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Saturday, March 19, 2005

Saturday Odds and Ends

- To anyone visiting this page, Saturday is likely a big day with the Kentucky Derby preps going on. However, as far as national TV goes, it might as well be just another day of exhibition baseball as none of the races were scheduled for broadcast. However, ESPN News this week arranged to pick up the live telecast of the Rebel. There will be three minutes of prerace analysis by Randy Moss and then they’ll pick up Oaklawn’s feed of the race.

- Michael Hammersly of the Form is not amongst those who are concerned by Sweet Catomine’s slower races thus far this year.

Her natural gallop and eagerness dragged rider Corey Nakatani to the lead on the far turn, and almost dragged him into trouble - she swooped by rivals so fast she veered in a bit and almost interfered with a horse. Her finish was demonstrable enough, but the most impressive part of the nine-furlong race may actually have been her 10th furlong. Her gallop-out was stunning; she won the race by three lengths, but by the time she hit the clubhouse turn on the gallop-out she was about 15 lengths in front. That type of display should send a warning shot to all the males - this isn't some fly-by-night fast filly. This is a truck. This is a beast. [Daily Racing Form, subscription only]
I guess we’ll have to wait until the SA Derby to find out for sure.

- Gary Stevens reacted to the meeting between the Jockey Guild and the Teamsters, and he was not happy.
"I'm sick of getting lambasted by trainers for things I don't know anything about," Stevens said. "The guild is not telling us anything. I didn't know anything about this meeting. I'm upset our membership is not being informed about goings on, like this meeting with the Teamsters.

"I don't know what to do," Stevens said. "I've been a guild supporter for 25 years."[DRF]
And some trainers reacted to Jim Hoffa’s remarks that jockeys are "almost like slaves or servants that work on these large plantations."
Several trainers found the comments laughable.

"I guess the jockeys want to drive the trucks, and the truck drivers want to ride the horses," Biancone said of the possibilities if the guild joins up with the Teamsters. [DRF]

- Paul Cellucci, who just yesterday officially left his post as U.S. Ambassador to Canada, has joined Magna as executive vice president of corporate development.
Cellucci, who will be based in Boston, will be point man for Magna Entertainment's battle against U.S. legislators to reform "antiquiated regulatory regimes," said Dennis Mills, a former Liberal MP and current vice-chairman of the horsetrack owner.

"He has knowledge of the horse racing industry and when you have knowledge and interest you have passion," Mills said. [CBC News]
He also has a friendly relationship with the president, whose brother Jeb is, of course, governor of Florida, and the man overseeing the process of deciding on crucial issues of importance to Magna’s Gulfstream Park regarding slot machines there. Some in Massachusetts, where Cellucci served as governor in the 90’s, are hoping that perhaps he will come to the rescue of troubled Suffolk Downs, which Magna considered buying a few years ago.

Cellucci is likely hoping he has an easier time than he did in Canada, where he failed in attempts to persuade our friends to the north to come around to the president's thinking on issues like pre-emptive war, anti-ballistic missile systems, and marijuana laws. No replacement for Cellucci has been named as of yet. But given the arrogance of the president’s recent appointments of John Bolton, a strident critic of the U.N. as U.N. ambassador, and of Paul Wolfowitz, one of the small group of men that led this country into a war over the staunch opposition of many world nations as president of the World Bank, it wouldn’t be surprising if he appointed National Hockey League commissioner Gary Bettman.