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Wednesday, September 17, 2008


- Commentator is the 3-5 favorite in a field of seven for the Mass Cap at Suffolk on Saturday. Surprising that Asmussen didn't enter one of the four he said he would. That's too bad, though I doubt that any of them would have changed the pace scenario that will favor Zito's horse. John Ward trains Dr. Pleasure (7-2) who he says is "training five-six lengths better than before" laser surgery for an entrapped epiglottis. Ward is hoping that "a few of the locals go with" Commentator. That would be Volcanic Force and Riversrunrylee. But if Randy Moss' pace figures are any indication, those two will be hard pressed to keep up. Commentator could be a welcome single in a tough all-stakes Pick Four; or the Pick Three if you prefer (or if you get knocked out of the Pick Four in the first leg). It looks like an excellent betting card with large fields and a good weather forecast to boot.

I know I've had some differences with Zito of late, but Suffolk can't do much better than he as far as having an effusive and quotable spokesperson for the sport saddling the favorite...and I'm sure he'll talk up the virtues of the track's natural dirt course! You can agree or disagree with the guy, but Zito is one Straight Talk Express who has not veered horribly off course. He expressed support for the track's anti-slaughter program, and cited it as one of the reasons for coming.

"The New York tracks, I don't think they believe in it....I'm sure other tracks will join forces. I'm sure other tracks will come up with something." [AP]
- There appears to be like 24 races on the Little Brown Jug card. That's just sick! It's a national holiday in Delaware, Ohio, and they could have 50,000 people in attendance. One colt that looks real sharp to me is Shadow Play, the 5-2 second choice in the first Jug heat, to be run at around 3:52. He's had bad posts, bad trips, and the misfortune to be facing Somebeachsomewhere, allowed to walk to the half mile, in his last two. Before those, he's shown some high speed, and it looks like should be able to get to the top here, and perhaps hold off favored Badlands Nitro in a mild upset.

Art Official looks tough to beat overall, and will go to the Red Mile for a possible rematch with Somebeachsomewhere.


Anonymous said...

To Alan,
you may be aware, of now strong rumors slowly seeping out, that the goal posts have moved. between Delaware North & their main financiers, Merrill Lynch. Poss' to enquire/ followup,
to any of these parties, which way they have moved, as you seem to be well connected.
Thanks, a humble horseman.

sorry about posting here, it was just yr last post.

Anonymous said...

I wonder where all the broken down horses that have no more economic value to the owners and trainers are going? Horse retirement is an expensive proposition and the flks in Mass don't really have lots of extra money from the racing. I think it was track owner Richard Fields that pushed this program, so I wonder how it operates and what the successes and failures have been?

Anonymous said...

As to anon's DelNorth/Merrill Lynch query, in today's financing climate, all deals are being reevaluated. Debt coverage ratios, cash flow projections, secured collateral, industry trends, are all carefully being analyzed and adjusted, so everything is subject to modification. Based on my understanding, the NY VLT deal is not that "sweet" if you're the operator (highest state take or tax in the nation), so to put $370 million up as DelNorth proposes, essentially a licensing fee, with no real property secured, my guess is Merrill would certainly rethink this deal particualarly now that they will be folded up into a a more conservative institution Bank of America. Remember in PA, the new slot machine state, the operator's take is extremely higher, they own the real estate on which they operate and the upfront licensing fee was only $50 million. That's why the gaming business is profitable, the horse racing purses have more than doubled, and the state has tremendous cash flow pouring into its coffers. I follow this blog, so I know that Alan knows the players in NY, so maybe he can find out what the real deal is, and when we can expect a conclusion and some VLT proceeds!

Anonymous said...

whatever you do this month, get your contact's, to go through all
3 bidders & see if any have secure back-up.
Although thanks to Mary Lou & husband, for meals support etc, a lot of us, are actually living day to day, but with 2 of the bidders offering us great money up front, we wanted to believe & are led to believe everything was an easy fix. Understand politicians want big moeys unfront also, as they won't be around when hopefuly our/racing families expand & we move on from the present crap we are enduring.

Humble Horseman.

Anonymous said...


To sort of answer your questions, two programs have been in place operating out of Suffolk Downs well before the zero-tolerance ban was announced this year. Suffolk supports the TRF, and with the help of one of the trainers quite a few horses have gone to the TRF, more this year than ever.

There is also the New England chapter of CANTER ( that has operated out of the track (with support from management) since 2002. Again, this year support has increased from the track. CANTER NE's focus is working WITH the trainers to list their horses for sale on CANTER’s website so horses that have viable careers outside of racing (jumping, eventing, and pleasure) can be sold directly from trainer to buyer. They have really built a great relationship with a lot of the trainers there. With this program, endless donation dollars are not pumped into a horse sitting in a field, the trainers get some money, the horses have new homes, and everybody's happy.

And, very recently, an owner was in fact banned from the track after horses of his ended up at an auction in PA.

So, while the thought is good, and the execution may not be perfect, and it may just be an excuse to lure high profile trainers like Zito in...changes have happened. CANTER NE does not have the name recognition of the TRF, and could use more financial support for its mission (donations appreciated!), it’s run entirely by volunteers who visit the track every Saturday to take listings and bring buyers to the track. And to be clear, I have no affiliation with the track itself, I’m just a racing fan has always had her riding horses come from off of the track that is pretty intimately involved with CANTER and thinks that people need to be aware of what CANTER does. I’m happy to speak with people in more detail about it. :)

Anonymous said...

I think the entire VLT thing may just be put on hold again.

Credit markets are SO tight, doubt anyone will get this done, at least if they need to pay up front fees. Still need to finace the construction, and those loans will be tough to get for some time.

Perfect case of Albany fiddling...

Anonymous said...

after reading what I just wrote, if this thing is not signed on the dotted line by next foaling season, my mares are going to PA.

Anonymous said...

Alan - good hunch with Shadow Play in The Little Brown Jug first elimination today. He won and did so by setting the world record in 1:50.00

From the images on HRTV the placed looked packed to the gills too.

Alan Mann said...

Glimmer - Thanks for the update! I was following the action on the USTA live blog but it crashed and i was left in the dark. Glad to hear that HRTV is covering.

Anonymous said...

It wasn't a world record, Somebeachsomewhere holds the WR for 3yp on a half mile track, 1:49:2.