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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Franchise Notes - May 30

- I got some pushback from my Belmont backstretch connection regarding my Australia connection's contention that a full contingent from Capital Play did indeed visit the backstretch, on May 14. The former tells me "Bullshit," while the latter says "But before the throne of God I declare it happened." (He didn't specify whether that's the Northern or Southern Hemisphere God.) Since I wasn't there, I'm going to step out from the middle. But since I have no reason to think that either side is making anything up, let's just say that it's apparent that a group from Capital Play visited, but did not met with everyone that would like to have a word with them (and has since postponed at least one subsequent appointment to do so). And I'll just leave it at that.

An Australian site reports that Capital Play is negotiating with James Packer, who heads Crown Gaming, which claims on their website to be Australia's largest Casino, to be their casino partner.

Capital Play president and chief executive Karl O'Farrell refused to confirm or deny the Packer negotiations but a source close to the group said the Australian billionaire was one of four potential casino partners.

However, he said Crown Gaming had been a "late arrival" to the negotiations and may not get to the line in time, given that Mr O'Farrell is anxious to name a casino partner as soon as possible. []

And again we see a little cultural disconnect when the story informs us that: "The 113-year-old racetrack in Queens is accessible from all over New York for just $US2 on the subway, a guarantee of packed houses in a gaming market estimated at 50,000 machines." The fact is that for those in parts of the city such as the Bronx or upper Manhattan, it would be far easier and quicker to take a bus to Yonkers than to get to the Big A by train.

- According to Charles Hayward, it was not NYRA's idea to break up the franchise and have them run Saratoga. "I don't think anybody believes that splitting the tracks would be prudent....I don't think the breakup of the tracks is realistic under any scenario." [The Saratogian] But as reporter Paul Post writes of the ongoing dispute over who owns the land, letting NYRA have some share of the franchise might be the only way out.