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Tuesday, January 14, 2014


Hello, hope everyone had a great holiday, healthy and safe, and greetings for a happy new year.  Was planning to get back to this sooner, but, for one thing and in addition to all of the holiday obligations and festivities, was "stranded" at my mom's house in Florida for five extra days on what was intended as a short New Year's jaunt.  With just one laptop between the Head Chef and I, computer time was at a premium, and tensions were high at times.

Also, I have been blogging over at the TimeformUS blog.  My latest Today in Racing entries mostly concerned the racing at Gulfstream this past weekend.  As for this blog, have to say that I've been working on this particular post for several days now, which is honestly not a good sign for its short-term future.  With a busy week ahead, I'm gonna throw up what I got now, as rambling as it may be, and we'll hope for better results next time.

Got a call for a survey the other night and agreed to participate.  It was already ten minutes in when the guy said there was only around 15 minutes to go! Would have canned it at that point, except that it was about online poker in New York State, so I was curious to see where it was going to go. He kept referring to "the proposal" for online poker in NY, and I felt compelled at one point to point out that there actually is no formal proposal in the least that I know of.

I was told that the survey company did not actually know who was paying for and conducting the survey.  It did not seem like a push-poll at all; questions were not leading and covered both sides of the argument.  One hint though is that the only person other than Andrew Cuomo on whom my opinion was requested, was Sheldon Adelson.  That seemed kind of random, and he seems like the kind of guy who would be interested to know what random people might think of him!

As opposed to the notion of online casino games like what is now offered in New Jersey, I really don't have strong feelings about online poker one way or another.  Still, I found myself replying "strongly opposed" to anything having to do with it, and "strongly agree" to all of the arguments against it that were offered for my comment (those arguments actually being quite well-articulated, covering addiction and inequality and all the other bases).  Just the association with online casino gaming - especially since they did mention the New Jersey situation - was enough to stir the emotions.

The concept of casino games being made available 24/7 on the internet had always seemed so radical to me, that I naively never believed that state governments would really stoop to this.  I often wonder if I'm being hypocritical here, being that I take full advantage of the ease of betting on horse racing online.  But the idea of this particular kind of gaming being made so readily available is just revolting to me.  To take the most mindlessly addictive games and make them so readily portable and available to the most mindlessly addictive amongst us is just wrong to me on any and every moral and ethical level.  And, while it's bad enough as a revenue-raiser for state governments with all the attendant justifications - they'll find a way to gamble it anyway - the corporations involved, exploiting vulnerable gamblers in this crass way for nothing but their greedy pursuit of profits as they are, are shameful.

Governor Cuomo delivered his State of the State address last week, and David Grening noted on Twitter that:

 Gov. Cuomo, talking tourism in upstate NY, shockingly fails to mention Saratoga or horse racing

I must presume that the esteemed New York correspondent for the Form was being sarcastic regarding the use of the word shockingly, as it would have been a surprise if Cuomo did mention racing in his State of the State, or at any other time other than being critical.  However, it does remain shocking to the senses, in any event.

If you missed it, the governor finally named a chairman for the New York Gaming Commission (subject to Senate approval), and he's a fellow with an interesting - if not always successful - background.
 Gearan, 57, has deep Democratic roots as a former top staffer for the presidential campaign of former Massachusetts Gov. Michael S. Dukakis, the executive director of the Democratic Governors Association from 1989 to 1992, and a deputy director of the 1992 Clinton-Gore transition team. He served President Bill Clinton's administration as deputy chief of staff and assistant; Clinton named him director of the Peace Corps.
 It is this commission - currently consisting entirely of Cuomo appointees - which will, in turn, appoint the members of the Gaming Facility Location Board, which will do what its name quite explicitly says it will.  And that, of course, will be a lot of fun.  Those appointments are supposed to come this month, with casino proposals due in June, and licenses issued in the fall.  Sounds like a whirlwind schedule.

 - For 2014, Tweet Less, Read More was the title and topic of a New Year's Eve column by the Times' Frank Bruni.  And man, there's some solid advice for the new year!  I've already taken it to heart, and with some intriguing results thus far.  But I found the most interesting point of Bruni's piece to be this:
 Lately there’s been a bit of academic attention to our etiquette online, which is where so many of us spend more and more of our time. It rightly notes how much rudeness makes its way onto message boards and into Facebook threads, how quickly the back-and-forth on websites turns nasty.

