jp got on my case for calling the HOTY award a "joke" and a "farce;" he thought I went too far, and that it was not my finest moment. Maybe. That was my honest gut reaction though. And you do want me to be honest, right? It's not something I'd really given much thought to....partly perhaps because I'm not at all tuned in to every social network and media platform like Joe Drape is; partly because I don't really care, and otherwise because I thought Blame was a foregone conclusion after defeating Zenyatta in a race which, as close as it was, was not, by the way, quite as close as some make it out to be. I think one can make the case that they could have proverbially "gone around the track again," and the result wouldn't have been different. (OK, maybe halfway around the track..) I thought Blame saw her and held her off at the very end, and she did not gain any additional ground in the immediate aftermath of the finish.
Well, regardless, I'm certainly not here to dis Zenyatta, who's a worthy champion even if not a deserving one. I've been a big supporter over the years, and thought she should have won last year. But she lost to Blame in the Classic, period. Some people commented that the Classic is not the last word on Horse of the Year, and I guess that's (obviously) true. But, as far as I'm concerned, given the way that the Breeders Cup has so diminished the several months leading up to it - from my perspective, the once-glorious Belmont Fall meeting has been reduced to a series of prep races - it sure as hell better have some profound meaning and consequence other than the big purses for the owners and opportunities for Kentucky breeders.
- I thought I was a smart guy when I wrote the other day about the 1990 law which permits NYRA to run simulcast teletheaters, but Matt Hegarty had written about it last month. As to why NYRA hadn't taken advantage of the law before now, he explained:
NYRA was capable of applying for the licenses for the past 20 years, but getting the required approvals from the New York State Racing and Wagering Board, the mayor, and the city council was impractical with New York City OTB on the scene. With that barrier removed, those approvals would likely be forthcoming – as long as the state is not interested in bidding out the OTB operation to any private interests. [DRF]- NY Senate Democratic Leader John Sampson says no pork-barrel spending. This coming from a guy who authorized $118,244 in spending to the law firm of Thompson, Wigdor & Gilly....related to an investigation....into bidding to develop slot machines at...Aqueduct. [Capital Confidential] (How's that for some ... editing?) That was campaign money and, as CapCon noted, legal defense payments are lawful and not uncommonly paid by campaigns. This "legal defense" however was an attempt to quash the due process of the investigation altogether....and furthermore contributed to some $3 million in debt incurred by the now-minority party.
I called my State Senator to ask how she can still support Sampson as party leader. Had a nice conversation with her chief of staff, who told me that the IG's report is just a report, and that the Senator would surely take a close look if any further investigations or efforts to indict should bear fruit, yeah, whatever. Still, some of the those accusations, such as Sampson giving details of rival bids to AEG's lobbyist, have been uncontested and accepted as fact....and not a single word of the report has been disputed by Sampson, at least as far as I know. Personally, I think he's a stooge and a clown, and I don't take seriously anything he says nor that of anyone who still lends their support. And that's my honest gut reaction to that.
- And finally - a little something for everyone here - how could I possibly pass up on a horse named Coach Ryan in Wednesday's 4th at Gulfstream; how's that for a hunch bet? But this six-year old gelded son of Broad Brush, stakes place twice in 2008, dropped in for a tag off a 22 month layoff, and lagged early before rallying for third into slow fractions on a sloppy track. Drops further off the claim for Ken Ramsey and trainer Michael Maker; looks shaky here as the 5-2 morning line favorite. Manny Who (5-1) woke up to win when stretched out, dropped in class and well supported at the tote two races back; then moved back up, wheeled back in a sprint a week later, rallied from last midway around the turn, bulled his way determinedly between horses and just missed in a spirited performance. Moves up here to open claimers (though down in tag), stretches back out and attracts Castellano.
In the 6th, R Vicarious Girl (4-1) ships in for Wesley Ward, 18-6-1-2 on the meeting. This daughter of Vicar was sharp in two tries, at this claiming level, since switching to this barn....and, in fact, has four wins and a second in five starts for Ward in intermittent stints for the barn over the last couple of years. Showed good speed in those last two, but is capable of rating with a couple of speedy times to the outside. Should be well-positioned for the stretch drive from the two hole with the class dropping favorite Entertaining (3-1) stuck on the far outside. Best of luck and have a great day.