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Monday, April 09, 2007

Wynn Is Inn

- Thanks to the readers who let us know that Excelsior did officially announce that Steve Wynn and a couple of real estate developers have joined Excelsior's partnership just one day before hearings scheduled in New York for public presentations of the bidders' proposals. [Daily Racing Form] Paul Post, writing in The Saratogian, calls it a surprise last-minute development, but it was, of course, no surprise to yours truly, who wrote back on April 2: I wonder if Richard Fields has Steve Wynn's number in his Rolodex. It just seemed like a natural fit, and I think it's important that Excelsior had a new team assembled going into the hearings. There was some question for awhile about the group's continued viability, and this certainly solidifies their bid. In fact, it may indeed make some aspects of Excelsior more appealing to some. But on the downside, Swindal was from a sports background, and was in my view more likely to be aggressive in pushing the racing side of the business. With Wynn and Fields as the top guys, the organization leans heavily to the slots side.

Fields is presumably the new leader of the group with the departure of Swindal, and the shareholders' team additionally consists of William Mulrow, a friend of Eliot Spitzer and an unsuccessful aspirant to the NY comptroller position; and the Johnston family of Chicago, the operators of Balmoral and Maywood Park.

- Some Derby developments from the Form tonight: Ketchikan, who generated a lot of interest after his controversial race in the Louisiana Derby, is out of the Arkansas Derby. He came up lame in his left front leg, and the cause has yet to be determined. This presumably takes him off the Derby trail, but who knows these days?

Hard Spun is officially out of the Blue Grass, and will either aim for the Preakness, or train up to the Derby, pending a workout at Churchill Downs on Tuesday. And the Arkansas Derby is shaping up as a showdown between two lightly raced colts in Deadly Dreamer and Curlin.


Green Mtn Punter said...

Vornado Realty Trust (Steven Roth) is one of the largest REIT's in the USA with proven ability to raise dough on Wall Street. Gotta give the Excelsior group a lot of credit, they've picked some winners to come off the bench at the eleventh hour. But I would feel a whole lot better if I knew one of these guys was a genuine racing fan, even a latent racing fan now ready to fully flower with the golden opportunity presented by the NY racing franchise. Hopefully we'll know more tomorrow afternoon following Excelsior's presentation in Albany. What we would really like to hear is the Albany "buzz" on Thursday-Friday to see if any of the presenters appeared to jump out ahead of the pack or will we have to wait to see the results of the back room wheeling and dealing between the 3 man triumverate that really runs NY State?

Anonymous said...

They have a little racing experience. In ownership they have John Johnston and Billy Johnston from Sportsman's Park fame and presently of Balmoral Park and Maywood Park.

Where they shine is with the consultants:

Jerry Bailey
Jerry Bilinski, D.V.M.
Gary Contessa
Dick Powell

They are willing to buy good consultants now. No reason whey they won't later.

Has Steve Wynn ever done anything in a half-assed manner?

Alan Mann said...

Agreed regarding the consultants. My concern is that most of the money guys, the Johnston boys being the exception, are casino guys.

Anonymous said...

The Real Estate developers worry me most. I can see it now, the grand opening of Aqueduct Field in 2010, just like Roosevelt Field before it.

Alan Mann said...

>>The Real Estate developers worry me most. I can see it now, the grand opening of Aqueduct Field in 2010, just like Roosevelt Field before it.

You brought up a bitter memory for this old Roosevelt Raceway regular.