Hillsboro Bay, euthanized following the 9th race at the Big A on Wednesday, was the 16th fatality thus far on the inner track, and the 7th since Feb 25th. Jeez! It's actually the main track about which I've heard safety concerns in the past, but NYRA officials now can't wait to get back on that surface, moving its date of operation up by two weeks. That announcement was termed as "coincidentally" by the Form's David Grening, but I'm not so sure about that. NYRA insists that the inner track is safe, and personally I have little reason to doubt that. These unfortunate streaks happen, and are, more often than not, a statistical oddity that's bound to occur from time to time.
The bizarre spate of catastrophic injuries has even captured the attention of Governor Cuomo, who sent a letter to Charles Hayward demanding that NYRA conduct an investigation into the breakdowns. Really? I mean, how the hell did Cuomo even know about this? Is he following Grening on Twitter while he's not working on the budget, pension reform, DNA databases, and giving in to the Senate Republican goons and the laughable redistricting lines he'd previously pledged to veto?
The letter, on Cuomo stationery, was signed by Bennett Liebman, Deputy Secretary for Gaming, and Robert Megna, Director of New York State Division of the Budget. Megna is also the chairman of the Franchise Oversight Board, which oversees NYRA's operations. [Daily Racing Form]Ah. Been wondering what Ben Liebman has been up to since he disappeared into the Cuomo Administration. Hadn't heard from him lately, but good to see he's helping to look out for the governor's political interests. Because the governor, while he might be a nice guy and a family man who's for equal rights and world peace, surely doesn't give a rat's ass about dead horses at the track. If you look a bit closer at the letter (without even having to read between its lines), you'll see that this all fits in with his narrative questioning the viability of the sport and the slots revenues currently being diverted to it.
"Everyone understands that horse racing poses risks....but that cannot be an excuse for our inaction. The status quo in all aspects of horse racing is not working, and we need to develop procedures now that work for the horses, riders and the racing public in New York."Additionally, the letter states that NYRA should pay for the investigation, pointing to the fact that it has received some $15 million in slots revenues from Resort World thus far. That fits right in with Cuomo's recent comments that questions how much, and if, the state wants to 'quote-unquote' subsidize the industry. This governor has shown more outright hostility towards the sport than all of his recent predecessors combined, and, as far as NYRA and horse racing in the state goes, his expected run to succeed President Obama in 2016 can't come soon enough.
- The agreement between the legislature and the governor on casino gambling calls for the addition of up to seven non-Indian facilities across the state. So it surely should be quite interesting how the New York Gaming Association (NYGA) of the existing racinos reacts, because that math doesn't add for them. You see, NYGA has been advocating for casinos to be located at their nine facilities. So, even if these existing facilities are tabbed as the casino locations, two of them are going to be left out. So there surely could be some infighting within what has heretofore been a tight-knit group, at least outwardly. Can't quite see Genting going: "Oh, it's OK Yonkers and Jeff Gural, you take it." The governor says that decisions on the locations won't take place until next year....and I'd guess that's at the earliest. So, this should be fun.