Uncle Sigh worked out for the Wood; according to David Grening on his Twitter account, it was a 1-2 mile 47.61 secs, last 1-4 in 22.86 out 5-8ths in 59.99. The esteemed NY correspondent for the Daily Racing Form, whose insights are available for free on Twitter, continued:
Shortly after Uncle Sigh breezed, Social Inclusion had spirited gallop in blinkers; first morning on main trackWe were talking in the office about who will be favored, and agreed it would be Social Inclusion. No doubt, actually, considering the big 111 Beyer he got in his allowance win, the best number earned by a three-year old this year. Samraat and Uncle Sigh aren't anywhere on the Beyer leaderboard I'm looking at, and it goes all the way down to 97. That came as a surprise for those of us going by the TimeformUS figs these days, as we have the two NY-breds amongst the fastest horses in the group. Only Social Inclusion and California Chrome got better numbers (114 and 111, respectively) than the 110's they earned in the Withers. The Gotham was rated at 108, for both. This difference of opinion is only partially due to the fact that our figures take pace into account; the assessment of the track variants are just different. So I've been thinking in totally different terms than you guys using the Beyers may be. Based on those numbers, I imagine that Social Inclusion is going to be 1-2. It's also true that In Trouble, who finished just behind the two New Yorkers in the Gotham, disappointed in the Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn. Still, I'm looking at this as being a more evenly-matched race than others may be.
- Andy Belfiore of the NY Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association posted some photos of the Longshots bar on her Twitter account on Tuesday. Looks like they still have a good amount of work to do, but Ms. Belfiore reports that it will be open for Wood day.
- Well, we were promised that we'd get a request for proposals from applicants for New York casinos in March. So, on March 31, we got at least a price list.
According to the casino application issued on Monday, a license in Orange or Dutchess County would cost a minimum of $70 million, and a license in the northern Catskills would go for a minimum of $35 million. But if no license is awarded in Orange or Dutchess, a license elsewhere in the Catskills would cost $50 million. Depending on the location, a license in western New York would cost from $20 million to $50 million. A license in the area between Saratoga and Albany would cost a minimum of $50 million. [NYT]Details as to a required minimum investment will be disclosed after a conference for the bidders in April (probably April 30) and the applications, accompanied by a nonrefundable application fee of $1 million, are due by June 30 (of course). Perhaps by then, the Gaming Commission will have named the two other appointees to the Resort Gaming Facility Location Board. Or, then again, since the three present members consist of 2/3rds Cuomo cronies and constitute a quorum, maybe we won't. In any event, the longer this thing stretches out, the better case the existing racinos can make for being able to get revenue flowing by the beginning of next year, as comically forecast by the governor for March of next year.
- Matt Hegarty reported on the latest racing fatality stats, and here's something that is becoming a regular occurrence:
The 2013 fatality rate for artificial surfaces was 1.22 per 1,000 starts, according to the data, while the dirt-track rate was 2.11, 73 percent higher. The two rates have been sharply different in every year since 2009, and the difference became statistically significant three years ago. [DRF]However, as Matt goes on to note, the trend these days is distinctly away from synthetics and back to dirt. In addition to the already transformed Santa Anita, Del Mar plans to replace its Polytrack for next year's racing. And there have been rumors buzzing that Keeneland, like Del Mar with its eye on the Breeders' Cup, may do so in the near future as well. [UPDATE: Well, what do you know, Keeneland announced they will make the switch by the fall meet.] One thing that is definite - there are surely no plans in the works to change any tracks over from dirt, anywhere.
It's a funny little universe, this world of horse racing. Here we are, under siege over issues of safety and animal cruelty. Yet, the clear trend is away from something that is proving to have a statistically significant effect in the direction of saving equine lives. The horsemen, breeders, and fans love the speed that the dirt surfaces provide. Tracks want to host Breeders' Cups. The criteria listed along with the latest HANA track rankings tell you where their priorities lie.
Key factors including takeout rate, field size, wager variety, pool size, and signal distribution are analyzed track by track and weighted to produce a final composite score.Nothing about safety records there. Changing the culture of the game in this country is going to require commitment and sacrifice from all parties involved. Despite all of the criticism and Times articles and PETA videos, the parties clearly have other priorities in mind.