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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Imperial Curlin

- "We're still considering all our options....Nothing has been eliminated yet," said Steve Asmussen of Curlin. [Bloodhorse] So I guess that thing about the fans voting was just bullshit, yes?

"There are many elements to consider and ultimately Curlin's vote will count the most. His responses during his training sessions will guide our decision on his future." [Stonestreet Farms website]
Curlin? Who died and made him Imperial President? I thought it was a dumb idea anyway. Would the Red Sox let their season ticket holders decide whether or not to trade Manny? Don't be surprised if those of you who voted find yourselves on the Kendall-Jackson winery emailing list!

- A slight change in tune by NYRA's Charles Hayward after the significant declines in attendance and handle for the first week of Saratoga. Before the meet, Hayward minimized the possible effects of the economy, saying "I think we temper our expectations against the weather really more than the gas." Now, he says in a press release:
"We came into the 2008 Saratoga meet knowing that the economy, gas prices, and a particularly early opening in July would result in business declines compared to a record 2007." [NYRA]
To be fair, Hayward had acknowledged before the opening that last year's numbers would be tough to beat even if gas was "29 cents a gallon." (It's not.) And the horrible weather and lack of a Day 2 giveaway certainly had a large effect. But I don't think there's any getting around the fact that the difficult times are going to make it extremely tough, if not plain impossible, to make up even just a portion of those declines even if the weather is Del Mar-perfect from here on out. (Though I'm not ready to portray this as the beginning of the end of the Saratoga world, as Paul Morose did on

- Somebeachsomewhere has bounced out of his first career defeat in fine fettle, according to trainer Brent McGrath. "He came out of the race super."
He’s had a great week. He enjoyed the truck ride home and he’s been bouncing around and looking forward to his next race." [Standardbred Canada]
The colt is scheduled to race in an elimination heat for an Ontario Sire Stakes on Sunday at Mohawk. Meadowlands Pace winner Art Official will race on Saturday at Indiana Downs, and Ron Pierce will fly there for the drive after driving at the Meadowlands on Hambletonian day that afternoon. Trainer Joe Seekman said: “It’s going to be tight on Hambletonian Day, but we’re going to try to swing it." [US Trotting Association] Hope he's not flying American Airlines, that's all I can say.

In the Hambletonian, Deweycheatumnhowe will attempt to become the first unbeaten (14 for 14) Hambo winner since the multiple heat format was so unfortunately discarded in 1997.
Only six winners over the past 62 years were unbeaten at age 3: Donato Hanover (2007), Scarlet Knight (2001), Malabar Man (1997), Mack Lobell (1987), Sharp Note (1952) and Titan Hanover (1945). [Harness Edge]
By the way, Somebeachsomewhere is the 3-1 favorite in the advance wagering for the Little Brown Jug. Only problem is that he's not going to run in it. However, we're told that the bettors have shown that they still want him to race in Delaware. I can think of better ways to send that message than pissing my money away in a futures pool. Maybe they can go and vote on Jess Jackson's website instead.


SaratogaSpa said...

Agree that no way Saratoga will catch up with last years attendance after the week 1 low attendance, but to be fair, in the same NYRA post Hayward was quoted as saying: “But, ultimately, we’re more dependent on the weather than anything, and after a rough start early, we rebounded over the weekend. We’ll look for the weather to cooperate as the meet progresses."
More than anything else, the weather affects Saratoga than anything else. The economy is a factor but not the biggest factor at this meet.

Anonymous said...

The size of the crowds at Spa are going to be impacted by the weather, economics, and the draw factor of who's racing.

Street Sense and Hard Spun last year on Travers Day nudged up the crowds a bit more. However the blazing hot temps ensured several thousand more would rather watch it on tv.

Every little expense adds up. So its not just the price of gas but also the $10 per parking space in someone's back lot, etc.

