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Friday, April 12, 2013

CEO Search Drags Out

NYRA board chairman David Skorton said at Thursday's board meeting that the search for a new CEO is "rounding second," so I guess they've only copped a proverbial feel at this as of now. 

  “We’re looking at people very experienced in Thoroughbred racing, looking at people who have experience more in hospitality and setting up destinations; people with a very strong business background,” Skorton said. [DRF]
  Oh, man.  You guys aren't gonna screw this up, are you? 
  “We have heard through the blogosphere that people were concerned we already had one or two people lined up and this whole thing was for show, but it really isn’t." 
   The only "concern" I've heard through the blogosphere is that they haven't named anyone yet after all this time, and that they've forced out a woman who knows the ropes and seems to be doing a highly competent job.  Now, it seems as if they're going out of their way to show that the names that have been bandied around are not necessarily candidates, and I'm getting the feeling from the talk about looking at people not necessarily from the industry that we're gonna see a Cathleen Black type selection.  And we know how well that turned out.  I don't think this is really that complicated.  There's a limited pool of qualified experienced racetrack executives that would do well; and, unless they're trying to branch out and add some diversity to the white male culture (which seems doubtful considering the departure of Ellen McClain), we could all do without the theatrics.  Just do it.

Synthetic surfaces are still part of the discussion; including at Belmont as well.  Not, however, to replace any of the the three existing dirt and turf tracks; but as an additional one to have for when races come off the grass. 
  P.J. Campo, the NYRA director of racing, said that by reducing scratches, a synthetic surface at Belmont “would pay for itself in two to three years.”
  Well, there's some progressive thinking for you.  I've always maintained that the advantages of synthetics go far beyond its original intended purpose of preventing injuries and lowering maintenance costs.

By the way and speaking of synthetic tracks, with respect to this mysterious spate of sudden deaths of horses in California, apparently due to "acute severe respiratory distress," is anyone considering the possible long-term effects of breathing in the dust from the stuff?

9 Comments:

Sal Carcia said...

I have had this bad feeling that as long as there is not a racing saavy person at the helm, then the trainers and jockeys will be to get away with a lot more underhanded stuff than usual. Good general managers watch every race and have a good sense for what is going on.

August Song said...

Are you kidding? Screw it up, as in past tense?

You only need to read this scathing editorial Alan, if you haven't already, to see the ineptitude present:

http://tenoonan.com/2013/04/08/where-is-new-yorks-gaming-commission/

Figless said...

You raise a very good question regarding inhalation of debris on the track.

I suspect something more devious but a study on the above should certainly be conducted.

Figless said...

Regarding a new inner synth track at Belmont, would hurt the esthetics, that's for sure, but I guess the benefits outweigh the cons. So long as they don't REPLACE the dirt tracks with synth, but rather complement them by adding a new surface, I totally support the concept.

As I have written before, I would love to see the main track at AQU winterized using a similar surface to the existing inner track (With new state of the art drainage system and base)while converting the existing inner to synth, whichever surface that is most proven in cold climates.

This would allow for a variety of distances on dirt in the winter, a variety of surfaces all year round (only track with all three surfaces) and the ability to switch the turf to synth during he short turf season.

I strongly believe this would substantially increase the horse population during winter while providing a more entertaining gambling product.

It will attract some of the Woodbine barns to NY for the winter months, while allowing the NY Bred Turf horses a chance to try synth instead of being sent south or laid up during winter.

Its not going to turn the place into Saratoga, or compete with Gulfstream for the good horses, but it will improve field size and thereby the gambling product.

Kyle said...

You're suggesting the synthetic track might have something to do with the spate of sudden deaths in Baffert's barn. Wonder how it discriminates among barns, is exhibited only in So Cal and doesn't seem to be affecting riders who spend much more time on the track than horses

Alan Mann said...

Hi Kyle -

Just floating the idea and wondering if it's something the investigators are considering, and whether there's been any uptick in such deaths in other jurisdictions that use synthetics.

Kyle said...

Having spent no time inhaling what fumes come off synthetic tracks, but having meant a carpet or two with an obnoxious aura, I would not dismiss out of hand potential problems of a certain nature. However, to bring it into this discussion is not warranted and just gives the obstructionists another talking point for obfuscation .

Alan Mann said...

Kyle -
OK, fair point. I actually support synthetic tracks and don't want to add any other unwarranted obfuscation, so I suppose you are correct in that I should keep my speculating to myself, based on speculation only as it was. Having said that though, I've always feared the day would come when long term health effects of inhaling that stuff would manifest themselves....and, to be honest, when I read about mysterious deaths in California, and necropsies revealing pulmonary edema as the cause, it was the very first thing that came to my mind.

Anonymous said...

Alan said... they've forced out a woman(Ellen McClain)who knows the ropes and seems to be doing a highly competent job.



Everybody I know says she got the Job because of her Gender and skin color.


And she doesn't even bet the Ponies.haha!