and tourism in the Garden State."

Anonymous said...

Alan, you really are naive about government, aren't you? And you no doubt believe that ObamaKare will lower our health care costs, too? Haven't these crooks in Albany and Washington finally convinced you that they care not a whit about anything other than their re-election and cushy perqs of office? And we are the biggest fools of all as we keep re-electing them! It is not business as usual in 2010, the Tea Party is coming to NY soon. /S/greenmtnpunter

alan said...

Lemme tell you something my green mountain friend. The reason that the Repubs are being so intrasigent, and so vocal about how the Democrats are heading towards political suicide is because they know that once HCR is passed, and voters are educated about the advantages that will accrue to them, the tide will turn back to the popular sentiment that threw the bums out in the first place. And the only tea party coming to New York is this one!

steve in nc said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
steve in nc said...

Alan, thanks for deleted the anti-semitic post. I deleted my response, no longer necessary. No surprise to see racism permeating the opposition to health care reform, since the people who would benefit are disproportionately poor and and of color.

And SGM, get the damned K out of Obamacare. You can argue that giving poor people or those with preexisting conditions health coverage is bad policy, or that government isn't good at it, but the hint at KKK brutality has no place in this discussion.

By the way, why did Sarah Palin take her kids to Canada for health care if government is so bad at it anyway. And why do so many of our seniors getting their drugs from Canada if government is incapable of negociating good deals on behalf of its people? Do you guys smoke tea at those tea party meetings? Reality matters.

Anonymous said...

Bloomberg News:

MGM kicked out of New Jersey due to associations with The Ho Family

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J.—In a previously confidential report released Wednesday, New Jersey state regulators said they found that casino operator MGM Mirage erred by partnering with a company for its Macau casino that it knew had links to people connected with organized crime.

"From the beginning of its efforts to enter Macau, MGM pursued partnerships with persons that it knew were associated with those aspects of gaming in Macau most heavily penetrated by organized crime," New Jersey's Division of Gaming Enforcement wrote to the state's Casino Control Commission.
MGM Mirage disclosed the report's existence nearly a year ago, but it had been kept confidential until a hearing Wednesday before the casino commission.

The commission had planned to hold hearings on the report's findings and whether to revoke the state gambling license of Las Vegas-based MGM Mirage, which owns a 50% stake in the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa here. But MGM Mirage worked out a settlement with the enforcement division, which is part of the state attorney general's office, to place its Borgata stake in a trust, in preparation for selling it.

Pansy Ho, managing director of Shun Tak Holdings and daughter of Macau casino billionaire Stanley Ho, leaves the Hong Kong Sanatorium and Hospital after visiting her hospitalized father in early March.

At the hearing, the commission approved that settlement, which allowed it to release the report, some of which was redacted.
The report says that the enforcement division found sufficient evidence to determine that Macau casino heiress Pansy Ho, who is MGM Mirage's joint-venture partner in the Chinese gambling enclave, could be susceptible to influence by "unsuitable persons" because of the tight business relationship she shares with her father, Stanley Ho. Mr. Ho, who once had a casino monopoly in Macau, has long been suspected by parties including the U.S. State Department of ties to organized crime.

Mr. Ho has never faced charges of any kind, and has disputed allegations about having criminal ties. Ms. Ho has said she is independent of her father, despite their business relationship.
Representatives of the Hos couldn't be reached for comment Wednesday................

New Jersey regulators, however, found the potential for negative influence from Mr. Ho. "In addition to his substantial although indirect funding of Pansy Ho's joint-venture equity contributions, Stanley Ho was present at every major event leading to the opening of the joint venture, including the signing of the joint-venture agreement at his personal residence, the groundbreaking and the grand opening," regulators wrote. "In most, if not all instances, he was present at the invitation of MGM.".......

Under the terms of the settlement with the state approved Wednesday, MGM Mirage is the sole beneficiary of the divestment trust. The company has 18 months to sell its stake in the Borgata and related property. If the sale isn't completed by then, the trustee would have 12 months to sell the stake. Any sale would have to be approved by the New Jersey commission.

Anonymous said...

When did Sarah Palin take her kids to Canada for healthcare, exactly?

Provide a source.