Sure everyone could cash in during those few summers when eveyday the stock market was up another 100 pts, homes could still be flipped with seeming ease by even a caveman, and GM was adding additional production shifts to make the Hummer H2.

I myself was going to attend the Test Stakes, in particular, this Saturday if Indyanne was going to be there. She skipped so instead I'm just going to go to Friday's twilight racing instead.

Who knows maybe Wed will see an uptick in fans wanting to see HRH The Queen's horse, Medley (GB), in the De La Rose Stakes. I don't think she'll be jetting into Albany International to watch her run. In fact I don't think she's ever been to Saratoga ...

Anonymous said...

FYI--No twilight racing until the last friday of the meet.

Anonymous said...

Thanks JK on the twilight notation. My wife and I are going straight from the airport to the track and will miss the first two races I suspect, so I shouldn't have mentioned twilight after all.

Alan you'll be happy to see, I suspect, the Hambletonian on NBC Sports Saturday at 2pm EST: NBC to air 83rd Hambletonian

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know how the bulk giveaway tickets factor into the attendance totals ? Does the special (inside the track) booth for the bulk buying of the coupons factor into the attendance totals ? Or does the attendance only count with the physical spin of the turnstile ?

Anonymous said...

Report from up north, the old place was a morgue this weekend, vacancies at the nearby hotels for SATURDAY, Whitney night.

No lines for anything, Sunday night Lilians was half empty, used to have to wait an hour for a table.

As for the weather, the forecast up there for Saturday was perfect, and indeed it was until very late in the card so Charlie can not blame the attendance drop on Whitney Day on the weather.

The skies opened right after Race 11 drenching those of us that already began walking back to town, but it was a beautiful day at the track.

ljk said...

If you want to talk real lonliness, I went over to watch the Amsterdam on Monday and there was nobody there. I know Mondays are slow, but...

One thing Moran is right about is the embarrasment of the 3rd week, without a single graded race (steeplechases don't count).

Anon: I've never understood why Lillian's isn't mostly empty most every night.

SaratogaSpa said...

the physical spinners are counted as well as those who but multiple giveway tickets inside-so yes the giveway day attendance is definitely kicked up.

Agree with LJK-Lillian's is mediocre at best--I went to Maestro's and it was packed, ate at Grey Gelding next night also packed.

Also, the Saratoga Racino was packed-maybe people just like sitting in the AC pulling the slots?

Alan Mann said...

>>>>One thing Moran is right about is the embarrasment of the 3rd week, without a single graded race (steeplechases don't count).

That's unreal. That weekend with the two state-bred races is going to be a tough sell.

And yes, that's cool about the Hambo on TVG, and Gary Seibel gets a shot at the big time.

Anonymous said...

No recession at Beverly's (close to 20 years) Hattie's(30+ years in biz when I started going c 1968) Sperry's (already 30+ years under present owner) and The Wishing Well (40 years under present owner). Many trendy places,i.e., the fashionable, "fine dining" restaurants du jour, have come and gone during my many years at the Spa but these four have all survived and prospered.

I am amazed at how much better the restaurants are in Saratoga Springs compared to those in the entire State of VT. Try 'em and find out why! Handicappers may conclude that none of my faves are on high rent Broadway, they are tucked away on Phila, Caroline, and the old Glens Falls Rd(U S 9).

To these, though, I must add Eddie Miller's NY Hot Dogs on Broadway, and The Wine Bar on Broadway, my only Broadway places, the latter thanks to it's cigar room where an after dinner glass of port, a nice cigar, and a friendly chat can be enjoyed with like minded racing fans. A nice touch of old world Saratoga Springs. Very civilized.
/S/Green Mtn Punter

Anonymous said...

Anon again, to clarify I was in no way recommending Lilians, I ate there once and was very disappointed, but it ALWAYS was mobbed with a long wait on weekends, including Sunday, and was empty last weekend.

Can only imagine the void this weekend without any draw whatsoever.