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Thursday, March 03, 2005

Notes: Mar 3

- Paul Moran of Newsday points out that all the effort thus far put into analyzing the Derby prospects of the prominent names that have been discussed for what seems like the last year may be in vain.

..Smarty Jones was considered little more than an exceptionally fast Pennsylvania-bred. Funny Cide, the New York-bred gelding, was on no short list of potential champions at this stage two years ago. War Emblem, winner of the first two legs of the Triple Crown in 2002, was profoundly obscure at this stage of the season.

Charismatic, star of the 1999 Triple Crown, was known as an underachiever in Southern California, where, offered for a claiming price, found no takers. Neither Real Quiet nor Silver Charm, Derby and Preakness winners in 1998 and '97 respectively, emerged from the gaggle of contenders until they arrived in Louisville.

Nowadays, a Derby winner can come from anywhere, and the handicapper inclined to view what happens in February as having even a shred of significance, has learned little from the events of the last decade. [Newsday]
Which reminds me…where the heck is High Limit lurking these days?

- Moran also has a quote from Declan’s Moon’s trainer Ron Ellis that would seem to refute my implication, based on some things he said the other day, that a win for his gelding Saturday was not necessarily of paramount importance to him. "I've always felt that this could be one of the great horses," Ellis said, "and I'd love to keep him undefeated." [Newsday] Declan’s Moon has 4 wins in 4 starts.

- Stewart Elliot is out of jail and scheduled to ride at Aqueduct today, and I’m sure the classy railbirds there will be very understanding. His continued stay in this country is pending an upcoming hearing, but his lawyer says it’s all just procedural.

- In Maryland, differing versions of the slots legislation passed by the House and Senate need to be reconciled, But the two versions differ in several respects and leaders of the House and Senate said yesterday that they remain so far apart that passage of a slots bill looks unlikely. [Bloodhorse]

- An op-ed column in the Miami Herald today points out that the 33% cut to the state for education from the proposed slots machines in Florida would be the lowest in the country, even worse than Louisiana.
Racinos in Louisiana return 36 percent of their slot machine take to state government. And that's just not any old state. Louisiana is the unrivaled bastion of bad government, crippled by corruption and influence peddling and politicians utterly beholden to sleazy business interests.
I figured I better call Edwin Edwards, who knows a thing or two about gambling deals. Edwards was elected governor of Louisiana four times and spent most of his last term, from 1992 to 1996, cobbling together the legislation and arranging the deals that brought a land-bound casino to New Orleans and put 15 casino riverboats on Louisiana waterways.
Unfortunately, Gov. Edwards couldn't come to the telephone Wednesday. His jailers at the federal prison in Oakdale, La., indicated that Edwin was preoccupied with his other obligations. Edwards, 72, has a few more years to serve in a 10-year federal sentence for a conviction on bribery charges…

Evidence presented at their trial indicated that gambling interests desperate for one of those lucrative new casino licenses had paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes. Some paid in bundles of cash. Other bribes were disguised when gambling officials carefully lost huge amounts of money in the high stakes private poker games Edwards staged at the governor's mansion.

So Edwards won't be available for comment until 2012. [Miami Herald]