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Friday, February 06, 2009

Notes - Feb 6

I'm oppressively swamped with day work these days; it's the first time I really and truly feel as if I'm working full time and writing a blog. Thus, the decline in the pace (and perhaps the quality) of posting, and this could keep up for awhile. Not that I'm complaining about having work, mind you. Maybe I'll just post some music videos for awhile, like the old test patterns on TV (you older folks like me may remember that).

But as long as I have a little time, I'll ramble for a bit.

Jerry Bossert of the NY Daily News, is the first writer other than yours truly.....oh yeah, right, I'm not a writer, I'm a blogger......I've seen to wonder aloud just what the hell is going on with the Big A!?!?

Gov. Paterson announced on Oct. 23 that his administration selected Delaware North to operate the Video Lottery Terminals (slots) at Aqueduct.."

Yet, more than three months later, construction has yet to begin, and the New York budget gap continues to balloon.

What's holding this up?.....Attempts to reach the Governor's office for an recent update have been unsuccessful.
Well, Jerry, if the Pat Man gets back to you, please let us know. Chances are it's one or more items on this list.

[UPDATE - Tom Precious, reporting in the Buffalo News, beats Bossert to the punch (h/t to reader Watchful Horseman).
But Delaware North officials said Thursday that there are several issues still to be resolved with the state and that because of the nation’s financial crisis, the company has to “restructure” its $370 million financing deal for the project. [ed note - big surprise there.]
Delaware North officials said they are not prepared to sign a memorandum of understanding with the Paterson administration — a measure required before the $370 million can flow to Albany and ground can be broken on the project — until several issues are resolved.

“There’s 2z [sic] pages of outstanding items that need to be checked off,” Bissett said. “We’re working as fast as we can with the governor’s office and the agencies involved to get there.”]

Knew it was a slow day when the top headline on the Form's site on Thursday read Lieutenant Ron makes '09 bow. This horse didn't exactly end his 2008 campaign in the kind of blaze of glory that would have one contemplating his return. He finished 5th by ten lengths in the G3 Discovery, in which he was made the 6-5 favorite despite never having run around two turns. It has and will always amaze me how bettors will invest their money with so little to gain and so much in doubt....especially given all of the opportunities one has in today's global village of racing. But then again, without those bettors, we wouldn't have horses like that to bet against. So please just keep doing what you're doing, never mind.

I'm blabbering now I know. So now, Lieutenant Ron was cutting back to a sprint in the 8th at Gulfstream on Thursday. The chart notes that he broke through the gate, then was fractious while being reloaded. Maybe a few bettors ran back to cancel their bets at that point, figuring he wasn't worth 4-5. And he wasn't, checking in 7th by 11 lengths. Lieutenant Ron has now lost three out of four, at odds of 6-5, 4-5, and 7-10; a lot of West Point money down the drain there.

I can't believe they raced at Aqueduct Thursday - it was frigid cold. Scott Lake claimed Diva's Gold ($3.10) from Ken Ramsey for 50k in the first. This horse graduated for 30k just two races back, and had run second in a starters allowance last out, a race he'll still be eligible for after winning for a tag here. Winning trainer Michael Maker is getting going now after a slow start, with four winners from his last nine starters, but there's no value to be had. His Tis Cactus Nellie ran 4th as the 2-1 second choice in the 8th, a race won by Starship Cruiser ($6.30), for Rick Dutrow.

Say what you will about the little scamp, but he can sure train a racehorse. On Sunday, Kip Deville was coming off his wasted trip to Japan in December, and was in a bit of a slump with three losses in a row. He was conceding two to twelve pounds in the G1 GP Turf Handicap at a distance a solid furlong beyond his favorite mile distance. But Dutrow had the former BC Mile champ spot on. A series of weekly five and six furlong breezes, and he was razor sharp. The race was more exciting than it looked on the chart; Kip Deville was under pressure most of the way, the exception being the third quarter, when Cornelio Velazquez gave him a breather of 23.77 seconds. From there, Kip Deville stormed home in 34.49, and put Court Vision - a legitimate favorite at the distance in my view - in his place when that one loomed midstretch. A masterful job by trainer, jockey, and the little horsey alike.

