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Wednesday, April 19, 2006

4th and Goal for Racino, RFPs, Legislation...

- NYRA CEO Charles Hayward, talking about the status of the Aqueduct racino construction, told a forum in Saratoga: 'We've got the ball I think on the 1 yard line.' [Saratogian] Let’s hope the state isn’t planning another goal line stand.

J. Patrick Barrett, the chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee on the Future of Racing, dismissed speculation that politics will push back the issuance of the RFP's (requests for proposals) from interested bidders for the franchise until a new governor is elected in November. "I can't give you an exact timetable, but it's not going to be in the November or December timeframe." [Bloodhorse] Bidders who would like to see the state legislature make the laws more accommodative to running the franchise profitably are unlikely to get their wish anytime soon, as the current session expires on June 22. With Gov Pataki, suddenly a fiscal conservative as he weighs his presidential prospects, and the legislature fighting over the budget, and even over whether his vetoes can be constitutionally overridden, it seems unimaginable to think that they’ll get to horse racing by then.

(I know that my loyal reader Green Mtn Punter is patiently waiting for me to look into Empire Racing Associates, the horseman’s group interested in the franchise, so I’ll have to do that soon.)

- It’s expected that Keeneland will approve the installation of Polytrack today, and to Wayne Lukas, whose Dance Daily broke down and was euthanized there last week, it can’t come soon enough. "Keeneland has to do something…..They can't stay status quo." [Louisville Courier-Journal]

- James Scully of Brisnet asks of Sinister Minister: How many more comparisons to War Emblem will we hear over the next three weeks? But he also points out these relevant facts:

War Emblem, who displayed dismal form before emerging as a top three-year-old with a smashing 6 1/4-length win in the 2002 Illinois Derby (G2), wasn't aided by the biased Keeneland track in his final prep and set uncontested Kentucky Derby fractions in :23 1/5 and :47 en route to victory.
I have no idea who’s going to win the Derby, but I think it’s as safe a bet as was Scott McLellan’s resignation that they ain’t going no 47 seconds to the half mile, nor the 1:11.75 that War Emblem got to three-quarters.

- Patrons at Delaware Park will find some new features when the track reopens for racing, particularly a giant new indoor video screen. Bernard Daney, chairman of the Delaware Thoroughbred Racing Commission, said that it will be a big hit.
"They're going to be wide-eyed and they're going to love to sit there and watch the races…..It's like high-density TVs people have at home." [Delaware Online]
Sounds like he learned his lessons from Frank Stronach. Delaware is a pretty track, or at least it was around 25 years ago when I was last there, and conducts racing during the spring and summer months, but Daney apparently wants his patrons to sit inside.
Daney….. said the renovations make Delaware Park the "preeminent" horse racing venue in the nation.

"The other race tracks," he added, "I don't know how they get away with it."
Well, perhaps they present competitive racing in a picturesque setting that people can sit and watch live. Egads, the horrors!


Anonymous said...

They can renovate the inside all they want at Delaware, as long as they don't screw with the paddock I'm ok....By the way, love your blog - keep up the good work.

Case said...

I go to DP every weekend and any improvement is welcomed as majority of tv's are from 1980's. Live racing starts Sat w/ 7 of 10 races scheduled for the trad DP distance of 6/8 ths. Can't wait.

One good thing, new granstand seats just installed last month. However, horse bettors still treated as 2nd class citizens to the mindless slot pullers.

Great site, keep it up, and good luck.

Alan Mann said...

Hey, DP guys, thanks for commenting and reading! We actually have our filly Christening down there now, trying to get her sold off workouts. But if she doesn't get sold, she may make her debut down there, stay tuned, she's supposed to be a fast one (though so was Highland Cat, who you may be seeing down there soon too).

Anonymous said...

Alan, you are right on with your comments putting down comparisons of Sin Min and War Emblem. Two totally different horses. In an recent interview, Baffert himself dismissed this talk. Paraphrasing, "there's no comparison, War Emblem would rate. This horse is a runaway. Espinoza tried to rate him in the San Vincente and it was a disaster." If goes flying out there 6F in 109 and change, its going to be a chance any one run horse laying off the fractions that might get a clean trip. It's almost impossible for a 3 year old in May to gut a field in a mile and quarter race.

Green Mtn Punter said...

Alan-Glad you haven't forgotten about Empire Racing Associates. Read somewhere that Empire's key people attended Donald Trump's recent Palm Beach fundraiser for Republican candidates running for the NY State Senate. Sen Maj Leader Joe Bruno, of course, played the part of hat passer-in-chief- what a great(and strictly legit) racket when you are a pol with Joe Bruno's power and influence such extortion is euphemistically called "campaign contributions". Anyway, the fate of NY racing is in the hands of the pols and it's probably a better bet to predict a 99-1 shot to win the Derby than which franchise candidate will prevail in the formerly smoke-filled back rooms of Albany. Anyway, I look forward to Alan's investigative reporting on Empire Racing Associates.