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Thursday, November 30, 2006

Notes - Nov 30

- Gary Contessa is on a major roll. He was the only NY horseman that I know of to break with the horseman's association and back Excelsior over Empire; and last Monday, as you probably know, his organization got the non-binding recommendation from the state committee.

Contessa had three winners on Wednesday at the Big A, as action shifted to the inner track for a very, very long time. By the time the action shifts back to the main track, we'll be flush with Derby fever. Contessa also had a winner with his last starter, on Saturday; and he has been in the money with nine out of his last ten starters.

- Jerry Bossert of the NY Daily News writes, of a certain "prominent writer" who has called for Discreet Cat getting consideration for the sprint Eclipse, that the idea "disgusts" him.

How can you reward Champion Sprinter to a horse that didn't show up on racing's biggest day, the Breeders' Cup. Discreet Cat sat in the barn that day and ran just three times in America this year, with two starts at a mile and one start at seven furlongs, none at the classic six-furlong distance. If his connections wanted him to be named Champion Sprinter, they should have gone to the Breeders' Cup Sprint or Laurel Park and try BC Sprint winner Thor's Echo in the DeFrancis Dash, but instead they ran in the Cigar Mile. My vote will be going to Thor's Echo, who showed up on racing's biggest day and won the Sprint.
- Chris McErlean, the vice president of racing operations for the Meadowlands for the last 14 years, has accepted a buyout and will run racing operations for Penn National Gaming. I mention this because the Meadowlands is a horseplayer's wet dream. The plant is clean, the TV screens and betting machines and windows plentiful, and the bountiful simulcasting menu makes NY seem like the outmoded racing state that it is. There's even a nice and spacious park area extending to the top of the long stretch that makes spring and summer evenings pleasant. As live attendance has declined, the track has largely maintained its services instead of instituting cutbacks that cram fans into small spaces. For a track of its kind (as in, not a grandiose outdoor setting such as Belmont or Saratoga), there's no better place for an evening of betting on races. Penn National is getting a good man.


Anonymous said...

I agree with you 100% about the Meadowlands. It is almost tremendously clean and has nice restaurants, a nice park, audio and video that you could actually see and hear. My father took me to the track as a kid and the Meadowlands was the place to be, especially during harness season. The announcers were so loud, you actually could head the call anywhere at the track. At Belmont and Aqueduct it was hard to tell a race was going on. I love the Meadowland. Also, the air conditioning during the hot summers of the late 1970's was awesome.

Michael said...

I've said that I think Discreet Cat COULD BE a great sprinter, and as you have pointed out -- if it ever comes to that they'll retire him -- but to suggest that he deserves the Eclipse Award is insane. I'm glad to see that some Mainstream horseracing media is jumping up-and-down on Watchmaker for this.

He's had Discreet Cat listed in the top four of his Sprinter division for a while, (now he has the horse listed #1, what a joke)...after the way this guy trashed Lost in the Fog...