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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Notes - July 24

- Reader Jim L writes: Are you going to have a Saratoga-only blog again this year? It does look like a terrific meet.... Yes, it certainly looks like a terrific meet, but no, sadly there will be no Saratoga-only blog this year. (Though the Head Chef promises to write some food columns again.) Reality (as in working for a living and dealing with kids) rears its ugly head this summer though, luckily and thankfully, interspersed with vacation. As you may know, we're off to Del Mar on Saturday morning for a week. By the time I extract myself from my beach chair and stroll over the track for the 2 PM post time there, the Saratoga races will be just about over! So as much as I'd love to write about the entire meet in detail as I did last year, Saratoga coverage will be spotty until I return (and same goes for this week amidst the usual pre-vacation hysteria).

But I will be up for Travers week. Whatsmore, I'll be doing some horse-by-horse stakes analysis for Sean and Joe Clancy's Saratoga Special, starting with the big BC Challenge races on Saturday; and I'll also, once I get back, be providing picks for the Special's selection grid in which us "professionals" will be competing against Joe's son who will be making his picks by throwing darts. Talk about pressure!!

As we mentioned yesterday, Governor Spitzer will not be at Saratoga this week either, nor at any time during the meet it would seem. Thanks to the reader who sent a link yesterday from the NY Daily News. It doesn't seem to be working today, but nonetheless we learned that Spitzer also "encouraged" the New York State Racing and Wagering Board to give up its boxes as well, though "not happily." I think that Brian, who, by the way, will be in Saratoga blogging on his Triple Crown Racing site (when he's not escorting patrons to their seats) made a great point when he wrote that turning down the box was a swipe at Bruno IMO. Whatever Spitzer's intention, it's really a swipe at the entire industry in New York.

The question for the Governor now, regarding the Attorney General's report on his office's plot to discredit Senator Bruno, is the familiar "what did he know and when did he know it?" The same questions that NBA Commish David Stern had to answer this morning (nothing, and 'not until after the season.') Not surprisingly, not everyone is buying Spitzer's claims of ignorance.

The claim was met with skepticism from politicians in both parties, since the governor is known to be something of a micromanager.

“Did the governor know?” asked Senator Dean G. Skelos, a Long Island Republican and the deputy majority leader. He said the report “leaves many questions open in terms of how far up the chain of command were the acts of — at least the acts of Dopp and Howard — known?”

Mr. Skelos added that he believed it would be “totally appropriate” for the Senate Committee on Investigations and Government Operations, which has subpoena power, to review the matter. It is expected that the Senate will do just that. Mr. Skelos is a member of the committee.

“You have the makings of a real conspiracy here,” he added. [NY Times]
I wouldn't be surprised if one of Spitzer's remaining aides is making some calls trying to find out what's up with that federal investigation of Bruno.... That seems to be about the only thing that would take the heat off the Gov at this point. Perhaps a trip (escorted by state police at taxpayer expense) up to the races would take his mind off things for a few hours!

- Good news from Belmont, where Rags to Riches was pronounced to be fine after a training scare the other day.
“Although everything seems to be fine, in order to be thorough she will have a complete physical done," said Pletcher. “Though her race plans will be made after the exam, she remains under consideration for the (grade I) Alabama at Saratoga August 18.” [Bloodhorse]


Anonymous said...

amazing...the steamroller, elected in a landslide of historic proportions, and with a sterling reputation for integrity and competence, now looks, just seven months later, like a bitter, conniving, lying, nixonian schemer. an epic, spectacular flameout. as you mentioned, no one believes he didn't have his hands all over this one, and, as always, the cover-up winds up stinging more than the fuck-up...
but anyway...what does it mean vis-a-vis the franchise? someone correct me if i'm wrong, but doesn't the steamroller's decision need to be voted on by the legislature? so let's say, for example, that the steamroller announces a plan on sept 4 in which nyra keeps the racing, either nyra or another entity else gets the slots, and AQU gets the wrecking ball? he does, after all, seem to have a drooling lust for that land. old joe and marbles-in-his-mouth-silver, on the other hand, both seem dead set against the closure of AQU, and after this fake-FOIL fiasco, they might not exactly feel like they have much to worry about by crossing the guv. so they put the kibosh on the plan, and we get to the end of the year, and....anyone care to fill in the blanks from the there????

TripleCrownRacing said...

Thanks for the plug and last night Charlie Hayward said that Spitzer will be on hand for the Travers.

Anonymous said...

Say what you will about Joe Bruno, he has been Saratoga's (and the racetrack's) greatest friend and patron in Albany over the past 30+ years. Joe has a genuine interest in horses, and racing, and is as knowledgable about it as anyone in Albany. It was the Friends of NY Racing and Empire fiasco that soured me on Joe- hopefully he's over that now and is ready to go to bat for the NYRA/Excelsior team. I'm surprised Spitzer is slated to show up for Travers Day- there's some nice folks in the clubhouse who no doubt have felt the heat of his Wall St Inquisition as AG! Better let ol' Joe handle the schmoozing at the Spa, he loves it and has had years of practice! /S/ Green Mtn Punter

Alan Mann said...

papachach -

I think that the friction between Spitzer and Bruno had already put the Gov's agenda in jeopardy even before the AG report. Yes, the legislature indeed has to approve whatever Spitzer comes up with. If Bruno is opposed to closing Aqueduct, then I don't think it will happen; it's as simple as that. If the legislature puts the kibosh on the plan, then I believe that Spitzer will have to settle for the best deal he can get. I don't believe - and I could be totally wrong about this - that Spitzer will want to allow the issue to linger, what with the slots revenue hanging in the balance. The question in my mind is whether Bruno will still be around come Sept 4 with that pesky federal investigation still pending.