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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

News and Notes - Dec 19

- Reader Late Scratch pointed out the column by Murray Chass in the Times today about the apparent contradiction between the Pittsburgh Pirates owner Bob Nutting, who scrapped the idea of bidding for a slots parlor (“We withdrew the application for slot machines because the rules in baseball are very clear."), and Steve Swindal, the Boss-in-waiting of the Yankees, who seems totally sanguine that his involvement with a giant slots parlor at Aqueduct will be accepted by baseball commissioner Bud Selig.

Swindal has been telling the press that he's kept Selig informed and that he "got his permission before I went into it." He's mentioned that he feels that he would be grandfathered in due to Steinbrenner's long-running status as a breeder and owner, even though the Boss has never been involved with casinos. Selig says simply that he'll decide when he has all the details. It seems that Swindal is being rather cocky about this; perhaps naive is the right word. Then again, Detroit Tigers owner Michael Ilitch's wife is the owner of a casino in Detroit. Still, as Chass wrote:

What would be surprising is if Selig said yes to Swindal after Nutting assumed the commissioner would say no to him.
- After telling us how devoted they will be to the sport of kings now that they have the Breeders Cup, ESPN has dropped their Wire To Wire recap show, thus leaving us with 40 hours less coverage of the sport than they had this year. Now, senior VP Len DeLuca is telling us that "less is more......We will be more committed on the jewel events, particularly now that the 'Breeders' Cup Challenge' is in place." [Bloodhorse]

"The ratings for Wire To Wire were poor," he continued, but perhaps that's because it's on at 2 PM on weekday afternoons, with replays at 5:30 A.M.

- And reader Greg wants to know what the hell is going on in Florida, where just three days after Calder banned jockey Rene Douglas without explanation, Tampa Bay Downs has done the same to seven riders there. In a statement, the track said:
"This action is being taken as a result of an ongoing investigation being conducted by the Thoroughbred Racing Protective Bureau. Tampa Bay Downs is fully cooperating with this investigation and has no further comment on the matter at this time." [Thoroughbred Times]
The TRPB had a similar "no comment."

Uh oh.


Anonymous said...

The prevailing theory is that Douglas got nailed for race-fixing, and then "outed" several other riders.

Anonymous said...


Now that Wire to Wire is in the final furlong, this should compel some racing broadcast entity to offer either a national show on its Web site or a video podcast. Have you ever watched Capital OTB's shows? They are okay, tending to lean more to handicapping by the hosts than anything of complete racing news.

Santa Anita is going to stream workouts on its Web site. This should be done at the Spa. I've advocated for it the past two years, calling that idea into the Capital OTB shows.

Joe Bruno is being investigated by the FBI.

Barry Irwin of Team Valor wrote a terrific OP-ED in the latest Bloodhorse. Since he yanked a horse from Ralph Nicks after he was caught, will he yank any of his horses from Todd Pletcher?

El Angelo said...

A show like Wire to Wire, in my mind, doesn't really belong on ESPN. It isn't designed to appeal to the masses, and is too perfunctory in its nature to try to draw in a new audience; and that's ignoring the time slot issues. A show like it (I'd like it to be an hour long, though) would be perfect for TVG to run every Monday.

Verifiable said...

Swindal has every reason to believe he's all good with Selig ... if Little Caesar can do it why couldn't Swindal?

One major difference ... Nutting's comments suggest PA appears to have tighter regulations on ownership structure than MI State. No doubt PA is looking for accountability and unfettered disclosure.

Because Ilitches were involved behind the scenes in legalizing casino gambling in MI (Proposal E approved by voters in 1996), they would have been in a position to help create a system permitting some sort of structure that allows Selig to hold his nose and look the other way.

Ironically Forbes recent ranking of the 400 Richest Americans put Mike Ilitch back on their list after a hiatus @ $1.5 billion net worth. Even though HE doesn't own MotorCity Casino, Forbes says HIS net worth doubled between its 2004 and 2006 estimates. The only change to Ilitch Holdings, Inc. in 2005 was the acquisition of the casino from MGM Mirage/Mandalay Resort.

Nutting is just far too honest.

anyone know if they've got sports betting at MotorCity Casino or at any of their Indian Casino investments?

t said...

@Walter, I heard the same thing from a local tracker with midwest contacts: Rene got in a spot of trouble and is singing like a canary. It all sounds like conjecture, though.

What's the dirt they supposedly have on Rene? From the tenor of the drf article by Haggerty (good article....looks like the Form is actually doing some journalism) they got a bead on it based on tix cashed at Delaware. It seems to me they would work backwards from there, and then how would that involve rene? Very perplexing.

The other thing is, the industry has no credibility when investigating jocks b/c they have used this tactic to intimidate jocks working toward collective bargaining.

If this is a legit operation to clean up race fixing, they've really shot themselves in the foot by crying wolf in the past to extract revenge for jocks that organize. I need not remind readers here of the churchill, inc. locking out jocks and calling them criminals when they were fighting for insurance in the fall of 2004.