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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Excelsior Swings for the Fences

- Just wanted to backtrack a bit to the Excelsior TV ad that I hastily embedded in my last post before running off to work. This has to be a nerve wracking week for Empire Racing, who will no doubt be sweating out the special session of the NY legislature that commences today. Civil confinement for sex offenders and pay raises for legislators are expected to be the main topics; and there's little question that the Governor will get the former without ceding on the latter. However, as the Troy Record reports:

..As of Monday evening both issues remain up in the air as does anything else that might be addressed at the special session called by Gov. George Pataki, and nobody is sure what will happen until the last minute.
We have seen some speculation that the racing franchise could come up, and recall that Pataki remarked that he doesn't "see any reason why I would not at this point," referring to his perhaps approving Excelsior's bid. So why not take a shot with some airtime on local TV?

Excelsior's ad is direct and to the point - their bid received bipartisan approval and they have successful businessmen (cue the Yankee clips) and experienced horsemen, particularly the featured Jerry Bailey, ready to run the show.

More importantly, it's extremely well-timed, as opposed to all the histrionics by Empire the last two weeks during a time when legislators were out-of-town and the Governor was in Iraq. Who did they think was listening?

As pointed out in the Albany Times Union blog that posted the video, the narrator is none other than John Sterling, the longtime radio play-by-play voice of the Yankees. I know that some people like him, but if you're like me, you're hoping that Sterling doesn't have any aspirations to be a track announcer. That would be reason in itself to back Empire. Otherwise we could be hearing "The Green Monkey wins! THAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA Green Monkey WINS!"

Or....maybe not.

- Del Mar goes with Polytrack, at a cost of $8 million.

- Slots revenue is supposed to boost purses, thus attracting full fields. But apparently, the money can be an incentive to retire one's horse to stud too. Blair Burgess, the trainer of the Hambletonian and Trotting Triple Crown winner Glidemaster, was hedging on the decision to retire the colt, but he's decided to stick with those plans, citing in part, the lucrative opportunities in [Pennsylvania], made possible through slot revenue. [US Trotting Association]