She has admitted that in the 1960's her parents took her brother and sister, once each, to Canada in emergency situations simply because there was no doctor in their small town capable of handling the situation. They lived on the border and the nearest facility was in Canada, would have needed to take plane to Juneau otherwise.

I am no supporter of the woman but to fabricate lies to win an argument is pitiful, and damn if the obamacare believers wont throw every lie out there at every opportunity this week trying to get this unconstitutional financial debacle passed.

Anonymous said...

"Believe it or not - this was in the 60s - we used to hustle on over the border for health care that we would receive in Whitehorse. I remember my brother, he burned his ankle in some little kid accident thing, and my parents had to put him on a train and rush him over to Whitehorse, and I think, isn't that kind of ironic now. Zooming over the border, getting health care from Canada."

Palin's father said Monday they had little choice, given their location in Skagway.

"There was no road out of there at that time," said retired teacher Chuck Heath, reached by phone in Wasilla. "The ferry schedule was very erratic. We had no doctor in Skagway. The plane schedule was very erratic. The winds dictated whether the planes could come in or not."

Anonymous said...


Can you or someone else please explain to me why in the world the Florida Derby is now run 6 weeks before the Ky Derby. ??? Is that not the dumbest thing anybody has ever heard of ? Basically, if you run your options are a) run in the Ky Derby off a six week layoff or b). run again between the Florida and Ky derby and then run a tired horse in The Ky Derby. ??? What, do they have a team of monkeys working around the clock in the gulfstream racing office ?Clearly they lost Eskenderaya , the Kentucky Derby favorite at this point because of this Ridiculous Florida derby six weeks out placement...

Anonymous said...

"and voters are educated about the advantages that will accrue to them,"

It is this precise arrogant elitist attitude that created the tea party movement in the first place

Yeah, I am an idiot, please "educate" me about all its benefits.

They have been educating us for a full year now, we all pretty much know what is in the damn bill (at least the last publicly released version, because of course no one knows what they are voting for this week,so much for that transparency promise), and the overwhelming majority of the public opposes the thing.

And again, yes the Repubs are intransigent, because they oppose the bill, that is their right.

But we see right through the "blame the republicans" lies, time to find another rallying cry.

Dems have the majority in both houses, they could have passed this thing a long time ago if THEY could agree. They probably will pass something this week to try and salvage a presidency, and then it will probably be overturned after they are all swept from office in November.

I would bet on Big A VLTs materializing before anyone sees any "benefits" from this bill, in fact it is a 1-5 shot. They would be 1-9 except for the distinct possibility that the VLTs may break down.

SaratogaSpa said...

I like Scott Murphy (D-NY)from the 20th Congressional District's take on this health care bill:

"We haven't even seen" a final bill, Murphy told North Country Public Radio in an interview broadcast Wednesday. "I find it hard to believe that so many people know what they're going to do before they can see the legislation."

Makes sense to me.

alan said...

>>Can you or someone else please explain to me why in the world the Florida Derby is now run 6 weeks before the Ky Derby. ???

Only Frank knows. No logic or explanation I can think of. Six weeks off before the Derby was more than even the Toddster could bear.

>>They have been educating us for a full year now...

Yeah, unfortunately the teachers are the Glenn Becks of the world who have spread lies and distortions and unfounded claims of government takeovers and single payer plans (for which the bill falls woefully short). You used the word "idiots" to describe those who have fallen for their crap, not I. Yes, the Democrats failed to take advantage of their majority to pass a bill sooner, but that's because the party includes lawmakers who have different opinions, and take carefully considered positions on the issues rather than just falling in line with party leaders considering only their own political ambitions, and with no interest whatsoever in tackling the health care crisis in this country. Just a single-minded agenda of driving this president, who has bent over backwards to try and incorporate their ideas, from office.

Anonymous said...

