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Monday, May 30, 2005

Tanaka Trouble

- Thoroughbred owner Gary Tanaka is apparently just a bit player compared to prominent philanthropist Alberto Vilar in the arrests in the developing Amerindo Investment Advisors case, but that doesn’t minimize the severity of the charges against him . He, like Vilar, is being held without bail, charged with using investors’ money for their personal use; to buy racehorses in Tanaka’s case. Of the decision to hold Vilar without bail, the judge said: Assuming the defense counsel's representation is right, he is worth $100 million.....If he were able to flee with just 2[%] or 3%, that is probably enough for him to live out the rest of his life in comfort in many parts of the world." [LA Times]

Vilar ran a technology stock mutuel fund which soared during the go-go late 90s, and he became a well-known philanthropist which a particular affinity, it seems, for opera. He was the top patron for the Met in NYC and the Royal Opera House in London. But you know what happened next as far as the stock fund goes.

In 2002, when the alleged fraud occurred, the New York Times reported that Vilar was having difficulty meeting his financial commitments to arts groups. In March 2003, he was behind on mortgage payments at three vacation homes in Colorado's Vail Valley and faced foreclosure, the Denver Post reported. In September 2002, the Los Angeles Opera confirmed that Vilar had not paid the final $500,000 installment of the $1 million the donor and board member had committed to a production of Wagner's "Lohengrin" the previous season.

In June 2003, the Metropolitan Opera said it had removed a sign bearing Vilar's name from the building's Grand Tier because of Vilar's failure to meet his financial commitments to the company. [LA Times]
As for Tanaka:
He's charged with devising a scheme to defraud and with stealing funds from investors to buy at least three thoroughbred racehorses from November 2003 to April 2005, prosecutors said in the complaint.

Tanaka bought the horses, Agata, Don Incauto, and Fruhlingssturm, in three separate purchases totaling almost $1.2 million, according to the complaint.

His stable of racehorses was ranked eighth nationally with 155 starts, 19 wins, and earnings of $4.1 million in 2002, prosecutors said. [Bloomberg]
In an effort to ascertain if they had overheard any pertinent information, several of Tanaka's horses were questioned by federal prosecutors, and Pico Central reported having his computer and files confiscated by the FBI.

- As of Saturday, the list of possible Belmont Stakes starters included Afleet Alex, Andromeda's Hero, A.P. Arrow, Buzzards Bay, Giacomo, Pinpoint, Southern Africa, Sort It Out, and Watchmon. [Daily Racing Form]

We had a great time upstate with our friends Ira and Carol (thanks for having us!), and I dazzled them with my confident pick of Oratory in the Peter Pan, and especially with my ability to not actually make any money on it. Sometimes I just dazzle myself. Tom Albatrani, who is most definitely a trainer to keep an eye on right now, says that Oratory will likely not go to the Belmont. But second place finisher Reverberate might. Patrick Biacone said that Chekov “was very babyish today,” and the colt had his DVD player and blankie taken away as punishment.

Strange card at Belmont today - it’s like a Thursday or Friday afternoon card with a Grade 1 race thrown in. No supporting stakes - not anything more than a N2X. The Met Mile should be a great race to watch, but for betting, I’m going to be checking out the Jersey Derby for 3yo's on the turf at Monmouth. Interpatation (Langfuhr) hasn’t gotten much respect since he broke his maiden winning a Grade 3 at Gulfstream at 38-1. He may have bounced a bit in the Forerunner at Keeneland when, at 8-1, he was a 6 wide 4th. Then, in a n2L allowance race at Belmont, he went off at 9-2 and rallied off a slow pace to get up with an impressive late burst, equaling his high 88 Beyer. He has a good post and could be ready to move forward here, perhaps once again at a square price. Becrux is an interesting entry. He’s an Italian import who was actually mentioned as a Derby possibility prior to the UAE Derby, in which he finished 12th by 77 lengths. He shows some dominating turf lines in Italy and is the wild card here. ran a close third to Interpatation in that allowance race and could be close for Pletcher. Malibu Moonshine will hopefully start from the 13 post and attract some money.