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Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Left at the Subway Platform

- Posting may be spotty for the duration of the transit strike here, as I spend my free time traveling back and forth from work, and find that my anger and frustration is sapping my creative energy.

Employees of the New York Racing Association aren’t getting any raises this year, and NYRA owes $36.4 million to its pension fund; yet I haven’t heard of any plans by NYRA employees to screw up the lives of all the rest of New Yorkers. Though they may the lack the power and leverage of transporting seven million people a day, they could certainly cause some havoc by littering the roads with artwork, seating from the vacant Aqueduct grandstand, and overweight jockeys.

State Senator Majority Leader Joseph Bruno is calling for the state to commit $30 million to help NYRA avoid filing for bankruptcy when racing resumes on Dec 28. Bruno’s plan, outlined in a letter to Governor Pataki, would provide an immediate $7 million, with the remainder to be doled out by the oversight committee as needed. A bailout this is not, as NYRA would be required to repay the money from slots revenue from the Big A casino that is still awaiting approval from the state.

Even the $5 million land deal with the Port Authority that the state has approved has apparently fallen through over the issue of exactly which parcel of land is involved. NYRA claims that the PA wants to further impinge on the parking lots which are already miniscule compared to what they once were. Not that parking is needed now to accommodate the tiny crowds, but there is supposed to be a casino there someday, y'know. NYRA VP Bill Nader said that while NYRA officials need the details of Bruno's plan, "this is the first time we've seen a substantive proposal that really speaks to the needs of NYRA and the entire New York racing industry at a time when we're running up against the wall." [AP]

But Nader also expressed skepticism that Bruno’s plan, even if accepted by Pataki, could derail a bankruptcy filing. "With every day that passes we're one day closer…..I'm not sure how fast the political process may move on this." [Albany Times-Union]

- Sounds like Penn National could use some Polytrack with its casinos.

- Nick Zito is warming up for Gulfstream with a hot barn at Calder. Besides sweeping the two top spots of the Hooper with Andromeda’s Hero (pointing for the Donn on Feb 4) and Seek Gold, he sent out four two-year old winners this past weekend.

One of those juvenile winners was Hemingway’s Key, getting her second win in as many starts while stretching out to a mile and a sixteenth on Monday. She’s by the dead Florida stallion Notebook out of a mare by Island Whirl, the Super Derby/ Whitney/Woodward/Hollywood Gold Cup winner whose name we don’t see all that often in pedigrees. The mare is a half to stakes winner Incinerate, who is the dam of Zito’s three-year old filly Eclipse contender In the Gold. Also, Hemingway’s Key traces directly back to foundation mare La Troienne, who is her 8th dam.