RSS Feed for this Blog

Friday, January 31, 2014

Saratoga Mayor Faces Reality

Saratoga Springs Mayor Joanne Yepsen, delivering her State of the City address on Tuesday, asserted that local residents should get a say in the state's casino licensing process.  But not in the sense of if there should be a casino there; but rather to the point of what shape it will take.  Because the mayor seems to know full well that the decision is in the hands of those who have already decided.  She urged everyone, for and against, to "think about how we can maximize the precious little input that we do have."

Yepsen reaffirmed her stance against a Las Vegas-style casino, and said she seeks a solution that says “No” to an event space that could harm the City Center, to a ”colossal casino hotel” that could draw business from local hotels, or an “untold number” of restaurants and retail businesses that would harm downtown. She also said she supports a plan that benefits the city’s finances, supports jobs, and benefits harness racing. [WAMC]
That "precious little input" that the mayor referred to comes to, by law, a maximum of 20%.  That's the percentage that the legislation declares that "local impact" should be considered in the siting process (70% for economic development / 10% on labor matters).  But, as the Albany Times Union pointed out in an editorial a few days ago:
If the siting board decides that all the traffic worries and other logistical local concerns are addressed, how people feel about what a casino would do to the character of their community might well be deemed moot.
The editorial blasted Governor Cuomo's office for their dismissal of the Senate bill proposal to require local approval of casinos on the basis that it would "politicize the selection process."  It's the rare politician who is not being cynical when he/she accuses others of 'politicizing' something, and I don't believe any of them reside in the city of Albany.  I'm just so sure that politics will not be at play in the selection of the siting committee, which appears to be running behind schedule.  The governor has an ambitious schedule as we've said.  His budget proposal claims that "casinos are expected to be open to be open as early as January 2015."  As Michael Treanor, the man heading the bid by the old Nevele resort concedes, that clearly gives an edge to the existing racinos.
"So far everything the governor said he's going to do is happening......So I think that among (those awarded) the licenses will be a racino. If they're able to put table games in right away, they can operate a temporary facility...We don't have a temporary facility, so I don't see how I can open by January 2015." [Recordonline]
The possible temporary facility he is referring to is Monticello Raceway....the thinking being that its owner Empire/EPR (in which Genting has a majority stake through a subsidiary) could install table games at the harness track and then move to its proposed site at the Concord when it is ready.

 - Let's take a look at a Pick Three sequence at the Big A on Saturday.  In the 7th, the Busher Stakes for  3yo fillies, Ballylee (2-1) comes into the race off of just one career race, and that naturally against maidens.  But what a race it was.  He pressed a pace that we (at TimeformUS) have rated extremely fast, and went on to roll to victory over a hot 3-5 favorite in Fade to Black, earning a TFUS speed figure of 95 that lays over this field.  Darley homebred is a daughter of Street Cry out of stakes winner (in Dubai) Devotee (Elusive Quality).

The 8th, the Correction Stakes, is a wide open affair, so we'll spread the wealth in this spot. Expression (20-1) showed nice improvement in her four-year old season, capping it off with a win over this track in which she took advantage of a hot pace in just a four horse field.  Not a particularly fast speed figure on our scale; but her race three back, when she earned a big number despite a troubled start, a wide trip, and a late rally on an extremely speed favoring track, points her out.  Throw out the intervening race in the mud, and she can surely hit the board here at a price if she runs back to that effort.  Baby J (6-1) has been consistent at this distance, and has progressed nicely of late in the speed figure department; figures to be prominent from the get-go.  I'm Mom's Favorite (10-1) makes her first start, for new trainer Robert Reid, Jr, since running in the Test at Saratoga. This daughter of Indian Charlie ran a couple of big numbers last year, including one over this track and distance - a 106 TFUS speed figure which is the best of anyone in this field.  Merry Meadow (8-1) is projected by Pace Projector to have a nice stalking trip behind the leaders, and comes off the best two figures of her career, both at this distance, and both quite competitive in this field.  Morning line favorite Delightful Quality (3-1) was beaten by a couple of these in her last start with no real apparent excuse; but she has some big back figures, and trainer Tom Albertrani excels with horses going third time off a layoff. I'll use her defensively on a backup ticket.  But I'm leaving out Lion D N A (7-2), who just seems a bit slower than these.....that despite the fact that she beat Baby J in her last.  The latter earned a higher figure due to considerations of the pace of the race, which is factored in to the TimeformUS figures.

The 9th is the Withers, and oh man, what a weak version of the Withers this is.  Just six three-year olds, and the two morning line favorites come out of romps against state-breds of questionable quality; Uncle Sigh (9-5) won his race against state-bred maidens.  So let's go with Classic Giancroll (5-1).  This son of Giacomo was carried a good five wide going into the first turn of the Jerome, progressed nicely up the backstretch, was three wide under a drive turning for home, and actually looked like he might go by Noble Moon before settling for second best.  He earned a figure of 96 which surely puts him right there in this race for the under-the-radar Lisa Guerrero barn.


Figless said...

"No” to an event space that could harm the City Center, to a ”colossal casino hotel” that could draw business from local hotels, or an “untold number” of restaurants and retail businesses that would harm downtown".

Translation, NO to competition that might harm the ability of flea bag motels to charge $250 night, two star motels to charge $350 night, and mediocre restaurants to charge Manhattan prices for two months out of the year.

I believe a resort style casino WOULD in fact have a negative impact on downtown's business, how could it not? But it will be a positive impact for we tourists (aks "suckers").

Teresa said...

For what it's worth, the days of inflated summer restaurant prices are largely over, though prevalent they were in my youth. Those of us who go to Saratoga year-round pay those prices year-round, even in February.

Figless said...

I haven't been up there in non-racing season so I defer to your knowledge, my evidence is hearsay.

I went to one restaurant just outside of Saratoga proper, and one regular at the bar told me he doesn't sit down during the summer because they bump the prices. He eats the "bar specials".

Regardless its the hotel prices that really piss me off. 9 months in advance a 2 star hotel wants $350/night including Sunday and Monday. Not so long ago it was $250.

If I want $250 I can settle for the non-rated flea bag joint right across the street with one night non-refundable. The nerve.