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Thursday, August 18, 2005

Legal Laughers

- U.S. House Representative Ed Whitfield, chairman of the U.S. House Subcommittee of Oversight, is not happy with the Jockey Guild’s response to his request for documents as part of his investigation into various issues, including the matter of what services exactly are being performed by Guild president Dr. Wayne Gertmenian and his consulting firm Matrix Consulting Associates in return for their annual fees of $175,000 and $400,000 respectively.

Rep Whitfield has written follow-up letters to Dr. G, noting that no one associated with the guild has been able to furnish subcommittee investigators with critical information about Matrix -- including its previous clients and the services it provides to the guild.

"Even the Guild's Chief Financial Officer could not explain, when interviewed, how Matrix utilizes or budgets the payments made by the Guild for work performed on its behalf," one letter said.

"In light of the fact that the Guild's payments to Matrix constitute such a large portion of the Guild's total operating budget, we are troubled that no one can adequately explain what Matrix does." [Louisville Courier Journal]
Whitfield also wrote:
"It is disconcerting that no one associated with the Guild has yet been able to provide a detailed accounting or basis for these fees despite the fact that they come directly from dues and fees paid by the Guild’s members who expect the Guild’s leadership and management to be dedicated to furthering the members’ health and welfare.” [Thoroughbred Times]
Indeed, the lapsing of the Guild’s insurance policy for on-track catastrophic injuries is also a subject of the probe.

In response, the Guild’s legal counsel Lloyd Ownbey replied, "The ultimate goal of this is to get Dr. Gertmenian, because he's too strong for them.…They want to have a guild that will roll over and do what they tell them to do." [Daily Racing Form] He’s too strong for them? I recall these previous comical comments by another Guild attorney and come to the conclusion that however it is the organization is spending their money, it’s certainly not on expensive legal help. I wouldn’t be concerned about any of these guys being recruited for Karl Rove’s legal team.

- Nick Zito is still teasing the press over his plans for Bellamy Road on August 27.
"I just want to see where I am with his training….If I can feel he can get up to a mile and a quarter, well, we'll see. People might question a mile and a quarter but they don't know what kind of horse this is. It's not an easy decision no matter what race we go in." [Albany Times-Union]
What do you think he’ll do? I think he’s committed to the King’s Bishop and that he’s just having some fun. On the other hand, perhaps he's looking at the prospective Travers field and thinking he just may take a shot at them. Closing Argument, last seen humiliating those such as myself who touted him for the Preakness, is nominated for the Travers, and he had his second work since that debacle, but Kiaran McLaughlin indicated [he] would likely return to the races in the Pennsylvania Derby at Philadelphia Park on...Sept. 5. [NY Daily News]

- New NYRA racing secretary PJ Campo is delivering the turf sprints that he promised when he took over for Mike Lakow, and the result has been less than inspiring. Since NY horses have no established form for these races, and with shippers from venues that do have these races scarce due to the detention barn policy, the races here have been largely unbettable. Friday’s first race is a state-bred allowance at 5 1/2 furlongs, and it’s the usual mix of dirt sprinters trying the turf and turf routers trying a sprint. Only one horse in the race has any record at the distance (an o-fer) at all. Personally, I would have preferred he conduct this experiment at another time, when we expect the races to suck and it doesn’t matter as much. The second race is a state-bred maiden race that only drew six 2 yo fillies, and that’s a really bad sign, as it’s those races that have attracted some of the biggest fields lately. I’m slated to be back up there for the weekend tomorrow, and I’ll likely be starting the action off with the early double from Monmouth.

- Highland Cat worked 4 furlongs in 49.60 this morning, 9th best of 24 at that distance. It's supposed to be his last work before a race, but we'll see.