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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Notes - Nov 28

- We'd be remiss if we didn't mention the dominating win by Pleasant Premium Tap in the Clark at Churchill last Friday. He destroyed the tattered remains of what passes for the handicap division, and in doing so capped quite a second half of the racing year. Given his more than credible third in the BC Classic (trainer John Kimmel says he was hampered by a skin ailment), I think it's fair to say that he's currently the best older dirt horse that's not from Uruguay. His final time of 1:47.39 was just .11 seconds slower than the track record set by Victory Gallop.

And the good news is that he'll be back next year; the Donn at Gulfstream has been mentioned as a possible next race.

- Interesting point by the Saratogian's Jeff Scott in discussing Discreet Cat and his pedigree prospects to get a mile and a quarter.

For example, of 124 Grade I dirt races run at a mile-and-a-quarter or more over the past decade, only two (the 1999 BC Classic and 2004 Personal Ensign Handicap) have been won by tail-male descendants of Storm Cat -- an astonishingly low figure considering the hundreds of blue chip mares (many of them with stamina-laden pedigrees) that have been sent to Storm Cat and his sons over the years.

On the other hand, Discreet Cat does have plenty of stamina elsewhere in his pedigree. And in his races thus far he has shown no sign of having distance limitations. Will he be up to the challenge of taking on proven distance runners such as Invasor and Premium Tap at a mile-and-a-quarter, a distance he has yet to run? It'll be a shame if we don't get to find out.
- Empire Racing continues their marketing blitz with a press release detailing specific safety proposals for racing in New York, including synthetic surfaces at Aqueduct and Belmont. It's not clear whether these proposals were part of their presentation to the Ad Hoc committee. The release touts the unprecedented coalition of racing industry talent behind the plan, and I'm sure that will be an ongoing theme as they try and contrast the presence of experienced track operators such as, say, Magna, with the lack of such experience at Excelsior.


Anonymous said...

Excellent proposals all, with the possible exception of the artifical tracks of which the jury is still out in my opinion.

This is an excellent example of how competition can benefit and industry.

I especially love the horse adoption program, Finger Lakes has done a great job in partnership with
See their web site link for examples.

Anonymous said...

Something I thought of last night that worries me about the Excelsior quasi not for profit status.

What incentive will they have to improve the racing side of the business if it is not for profit?

Dontcha think the bottom line business will get more attention?

I still favor them over Empire and NYRA, but think the state needs to get some guarantees. The improvements listed by Empire would be a fine starting point.

Alan Mann said...

>>What incentive will they have to improve the racing side of the business if it is not for profit?

Dontcha think the bottom line business will get more attention?>>

Good point. From what I've seen in financial results from Penn National, for example, the profits from the racing side are so insignificant compared to the casinos, that the latter will always be the bottom line business that will get more attention no matter whether the racing is for-profit or not. I'm starting to think that the issue of profit or not on the racing side is not really that significant in the long run.

Anonymous said...

GMP, not a bad idea and not impossible, especially since the alleged weakness of the Excelsior bid, at least according to Empire press releases, is the lack of experience in running thoroughbred tracks.

NYRA would be monitored by the "for profit" team so as not to totally mismanage, and Spitzer might be able to spin this just enough to make it happen.

Alan Mann said...

I like the idea in principle. But given the fact that no politician will touch NYRA, do you think it would hurt Excelsior to join up with them?