That happens in part because the exchanges are disembodied: We don’t have to face whomever we’re lashing out at. But it’s also because they’re impulsive. Their timbre conforms to their tempo. Both are coarse.
On social media, on many blogs and along other byways of the Internet, the person you disagree with isn’t just misinformed but moronic, corrupt, evil. Complaints become rants. Rants become diatribes. And this tendency travels to cable news shows, Congress and statehouses, where combatants shout first and ask questions later.
 No sooner had I read this when I wrote a Today in Racing post, and noted at the end how little I care about the Kentucky Derby points system (especially in early January), when some guy with a dumb handle on Twitter responded:
 Enjoyed the blog not sure why the author had to lob in a puerile rant at a pretty simple points system last paragraph mind.   
Suppose I should throw a [sic] in there somewhere for the fractured English.  In any event, I guess you can add puerile to moronic, corrupt, evil.  This served as further incentive to limit my time on Twitter - which does have an addictive quality I must say, as well as providing fodder for blog material.  It's also a reminder that I myself have surely been guilty of the same kind of incivilities over the years.  So I will resolve to be better in that regard and, amongst other things, not write that people with dumb handles on Twitter have dumb handles on Twitter.

One more Twitter note:  Joe Drape chimed in at one point with an excerpt from a (not-so-) recent post.  Instead of addressing any of the legitimate points contained therein, he wrote:

Well, I dunno, horseplayers incorporating an angle of suspected underhandedness into their wagering and thereby embracing the scoundrelly side of the game?  Sounds to me like they're having fun.  I thought that fun was actually what's right about the game. I get the feeling that less people are having any with the game these days. And I think that amongst the things that's wrong with horseracing is that the lead racing writer for the New York Times hates it, and regularly uses his platform to demean it with half-truths, innuendo, and distortion.  (Oh, am I being uncivil again?)


Dana said...

I don't know Alan, I think that tweet was pretty vanilla, especially compared to things I've seen you say both on Twitter and here at LATG!

That said, I'm with you on limiting social media time.

Figless said...

Joe Drape LOVES horse racing, I heard him say so on the Mike Francesca show so it MUST be true.

Figless said...

On the subject of random thoughts, I was wondering the NY Casinos will be closed on Palm Sunday? How about their inevitable 24 hour online websites? Or is it just racing that violates the sensitivities of Christian lawmakers on their Holidays?

Figless said...

Just noticed this which seems on topic, someone appreciates Drape's reporting;

"Team Valor International will offer the Stan Bergstein Writing Award again in 2014 and has already nominated two stories for its panel of judges to consider.

The award carrying a $25,000 prize is open to any story published in North America between November 2, 2013 and November 1, 2014 about horse racing.

Frank Angst of the Blood-Horse and Joe Drape of the New York Times wrote the two stories that have been nominated."

August Song said...

Welcome back, Alan! A lot of things going on including, The Battle of Saratoga, something you've focused on and alerted people to:

Something smelled funny, and it started me thinking as soon as I saw this story breaking:

And, what connection it might have played in Bob Baffert's wave of sudden horse deaths? Certainly of interest, was the fact that no veterinarian prescribed the Thyro-L given to all of Bullet Bob's horses in his barn at the time. Bullet Bob told the vet(s) to give it to them.

An amazing mineral cobalt:,cobalt

But, could it have been Erythropoietin?

My thought was cobalt, because it degrades so quickly.

So kind of the CHRB to absolve Bob of any wrong doing, saying their investigation proved inconclusive.

Interesting others like me made a connection to the Baffert Effect:

We are left to ponder why Bullet Bob could possibly order the veterinarian(s) to give all the horses in his barn Thyro-L, and not because they had thyroid issues. Something smells!!!

12BET said...

Interesting article and opinion about online casino/sports betting. Well in my opinion online casino and every other habitual activity are just the same. It's just that people are different with each other, so some prefer this kind of things some don't. Which we have to accept.