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Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Jockey Change?

- George Steinbrenner's right hand man Edward Sexton, who seems to be developing into a Boss Jr., told the NY Times that he's hoping that Bellamy Road can return for the Belmont, but indicated that he may have a new rider. I guess the Boss had to fire someone between his baseball team and his stable. "A jockey change is very possible," Sexton said; apparently he and Steinbrenner felt that Javier Castellano had him too close to the hot pace. If he misses the Belmont, he’ll point to the Travers. When asked how the Boss took the news of the injury, Sexton replied, "He took it like a man."

- A couple of weeks after Magna reported first quarter losses, Churchill Downs reported a $13.9 million loss despite increased revenues from the Fair Grounds’ first meeting under the corporate fold.

..according to a company press release, that was offset by higher corporate expenses, fewer simulcast days at Arlington Park and $2.8 million in legislative spending related to a slots machine gambling measure in Florida, where the company owns Calder Race Course. [Bloodhorse]
You know how the Florida thing worked out. But the company received a boost yesterday when the New Orleans City Planning Commission voted unanimously to approve the company’s plans to build a new slots parlor for the Fair Grounds. Still, the plan has to be approved by the City Council, and Churchill and some neighborhood groups are still dickering over hours of operation.

The Maryland Racing Commission called for a special legislative session in the wake of that body’s failure to approve slots for its beleaguered racing industry, which is surrounded by states that approved them. House Speaker Michael Busch, who is widely credited with killing the legislation three years running, had this reaction:
Busch said he would be open to discussing other ways of shoring up the industry, perhaps by diverting lottery proceeds or creating incentives to fix racetracks. But he said he also would want to investigate how much the industry has tried to make itself more profitable and competitive before the state steps in.

"We're artificially underwriting a business that we don't know whether it's viable or not," he said. [Washington Post]

- Buzzard’s Bay will skip the Preakness after his good 5th place finish in the Derby; I thought that jockey Mark Guidry may have moved too soon; Jeff Mullins said that the horse bled a bit as well. "I don't put any stock in Beyers (numbers)," Mullins said. [Bloodhorse]