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Monday, September 03, 2007

More Scrutiny for Spitzer, NYRA/Getnick Deal

- On the eve of Governor's Spitzer's franchise announcement, the NY Post is reporting exclusively today that Senator Bruno and Senate Republicans are about to launch new investigations of the governor intended to reveal what the senator refers to as questionable or "illegal" activities. In addition to the governor's possible role in the Troopergate affair, Bruno is targeting areas not yet before the public, including NYRA's proposed contract with its former monitor Getnick and Getnick.

"We believe there are ties between Getnick & Getnick and the governor which must be explored," said a source close to Bruno (R-Rensselaer). [NY Post]
That lucrative contract - said to be for $125,000 a month and awarded on a no-bid basis - has already been the subject of much discussion due to its appearance of conflict between the firm and NYRA, considering that it was Getnick and Getnick that gave NYRA the clean bill of ethical health that has it poised to receive an extension of its franchise. This new and potentially explosive accusation, if proven to be substantive, would certainly explain the silence on the matter from a governor who has been insisting on its franchise applicants being totally free of questions of integrity (even as he accepted over $600,000 in campaign donations from them). The Racing and Wagering Committee will handle the investigation.

According to the Post, The Investigations Committee will probe the Troopergate matter, which Bruno is convinced will be whitewashed by current investigations by the Democratic DA of Albany, and by an Ethics Committee chaired by a person described by the Post as a longtime Spitzer ally. And a third panel, the Elections Committee, will investigate multi-million dollar loans that Spitzer received from his father in conjunction with campaigns in 1994 and 1998.

And this is the rapidly deteriorating atmosphere into which Spitzer will announce his franchise decision tomorrow. As far as the chances of a rapid conclusion that would allow us to move on and tackle the critical OTB situation, rots of ruck, as they say.

- Linda Rice spoke to the NY Daily News about her fine Saratoga meeting.
"I moved my second division out of New Jersey here to Saratoga from Miami during the off-season....This is the first time I've stabled here six months of the year at Saratoga. I've had more horses ready to run for the meet, which creates more opportunities. I think that's made a big difference for me." [NY Daily News]
Her six race win streak went largely unnoticed, according to reporter Sherry Ross; not, of course, if you were reading this blog!

- Three horses suffered fatal injuries on the Del Mar Polytrack over the weekend; two during races, and one during a morning workout.
The three catastrophic injuries doubled the total on Polytrack, installed over the winter, to six in 41 days of a 43-day meeting.....There were 18 horses euthanized here last year, 14 as the result of injuries incurred on the dirt main track and four from the turf course. [San Diego Union Tribune]
And a clarification from a previous post in which I wrote that the Form had reported 14 fatalities on the Poly at Arlington this year - a long and extremely worthwhile piece on the surface and its results thus far, written by Gregory A. Hall in the Louisville Courier-Journal, puts that figure at 12, one of which was from a pulmonary hemorrhage.

- And surprise, surprise, at least to anyone following the sport via the New York media - the Meadowlands opens this afternoon for its thoroughbred meeting, and with nary a mention in the local press. The meeting always used to open on Labor Day, but had been shortened and moved back to October in recent years. It will run through Nov 10 this year, with a brief break for the special Breeders Cup mini-meeting at Monmouth. So indeed there is live thoroughbred racing on Labor Day in the NY metropolitan area this year.