Well, it's still coming soon according to the signs, despite the unhappiness, and even hesitation, expressed by Genting in reaction to Governor Paterson's Catskills casino plans. The outgoing governor is scheduled to be in Monticello - along with Senator Chuck Schumer - for an official announcement of a deal with the Wisconsin-based Stockbridge-Munsee tribe.
And now we finally hear from the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association. Having acquiesced in the matter of the NYCOTB reorganization plan which could have adverse effects on their standardbred brethren, now they see their own interests threatened. So they've called on Paterson to postpone the announcement.
"I am writing to express our frustration and disbelief that your office has been in negotiations with the SMMN to establish a full-blown casino in Sullivan County, as the ink has barely dried on the Genting/Aqueduct racino project."Even should the governor proceed however, the project still faces an uncertain future.
"If I were a betting man, I wouldn't booking any reservations at this casino anytime soon," said Mark Izeman, the director of the [National Resource Defense Council's] New York program. [Herald Record]Besides the strong environmental challenges that will be put forth by that and other groups, the project faces court challenges from other tribes - particularly the Oneida tribe, which has a competing land claim - and still requires the approval of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.
So, for now, (as far as we know!), the plans at the Big A proceed, as I discovered on Saturday, my first day at the meet.
No, no slots yet, but NYRA hosted a group of subcontractors on this day.
Well, when I walk into the Garden these days, I see signs about asbestos abatement, so what's a little dust and droppings?
There's surely some short-term pain for the long-term gain at this meeting. The seating area on the third floor grandstand - the best view in the house - is now blocked off.
And I was quite surprised to see the Lexington Room on the second floor closed off to all but Authorized Personnel. I'd spent less time there over the last few years after they changed the seating arrangement, but that was my main hangout for quite some time; many a winter evening after the live racing was done. I saw regulars whose faces have grown well familiar over that time scattered into the adjoining Man O War room and up on the Equestris level. Hopefully, it will one day be back, far better than before. (Unless Genting is turning it into their office?)
Still, despite the temporary inconveniences, it's nice to be back. 3,935 at Aqueduct seems a whole lot livelier than twice that much at the cavernous Belmont.
- In the 4th, first-time starter Yankee Kitten ($7) was a hot number on the grass for trainer Chad Brown, who has established a bit of a reputation for himself with this kind. This two-year old son of Kitten's Joy was stuck towards the back of the pack as they dawdled up front - a nearly 27-second second quarter as they went to the half in 51.3; three-quarters in 1:17. From there, they sprinted home in 24.5 and six seconds flat for the last sixteenth, during which Yankee Kitten blew by for the win; nice effort. He's out of a Southern Halo mare, and is inbred (4x5) to Hail to Reason, which seems to becoming more popular these days, and 5x5 to Prince John.
In the Discovery, Not Abroad made a menacing move four wide heading for home. But he hung in the stretch; as I feared, probably not his optimal distance. Still, a good run at 7-1, and I ran second and third in the exacta, oh well; a day of close-but-no cigar for me. NY-bred Stormy's Majesty ($9.10) led all the way for the win, his first in open company, for trainer Dominic Galluscio.