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Saturday, September 30, 2006

Saturday Morning News and Notes - Sept 30

- The raves keep coming on the Polytrack and Cushion Track surfaces at Keeneland and Hollywood. "It's like racing on a cloud," John Ward said. [Dallas Ft-Worth Star Telegram] Neil Howard told the Form:

"My riders are thrilled with it....It's giving and it's safe. To me, this is all about safety. If this surface means that there's one less injury, then it's worth it." [Daily Racing Form]
Walter reported on some similar raves from California trainers using Hollywood's Cushion Track, including the story of Jeff Mullins moving his entire barn there from Santa Anita. Of course, Mullins may not be needing a place to train at some point going forward.

So I think concerned horseplayers such as reader Steve D, who laments that his best meet lifetime, from an ROI standpoint, was Keeneland this spring, should just keep in mind that happy and healthy horses will make for better racing and, thus, better wagering opportunities down the road.

- Most of the VLT attention is on Pennsylvania these days, but Florida's first racino is set to open in about six weeks. The Mardi Gras Racetrack and Gaming Center, formerly the Hollywood Dog Track, will unveil 1,100 machines during the second week of November if all goes well. And just a few minutes away, Gulfstream will be ready with 500 machines of its own around the same time.

- The Stones played at Churchill last night, and by all accounts it was a rollicking show. Whatsmore, reports that it was only rock and roll and the horses' didn't seem to mind. The equines apparently even survived opening act Alice Cooper. (And I'll spare you the video of Elected from You Tube, at least for now.)

- And this doesn't have much to do with racing other than the fact that it involves Frank Stronach's daughter Belinda, much in the news in the great white north these days. But it's a delightful passage regarding Ms. Stronach's apparent preference for professional hockey players, an attraction which, according to one observer, is shared by other Canadian women.
- It's an observation subtly reinforced by Amy Nugent of Edmonton, a doctoral candidate in Canadian politics who studies women in public life:

"It is part of a Canadian woman's genetic disposition to be sexually attracted to good skaters and hockey players, part of our Darwinian struggle. Nothing sets my ovaries humming like the spray of ice from a hockey stop. It's grace, strength, hockey-coach-for-your-kids, the measure of a Canadian man. I was never a puck bunny, but I get it." [Toronto Globe and Mail]
Have a good Saturday at the races. This racing bunny is racing off to Belmont.