If this government health care takeover somehow is not aborted, we will be talking about nothing else from now until the end of time. Just like in Britain..... just talking about it for the past 14 months has killed any chances of an economic recovery. Why? Because the country has already given a big vote of "No Confidence" in the Obama-Pelosi-Reid Government....worse than Bush, worse than Cah-tah....this monster health care takeover will not stand and just means more time wasted and a standstill economy....FACT: The country does not want this health care takeover and one way or another it will be shoved back down Obama-Pelosi-Reid's throats where it belongs. STOP KILLING THIS COUNTRY, WILL YA???!!! Meanwhile, Alan, NY State Treasury is withholding $500 mm in refund checks.... so just exactly where is NYRA in line for the $30mm it needs? Will the all knowing, all wise Albany Government ride to the rescue this time? I hope NYRA is holding on to whatever it owes the state in pari- mutuel share, franchise, simulcast revenues, fees etc...."set off" as the bankers and lawyers call it. /S/greenmtnpunter

ballyfager said...

Is this still a horseracing blog?

Someone once said, "Saratoga is for people who don't know about Monmouth Park"

Maybe this summer some folks can come out of the dark and realize that MTH is a much better place to go racing than SAR.

And don't give me that crap about tradition. Saratoga has been going downhill for a long, long time.

alan said...

>>And don't give me that crap about tradition. Saratoga has been going downhill for a long, long time.

Just wait until this summer. Between the extra dilution of the already too-long meet and the competition from Monmouth, many if not most of the cards will be indistinguishable from Belmont, if not Aqueduct.

>>FACT: The country does not want this health care takeover and one way or another it will be shoved back down Obama-Pelosi-Reid's throats where it belongs.

Maybe. The people will speak in November.

steve in nc said...

SGM - Are you aware that Reagan denounced Medicare as socialism? But this year, Ken Steele went on TV to say we have to defeat Obama's health care reform to save Medicare?

Has Medicare been the death of America's seniors and brought the collapse of free enterprise? Or does the socialism slur only apply to new government initiatives, and not the old commie plots that people have come to realize are really really good, like Medicare and Social Security (also formerly denounced as socialism).

Child labor laws, workplace safety laws and the minimum wage were also correctly labeled government intrusion by the rich folks who opposed those laws and the poor stooges who bought the line about how it would hurt the working folk by taking away jobs.

Do you think our founding fathers were anarchists who fought to have NO government or was the real tea party about representative government? Obama swamped the right in the last election and it is high time he started acting like it.

Anonymous said...

It is a pity that NY racing could never escape the long arms of the pols....NY racing has been over- regulated to the point of now losing it's competitive edge, and BIG GOVERNMENT is to blame.

We went through all of this at the time the franchise was renewed....the system is just too corrupt to reform. I can remember in the '70's and '80's when Monmouth was going well it was still not on the same level as Saratoga.

NJ, long the off-Broadway home of racing, has apparently made the moves necessary to take advantage of NY's public sector paralysis and it's resulting negative impact on NYRA. That is good business on Jersey's part.

Chris Christie, their new Republican Governor, is administering the nasty Rx - NY will soon be following suit. Where are the NY leaders with the necessary guts to lead?

Will some of the big money NY, Dubai, and KY racing families and stables be willing to kick in some dough since they need to keep NY # 1 in the racing world? NY racing cannot be allowed to drop to second place. /S/greenmtnpunter

Anonymous said...

I just don't get IT. How much does NYRA need to stay viable until those wretches in Albany finally come up with an operator for the VLTs? $20 Million? $40 Million? In today's dollars that's chump change for the NYRA Board Members themselves. Why don't they just get together and lend the money to NYRA? And since it's a rock solid investment because the VLT Hoopla is forcing those Albany wretches to finally act, NYRA could pay them back with interest. In fact, why not give them the same interest we of the hoi poloi earn in our Chase or Citibank savings accounts, i.e. 0.25% per annum?

Anonymous said...

Right, Anon, you wouldn't have to leave the NYRA Board, and/ or the Saratoga Clubhouse boxholders, before you raised $30 mill...secured by VLT receivables and the "good faith and credit" of the Empire State. This could encourage a hedge fund to take a flyer at a decent ROI. Is this an opportune time to privatize NY racing and shed much of the regulatory burden of the current franchise arrangement? Just wondering. /S/greenmtnpunter

Anonymous said...

Is the New NYRA allowed to raise capital from the private sector?

Have they legally emerged from bankruptcy?

So many questions, but either of the above questions may explain why they have not gone to private lenders.

If the answer to both questions is yes then it would make a nice hedge fund investment.