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Friday, September 07, 2012

NYGA Tiptoes Back In

The New York Gaming Association (NYGA) of New York's racinos has been rather quiet since Governor Cuomo referred to them as a "scandal," adding that he "100% opposes" the notion of its members getting exclusive rights to casinos....should they, of course, be approved by voters in a referendum that will presumably take place next November.

Now they are back, but in a much-subdued way.  In a new "multi-million" TV ad campaign, it seems NYGA are simply trying to rehabilitate their image at this point in time.  Gone are the push-poll results, any talk of "responsible gaming," fear mongering over the notion of full-fledged gambling unleashed anywhere in the state, and any hint of a suggestion that the tracks therefore should have exclusive rights to casinos.  In fact, expanded gaming is not even mentioned at all.  Just some facts and figures about the contribution that the facilities have made to education, to which it is portrayed as a "reliable partner," on track to contribute $1 billion for schools - "Equaling the salaries of 13,000 teachers."  (That's $76,923.08 per teacher.  Seems like a good deal.  For the state, not the teachers.  They should be making ten times that much.)  Here's the ad.

Notice they got in a little dig against the governor by noting that they pay "one of the highest tax rates in the country."  And you call us a scandal, governor?   He's not listening, he's been in Charlotte.  Not that anyone really noticed.

 - Belmont opens on Saturday, and yeah, it's gonna be empty OK?, we don't need the obligatory pieces about how deserted it seems.  They'll be less people than at Saratoga, and the place is too damn big.  Doesn't make for a very compelling atmosphere.  On many days, "sleepy" is the word that often comes to mind.   And that's not good for a racetrack.

So when I read of talk of alternate development for the vast, mostly unused, parking lots and other areas, it is surely not surprising, and not necessarily alarming.  Though I suppose we could do without a power plant there. [Newsd....]

In the 5th, A Prettydixie (8-1) stretches out a bit after showing good early foot while chasing a very fast pace - and a hot number in first-time starter Heading to Toga - in her debut upstate, on the grass.  Trainer Pat Kelly has really been struggling to get in the winner's circle, just one winner from his last 49 starters; but it's a capable barn.  So we'll say that he's due.  This filly figures to improve with distance, being a daughter of Dixie Union, out of an AP Indy mare who's a half-sister to Riskaverse, the fine turf filly - two time 1 1/4 mile G1 Flower Bowl winner - who raced for Kelly and owner Fox Ridge Farms, who also owns this filly.  This is also the distaff family of the champion filly Havre de Grace (whose 3rd dam is the 2nd dam of A Prettydixie).  In fact, I'd really like to see her around two turns, but willing to try her at this 7 furlong distance at or around her morning line.  Rosalie's Pleasure (3-1) passed the top pick in the stretch after sitting back mid-pack, and can surely do so again with a similar pace scenario with the added distance.

In the 9th, All Zipped Up (6-1) cuts back to seven furlongs for trainer Andrew Lakeman.  This gelded son of City Zip has been on the improve this year, and finally graduated in his 32nd try when adding Rosie and trying today's distance for the first time.  Surely fair to scoff at a horse like that; but it was a legitimate effort, earning a competitive figure as he came home under a hand ride an a lively 12 1/5 after a four wide sweep on the turn.  He validated that effort with a good first try against winners, hanging in for 4th at a mile and a sixteenth, beaten less than two lengths after being wide on both turns.  Second and third place finishers Ambit (who I still can't believe didn't win that race) and Chilton came back to run quite well again.  Renzo Bertoni (5-1) drops in class for Allen Jerkens, seems fast enough for these, and has a great name.  Kathy's Kitten (5-2) cuts back in distance and will obviously be tough if he gets the lead to himself.  (These picks, obviously, for turf only with a chance of storms in the forecast.)


steve in nc said...

Welcome home, Alan.

This will probably will ruin his chances, but I'm with you on All Zipped Up.

Looks like CC Lopez will send El Corriente from the rail, insuring a real pace and softening up Kathy's Kitten.

And no matter whose figures you use, All Zipped Up was better on turf way back as a 2yo than he ever became on dirt. And he's now forward moving, but still not much past those 2yo #s, so there should still be room to develop.

And after picking the horse (before checking your blog), I tried to remember who Lakeman was, googled, and I do wish him well:

Anonymous said...

What's the hustle to be on vacation so much? I've given up reading about NY racing politics, but I'm jealous of your travels.