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Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Notes - Jan 11

- Read this please and guess who it is about:

His is not simply a tale of magnificent racing prowess….but is one of a legend that captivated a nation.

It is said, for example, that other horses’ trainers conceded defeat to him rather than try him, that other horse owners rooted for him.

It is unquestionable that his playful personality, his backstory of comeback from injury and his will made him a horse the public loved and cheered for. [Lexington Herald-Leader]
Secretariat? Seabiscuit? Forego? Highland Cat?

No, it’s about Smarty Jones, whose first foal was delivered yesterday; and I’d say that it's a bit overblown, don’t you? Not the praise for the horse (and I deleted the part that said: eight wins, one second, near-record earnings of $7.6 million -- the fifth richest American thoroughbred of all time), but to say that he captivated a nation is, unfortunately, a stretch in my opinion. In the nation of Philadelphia, yes. 40 years ago, perhaps as well. But it seems to me that the days that a thoroughbred racehorse is truly able to captivate this nation are long gone, unless someone comes up with a horse that can make it to the finals of American Idol or have a family dysfunctional enough to qualify for a reality show on MTV. The failure of Afleet Alex to catch on in any meaningful way with the world beyond the racetrack despite the stirring human and equine stories connected with him, was a bad sign. It seems that the country is far more fixated on horses’ asses than horses these days.

Perhaps one of his offspring will make it. His first out of 92 expected foals this year is a filly out of the dam Shoppingwithbetty (Danzig), described by her owner Arthur Hancock as "having good bone and a lot of substance." [Knight-Ridder] Shoppingwithbetty won just one race in seven starts; her dam is multiple graded winner Buy the Firm.

- The process of evaluating the 25 applicants for casinos in Pennsylvania has begun, and from the sound of it, it seems as the gaming board will be hard pressed to issue licenses by the end of this year as is hoped. Check this out:
After the completeness review [of the applications], the gaming board's Bureau of Investigations and Enforcement…..will study the applicants' financial backgrounds.

Mr. Hays called the process "forensic accounting," a methodical financial review that will be carried out not only by in-house auditors, but aided by two outside firms that were hired by the gaming board last summer.

Meanwhile, Pennsylvania State Police, will conduct the criminal background checks.

At the same time, other state agencies will be pulled into the investigation. The Department of Labor and Industry, for example, will check the companies' employment track record. The Department of Revenue will examine the applicants' tax histories. The applicants' diversity plans will be checked to ensure participation by minority- and women-owned firms.

All of that information will be returned to the licensing bureau, which rolls the information into final reports. Those reports, in turn, will be sent to the seven gaming board members. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]
Whew! Do you think Samuel Alito has gotten that much scrutiny?