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Thursday, July 20, 2006

News and Notes - July 20

- Paul Moran of Newsday writes of an unexpected delight he received in the mail. Anyone who wants to send me anything (don’t be fresh) please email me for contact information.

- Bernardini is on schedule for the Jim Dandy at Saratoga a week from Saturday. That’s right; a week from Saturday. "He is doing super," trainer Tom Albertrani said Wednesday. "We're still on the same plan." [Albany Times-Union] The trainer also has Deputy Glitters, revived following his win in the Ohio Derby. He’s slated next for either the Haskell or West Virginia Derby, cleverly scheduled for the same day, Aug 6. Now isn’t that special?

I was starting to wonder if we’d seen the last of Sinister Minister. Perhaps if I’d put him on my watch list, I would have known that he’s been working out in California. He drilled five furlongs in 1:02 at Del Mar yesterday, and is preparing for the Haskell. And won't there be a lot of hand-wringing over how to handicap him and his freakish win over the freakish Keeneland surface in the Blue Grass.

If all goes well, the three-year olds mentioned above, as well as the likes of Pletcher’s Sunriver, Bluegrass Cat, and High Cotton will all converge in the Travers. Though with the race run less than three weeks after the Haskell, that seems almost like a radical idea these days. The Travers has a sponsor this year in the New York Lottery. And yes, it IS ironic that the Lottery is the same outfit who has still not approved construction of the Aqueduct casino. If this sounds like a familiar story, it’s because it is.

"We were here a year ago and thought we were going to get this done," [Charles] Hayward said. "It's costing the state money every day they don't have them (VLTs) up and running. I think the state's starting to understand that." [Troy Record]
Remember when the slots were going to be online this December? The latest estimate of mid-2007 seems extremely optimistic at this point.

- The next time that you’re tempted to commit a Waste of Money on a Slow Bum or a Lazy Dog, make sure to read this column by Bill Finley on

- And once again proving that there is indeed life in our creaky old sport, over 42,000 fans turned out for opening day at Del Mar on Wednesday. It was the largest opening day ever, and the second biggest in the track’s history.

- We mentioned the other day that Monmouth-based trainer Kelly Breen was hot. He now has 27 winners from 93 starters at the meeting, and has won with four out of his last five. He took two more at Monmouth on Wednesday. True Argument (Yes It’s True) broke his maiden for Breen in his third try in the opener. This three-year old colt is a half-brother to last year’s Derby runner-up Closing Argument.


Anonymous said...

Call me a cynic, but isn't the NYRA picking the NYS Lottery really just a case of them being lazy and going after 'low hanging fruit'? They always have cash to spare so I doubt more then one phone took this deal to happen. As a partner name they cheapens the great Travers name.

Visa was the last presenting partner with the NYRA in the 1980's. Why couldn't the NYRA go after another financial services company? The NYS Lottery is only paying in the low six figs for this right to be on site the entire meet with their scratch offs and mega millions, plus get tv exposure on ESPN and local news channels for free, etc. It was a no brainer for them to do this deal.

I myself would far rather have had the NYRA sold the fact that Travers (and the whole meet) is of interest to A LOT of wealthy downstate folks, plus is a national event and scored a coup like The Travers Stakes Presented by Goldman Sachs.

Alan Mann said...

That's an excellent point. In fact, they didn't even have to pick up the phone; they were probably already on, talking about the casino. And if they could sell naming rights for the Test to Darley, you're right on in saying that they could have done far, FAR better with the Travers.