Genting announced the details of its casino plan and it is, as was speculated, located in Tuxedo, in Orange County, just 43 miles from midtown Manhattan. It's practically a straight shot up route 17.
Unlike most of the other development plans, Genting declined to say how much it would spend on the proposed casino site, which would feature everything from two hotels to money for the state to build a new interchange on the New York State Thruway near its proposed casino site. The state next month will be setting minimum development price tags for the casino operators based, possibly, on which county they plan to locate. [Bloodhorse]If they were to win a license for this project, it would create a Yonkers Raceway sandwich on Genting Rye, hold the onions and mustard please. Already hurt by the presence of Resorts World at Aqueduct 23 miles to its south, this new ridiculously-named Sterling Forest Resort would lie less than 40 miles to its northwest. This is not going to happen, in my opinion. I am firmly sticking to my belief that the two Catskills/Hudson Valley casinos will be sited in the Catskills in order to fulfill the governor's promise of using the casinos to bring economic relief to long-suffering areas upstate. For whatever that ultimately proves to be worth.
- Hoppertunity was the workout star at Churchill on Monday.....though his was one of only two timed drills over the wet track. In addition to the lack of depth of talent that is making this year's Derby relatively uninteresting (as uninteresting as a 20 horse race of animals who have been under the microscope for months and who have never run the distance can be), there's not going to be much from which to parse their fitness and affinity for the track the rest of this week. The workouts are just about over, with the exception of General a Rod today; and perhaps blowouts by Uncle Sigh and Wicked Strong on Thursday (though I'm not clear as to whether they will be official timed drills).
Anyway, I'm now favorably reconsidering Hoppertunity. He worked in company with Baffert's Grade 1 winning Drill, and you can watch how well he handled the track here, via HRTV.com. He went five furlongs in 1:01.25, and earned effusive praise from DRF's Mike Welsch, and from Richard Migliore on HRTV's Pursuit of the Crown (a must-watch if you have that network). Welsch caught him galloping out six furlongs in 1:14; seven furlongs in 1:27 1/5, "in hand the entire way." And remember that Baffert commented that Garcia had trouble pulling him up. Welsch called it one of the best works he's seen there, and it was his second impressive work, with the first one coming on a dry track.
So the horse is sharp, he's very lightly raced and obviously eligible to improve (as most of these are). Forget his debut at seven furlongs, and his 4th in the Risen Star, which was only his third career start and in which he was impossibly wide. He won the Rebel, earning a TFUS figure of 103. He then improved his figure to a 107 when beaten by California Chrome in the SA Derby. That isn't too far off the mark of the top numbers earned by Wicked Strong (117), Samraat (114), and California Chrome (113) - and it's going in the right direction. (Beyer gave him a 100 for the Rebel, and had him regressing in the SA Derby.) And we're about due for a Derby winner who hasn't raced at two, don't you think? His pedigree is rather intriguing. He's by Any Given Saturday out of Refugee, a mare by the Whitney/Jim Dandy winner Unaccounted For. Refugee ran third in the Grade 2, mile and a half Orchid Stakes on the grass at Gulfstream in 2002; but she was in front at the mile and a quarter mark, and got the last quarter to that point in a snappy 23.78 seconds. So certainly a hint of stamina there....if just a hint. [And I should have added that he's a half-brother to Baffert's fine multiple Grade 1 winner Executiveprivilege.]
Maybe Hoppertunity is the sharp and improving horse that will be somewhat overlooked in the betting. Sometimes, when confronted with what seems like clear evidence that a horse isn't quite good enough to win - in this case, that last running line that shows him getting beat by five lengths by California Chrome - the bettors will be dissuaded enough to allow it to go off overlaid in the win pool. With a Derby berth assured, it's entirely possible that Baffert did not have the colt fully cranked for that race. If the workouts are any indication, he appears to be getting cranked now.