Teresa took the Head Chef and I up to the roof on Sunday, and it's a stunning view of the track indeed. While we were there, she mentioned to me something about a comment left here regarding an article by James Odato in the Times Union detailing some fresh accusations regarding the integrity of Genting. So I checked it out when I got back to Queens, but it didn't really register, as fatigued as I was after driving through steady, and at times torrential, rain all the way home.
So I read it again in the morning.....and again later on.....and I'm still not totally getting it regarding what is termed in the article as "serious questions about the honesty of key officials with a Malaysian conglomerate." The charges are being raised by Joseph Bernstein, a former CEO of Empire Resorts, the parent company of Monticello in which a company related to Genting invested last year. The essence of the accusations is that two Genting officials, G. Michael "Mickey" Brown and "Colin" Au Fook Yew, installed on the board of Empire, breached their fiduciary responsibility to that publicly traded company.
The biggest violation, Bernstein said, was when Brown and Au became part of the Genting team that developed the winning Aqueduct bid.Yeah, must be quite a large number of New York City residents that makes its way from New York City, skipping right past the Empire City Casino at Yonkers, shunning the table games at Mt. Airy Lodge, to travel up to Monticello to play the slots; I'm so sure. Personally, I think the most suspicious thing about these two guys is the fact that they each have part of their names in quotation marks. You can never trust guys like that. Not to mention that Bernstein, who was fired last December, owns a million shares of Empire stock; a fact buried in the article by the reporter, who has an ongoing and clear agenda against NYRA and anything that might threaten to lift it out of its current mess.
Aqueduct's 4,525-machine racino, Bernstein said, will injure Empire Resorts' modest racino by sending New York City residents away from Empire's Sullivan County operation.
Not to say that Bernstein doesn't raise some points which may be legitimate from an aggrieved shareholder's view, particularly regarding the officers' efforts, or lack thereof they say, to maintain relations with the Mohawk tribe which recently announced that it would not proceed with a casino at Monticello. But the Aqueduct argument seems pretty weak. And besides, it involves the kind of conflict that an Albany lawmaker can fully relate to. I don't expect this to be any more of a threat to the racino than the lame AEG lawsuit (and what ever happened to the appeal?).
- Not a good Sunday and Monday for attendance at Saratoga, with just about 32,500 combined. That should really be the attendance for a Sunday alone. But NYRA spins and soldiers on, noting in a press release that while attendance is down more than 10%, all sources handle "remains steady" with a decline of 4.8% which is (just about) explained by a 3.3% decline in the number of races run over the same period.
Kantharos is undoubtedly the most exciting two-year old to this point after his dominant win in the short-field Saratoga Special....and aren't you really glad that Jess Jackson owns him? The owner paid $250,000 for this son of Lion Heart out of a Southern Halo mare who has dropped two other sprint stakes winners - Ikigai and Bonifacio. This colt, inbred to Mr. Prospector, Northern Dancer, and Hail to Reason, hails from the distaff family of the one-time hot two-year old First Samurai And gee, we wouldn't want to see Kantharos flame out at three like that one did, would we? And deprive ourselves of the spectacle of Jess Jackson owning a favorite for the Derby? First Samurai is standing at Claiborne for $30,000, down from $40,000 when he went to stud. He has four winners from his first crop, including the Schuylerville winner Le Mi Geaux.