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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

What's The Problem?

Nah, haven't been posting much I know, been busy with tons of music (which I'll have to catch up on here, maybe this weekend when we're on Fire Island where there's absolutely nothing to do) and other summer events in and around the city. Besides, it's the usual summer doldrums before Saratoga and Del Mar as far as racing goes.....even doldrum-ier this year given the possibly record-breaking heat.

So, catching up a bit on NYC OTB....James Odato wrote of outrage and investigations in the Assembly over the hire, at $125,000 a month, of Greg Rayburn to run NYC OTB. And the board of OTB is also steaming, particularly over what they perceive to be some conflict of interest involving NYRA.

Rayburn worked with Brian Rosen, NYRA's bankruptcy lawyer -- which is either a potential conflict or something that presents the appearance of one, Newman said.....NYRA has desires on some of the OTB's core assets -- including the highly valuable Internet and telephone betting units -- and Rayburn's plan for the OTB could include mergers or sell-offs.

Newman wonders if NYRA had a hand in Rayburn's candidacy. NYRA has refused to answer questions about Rayburn, although it has been publicly supportive of his hiring. [Times Union]
OK, first of all, I don't have a problem with the guy's long as he produces results of course. As I've said, the situation is a massive train wreck in need of expert help, as expensive as it might be. And if he stays for six months and helps to craft a solution acceptable and beneficial to all sides the racing industry, it will be a drop in the bucket, especially considering the waste that came before him. That probably wouldn't come to much more than they ended up paying their PR firm, which Rayburn finally got rid of, along with several highly paid execs. These are not things that should have required such a high-priced guy to do! I mean, c'mon, it really had to get to this point before someone would finally get rid of the damn fleet of cars??

I also don't particularly care if NYRA did indeed have some influence on his hiring. The industry which supplies the product has been screwed over so badly by OTB (and not just NYC OTB), that it seems fitting and altogether appropriate for it to be intimately involved in any restructuring. NYRA, said by Odato to have not commented on Rayburn, did so subsequently in the form of an interview with Charlie Hayward by Paul Post of the Saratogian.
“It appears that Mr. Rayburn is serious about attacking the significant operating and financial issues of New York City OTB that have been ignored for years.....New York City OTB is very important to the racing industry in New York and across the country. I assume that all industry participants will be willing to endure some pain to get this entity back on track. NYRA stands ready to assist Mr. Rayburn in any way that he deems appropriate.” [Saratogian]
That's the kind of stiff, scripted-sounding statement that might lead one to believe that the critics have a point. I imagine that the harness guys might be a little wary hearing him talk about enduring pain. They're going to want to get their two cents in too, and they're not going to give up easily on matters such as dark day and maintenance of effort payments, both of which will surely be targeted for elimination, without a fight.

- Big fields at Saratoga for opening day. I've had ample say about what I think about the extended meet, and that's it for the negativity; time for the racing. I know I must be cranky about the subject because Paul Morose echoed my sentiments completely. But races like this one can make one forget that the meet is too.....well, maybe a tad overextended!

- A reader commented on the last post: Hard to believe but rockaway has better fish tacos! And the Head Chef recently wrote about the subject of his/her affection on Grapes and Greens.


Figless said...

Methinks the Marvin S. might be in line for Grade 3 status next year, very nice race.

Sad part of the OTB consultant money wasted, not a penny, as far as I can tell, was spent in the State of NY.

Like I wrote earlier, every step taken by the "restructure" guy is completly obvious to any logical person and should and could have been done years ago.

I guess he gets paid for being the bad guy, if so, he is worth every penny.

jk said...

It has been reported Rayburn expects to be there for 3-4 months. He will be gone before the "investigation" into his hiring is finished.

Where is the political outrage into all of the money being paid to multiple Regional OTB Chairmen, board members and senior execs. Surely the amount of money paid to this group is much higher than what Rayburn will get for a few months of work.

I am not holding my breath.

jk said...

via Page 6, big news about Siro's...

Entourage' stars back Saratoga eatery

Last Updated: 1:17 AM, July 21, 2010

Posted: 12:50 AM, July 21, 2010

Two of the stars of HBO's hit "Entourage" now own a piece of a restaurant catering to the horsey set in upstate Saratoga Springs. Kevin Connolly (who plays "E") and Kevin Dillon ("Drama") are among the investors backing the new owners of Siro's, a popular eatery next door to the Saratoga Race Course. Mortgage banker Keith Kantrowitz said his partners in newly formed Racing Restaurants of America include New York Post publisher Paul Carlucci and Steven Schoenfeld, managing partner of a New York-based financial services firm.

Figless said...

Johnny V is a partner too.

Big news in NJ, Christie is trying to privatize Mth and Meadowlands, selling the tracks, I hope to racing and not real estate interests.

jk said...

One more comment; OTB is in bankruptcy and NYRA is a senior creditor. It is no surprise Rayburn has a NYRA connection. This is the way the ball bounces in bankruptcy court.

DiscreetPicks said...

Del Mar - Race 6

#8 Ruffled Feathers (3/1 ml)

This filly looks like a standout, i think. Made her seasonal debut with a sharp win over today's one-mile distance on grass, then came back and ran the good stakes horse UR All That I Am to a half-length decision on the main track. Switched back to a mile on grass for her next start, and won easily once again, then was much the best last time out despite finishing third. She settled well off the pace in last in a small 4-horse field, with Oui Say Oui (also entered here) allowed to set a very soft early pace. Cut sharply into the slow pace entering the turn to briefly pass the other two horses for second, but then had to sit and wait behind Oui Say Oui while boxed in along the rail and totally full of run. Tried to rally through a tight spot along the rail when Oui Say Oui drifted out a bit coming off the turn, but then hole closed and this filly was forced to check hard, dropping back and losing all chance but then re-rallying strongly late to miss by just 1 1/2 lengths at the wire. Should have much more pace to run at here, and as long as Espinoza doesn't steer her back into traffic, she figures tough to deny here.

DiscreetPicks said...

Ruffled Feathers wins @ $7.80

Anonymous said...

Thanks Discreet Picks. Threw $10 win on that one.

Figless said...

The only two year old race on Del Mar's opening day card was a maiden claimer finale.

When Rayburn is done with NYC OTB please send him to he MTA, TBTA, PA, NYC SCA, and every other authority in the Metropolitan area.

The state budget would be balanced in a heart beat, but the unemployment rate would rise.