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Monday, January 28, 2008

Too Close To Call

- Calder's president Ken Dunn told that he expects a "tough race" for approval of slots in Miami-Dade.

Dunn is not predicting the result, and “Yes for a Greater Miami-Dade,” the pari-mutuels’ political action committee that raised $5.2 million through Jan. 8, is not releasing any poll data.
No polls have been released by either side, which means a) the race is probably quite close, and b) wow, an election in which we really have no idea what the results will be, pretty cool.

The turnout is expected to be high of course due to the presidential primary. But remember that the state is being boycotted by the Democrats (most of them, anyway) because the date was moved up earlier than the Democratic National Committee would allow. So if the turnout is dominated by Republicans, I would guess that wouldn't be good for the pro-slots forces in a state in which the issue has broken largely across party lines.

Meanwhile, the Seminoles are forging ahead with the first phase of their compact agreement with Governor Crist despite the court challenge by the Florida House. The Class III slot machines are being rolled out at its Hard Rock Cafe casino in Hollywood Beach, and the number of machines to eventually be installed there threaten to simply overwhelm the existing slots at racetracks in Broward.
The nearly 1,000 new Las Vegas-style slot machines debuting Monday are the beginning of what could be more than 15,000 games expected to be installed at the Hard Rock Casino...

"We ordered thousands of new slot machines following the Jan. 7 approval by the U.S. Department of the Interior of the company agreement between the State of Florida and the Seminole Tribe," said James Allen, CEO of Seminole Gaming. "We had no idea so many machines would be available so soon," said Allen.

Allen credited the delivery of the games to the tribe's "buying power" and its relationships with the manufacturers. [WPLG-TV Miami]
- I was watching Matt Carothers on his 58 Flat program for awhile on Sunday, and just as the 5th at Philly Park was going off, he quickly noted that jockey Joanne McDaid fell off Interception, which was his selection in the race. They're off, you lose, as they say. After the race, Carothers looked at the replay and, while trying not to be critical and emphasizing that he hoped she was OK (she was), he repeatedly expressed surprise that the rider couldn't stay on. The replay from the standard angle showed the horse bobble a bit, and I agree that the cause of her dismounting was not clear from that view. I know that Matt tries to be edgy on this program, but I really think he should have withheld any such comment until and unless he saw the head-on replay (and I say that without having seen it myself). A lot of things happen during a race that one cannot comment fairly on from just seeing the pan shot. The chart comment noted that Interception lunged at the start then stumbled unseating his rider.

The following race at Philly was interesting for us tote watchers. First-time starter Sensual Melody was bet down based on her bullet half-mile work, and Carothers was fully on board. He emphasized that her sire, Brahms, was a very good first-out stallion (though a later check of BRIS showed a percentage of 10%, which I personally would classify as average). But another first-timer in the race, Dulce Realidad, was 8-1 morning line off some very moderate works, yet was also getting heavily bet. She was down to 2-1 at one point, with virtually no money in the show pool. Well, you know how I love that kind of action, so I made a small bet boxing the two horses. There's something perverse to me about boxing two first-time starters in a in, it's nothing but a guess, and a longshot one as well, no matter what the odds are, really.

Nonetheless, that's what I did, and, not surprisingly to me, it was Dulce Realidad (Sweetsouthernsaint), up to 4-1 at post time, who skipped out to an easy lead. Sensual Melody couldn't keep up, and was done by midstretch, fading to 4th, while the winner was being wrapped up under the wire. (Joanne McCaid got third on 31-1 shot Squeakums.)

- Go Between is now two-for-two on synthetics after taking the Sunshine Classic on Saturday at Santa Anita. His other 19 starts have been on grass for trainer Bill Mott. Diamond Stripes was 4th as the 2-1 favorite; you can speculate that he didn't take to the Cushion in his first synthetic try - or maybe that his ambitious placing in the BC Classic hasn't done him any good, as he also disappointed in the Clark Handicap.


Anonymous said...

I watched the replay of the start of the 5th at Philly at least 5 times form the race track monitors that were showing the steward's inquiry. Those of us at the races concluded that McDaid safely jumped off the horse and that it appeared she was in not in any danger. The horse did not lunge at the start yesterday, but when reviewing the comments from its prior start, the horse lunged then and McDaid galloped it around that day. She may have had some concern staying on this horse yesterday. If I were a stew, she would have been called in immediately to talk about her dismount. Welcome to the PHA!

Alan Mann said...

>>Welcome to the PHA!

Thanks for that feedback. The chart says the horse stumbled, but it sounds like you didn't see that on the head-on?

Anonymous said...

Slight bobble to the right, no stumble, not even enough to make contact with another horse. Because the break was not "perfect", McDaid may have decided to take a leap before things got dicey as she may have recalled from the horse's prior start with her aboard, a propensity for him to misbehave.

ljk said...

There's a property tax initiative on the ballot in FL, so the turnout is expected to be high for both Republicans and Democrats. So far 400,000 Democrats have voted in early and absentee balloting, with a similar number of Republicans.
I'm assuming you're not recommending that I get out and vote for Rudy tomorrow ;)

Anonymous said...

if Carothers didn't give out the horse he wouldn't have been so critical of the jock and would not have repeated himself over and over. Matt Carothers is a big mouth tout who needs to stop buying his shirt and ties from the 99 cents store. He can't keep his big mouth shut about anything.

Alan Mann said...

I'm assuming you're not recommending that I get out and vote for Rudy tomorrow ;)

Yeah, I think I've been fairly clear about that. :)