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Saturday, March 05, 2005

Saturday Morning Stuff

A day after filing suit against the Jockey Guild for conspiring to orchestrate the jockey boycotts against it last fall, Churchill Downs has produced audio tapes and transcripts of a conference call that allegedly took place a day before the protests.

The transcript covers a lengthy meeting of the Guild's Senate, or governing body, and involved virtually all of the Guild's top officials, including president L. Wayne Gertmenian and vice president Albert Fiss. About 30 other Guild members, mostly active jockeys, were on the call.

At one point in the call, when the conversation turned to former jockey Shane Sellers and his forced exit from Churchill Downs, Gertmenian is quoted as saying:

"It's extremely important that everybody spend . . . if you're going to get involved, then don't come into it half-cocked. Make sure you spend the time, like Brian [Peck] did, like Robby Albarado did, like Jeff Johnston did, like Mark Guidry did. They spent the time with me and with the lawyers and with Albert [Fiss] so that everybody understands. Maybe you don't understand why we're telling you do to something, but you understand exactly what we're telling you to do, and then you go do it. Now we're going to create a monstrous problem for them." [Daily Racing Form]
The Guild has adamantly denied any role in the protests, and, coming on top of earlier revelations this week regarding increased Guild payments to the company owned by Dr. G., could be, if verified, another blow to an organization losing credibility faster than the president's vows on reducing the deficit.

- Lincoln Park greyhound track in Rhode Island has been ordered to pull their signal from the New Hampshire track whose executives were indicted in the CAM (Cookie and Milkshake) scandal involving offshore rebate shops and a Big A bicarbonate concoction. But Lincoln Park executives are to be retried on charges of attempting to pay a $4million bribe to the Speaker of the Rhode Island House, which prompts even the usually silent proprietor of the Albany Law School Racing and Gaming Page to write
We don’t get this at all. Why should anyone be allowed to send simulcasts to Lincoln Park whose executives have been indicted for conduct that is certainly as heinous as the people at Lakes Greyhound? [Albany Law School]

- Jeb Bush was on the move yesterday, campaigning throughout the two counties that will vote, in a last minute push to defeat the slots referendum. It’s not really that large an area that contains Gulfstream, Calder, the Hollywood Dog Track (which is almost literally down the block from Gulfstream), Miami and Dania Jai-Alai, and even Pompano Park, and with massive construction already planned in association with slot machines in at least 3 of those, this is going to effect and change this area in some really profound ways I think, so passions on both sides are growing understandably inflamed as the vote comes up on Tuesday.
As they toured the two counties, the politicians were dogged by vocal, pro-slot machine partisans who argued legalized gambling at seven race tracks and jai alai frontons would provided a boost for the economy and tax money for education.
”This will define our community, whether you like it or not. [Slot machines] limits our aspirations and defines us in a way that we should not be happy with,'' said Bush. [Sun-Sentinal]
Bush concedes that his side is behind and that it will be an uphill battle.
.. the governor admitted his side had been badly outgunned on the money front. Estimating the pro-gambling forces had raised nearly $6 million, he said opponents had only been able to raise "less than 5 percent of that."[Sun-Sentinal]

- Oh yeah, and there’s racing today, including, and maybe especially Lost in the Fog’s stretch out to 7 furlongs in the Swale Stakes at the Gulf. His trainer Greg Gilchrist spoke about his Derby status:
"We just paid to see another card," he said of declining to nominate Lost in the Fog for $600 by the early deadline. "If he'd win this race, we'll pay the $6,000. You'd have to, just to protect yourself, if he'd happen to go and do something at a mile-and-an-eighth next time. If you have the horse who warrants going there, what's $6,000 if you think you've got a shot to win for $2 million."
"I would say he's 75-25 not to run in the Derby right now," said Gilchrist. "But if he would win this race convincingly, those odds would probably go to 50-50." [Louisville Courier-Journal]