OK, back to work, so time for the music video.


Anonymous said...

Watchful Horseman.

Just in -

At last, someone speaks - Assemblywoman Audrey I. Pheffer…..
“If it’s Delaware North, then I’d have to say to the governor, ‘OK, if it’s not Delaware North, look at somebody else’ for the contract.” ......

Only trouble is, after the political rubbish & US$1.5Million bidding proposal cost, for the other 2 Aqueduct stool pigeon bidders & this weeks disastrous Maryland slots bidding, is it now worthwhile for any public bidding entity.

What we should know & other bidders, if they are still out there, is what are the new conditions that the NY State have relented on, to carry DelNorth over this invisible, secretive line.
Bissett is increasing the speed of DelNorths back-step, as he perhaps of the impression, they are it, regardless of procrastinated negotiations..& any distant drip feed rations fed to the NY racing sector, surrounding communities & the state.

Anonymous said...

Watchful Horseman

Someone speaks, may be a bit over the line. She seems to knows, as much as we do.
.....“I’m just frustrated, and so is the community,” said Assemblywoman Audrey I. Pheffer, D-Queens, whose district includes the track.

She said Gov. David A. Paterson and Delaware North have been stingy with information about why the original goal of beginning construction shortly after Jan. 1 did not occur.
Delaware's agreed $370 million, license fee, is just for the rights to construct the complex, of which $250 million is to be raised via a bond issue.

Ok, who's going to under-write them - Delaware North's troubled financier, Bank of America, isn't allowed under their emergency additional requested, (US House), Troubled Asset Relief Program, or T.A.R.P., to lend to such a speculative project & it certainly is viewed in this context, as this as such a large amount has been tendered 'Upfront'.

Everything from day one in this fiasco, is still as clear, as eye splattered mud, coming from the rear, blindly up the back stretch, with no winning post able to be sighted, by the horsemen & NY's frustrated racing & community patrons.

Anonymous said...

Watchful Horseman

I heard Magna are bringing their
30 year, $22.5 Million, postdated Maryland cheque & many escrow conditional bid, that will have them thrown from the Maryland slots bid, to Aqueduct.

Wouldn't surprise me, if Stronach is also granted a secretive/invisible audience, he fits into tis mix.

Anonymous said...

Let's see: the credit markets are one thing, but could DelNorth be dragging its feet on purpose to distance itself from the NYRA, just in case there's something delicious and untoward to come out of the Bruno investigation, maybe? DelNorth does have to protect itself and its reputation elsewhere.
I'm just sayin'...

Anonymous said...

Watchful Horseman.

Now that she has stood up, to be counted, Assemblywoman Audrey I. Pheffer, MUST ask & receive a reply on a big question.

Gov Paterson announced that they were conducting a final financial analysis of each bidder to confirm their financing in October. The financial crisis was already swirling then.

Did Delaware North then have its financing, confirmed or not ???
Did they have 'committed financing' in writing, directly from their lending sources?
If they did, the banks would have to/must honor, this commitment.

Did DN lie and if so, the State is GUILTY, of overlooking this lie, in order to choose DN.
No other way to phrase it.

Alan - anyway to reach Ms Pheffer's office/sources to follow this up, all of NY racing would appreciate it, save DelNorth & their political cohorts perhaps ???

Alan Mann said...

>>Alan - anyway to reach Ms Pheffer's office/sources to follow this up, all of NY racing would appreciate it, save DelNorth & their political cohorts perhaps ???

She had nothing to say when I contacted her a few weeks ago, but perhaps it's worth another try..

jamesp said...

Work, schmerck Alan - it'll still be there tomorrow. Tell the Head Chef you got some errands to run!

I was surprised too, though, that they raced at Aqueduct or anywhere in the hemisphere yesterday when it's that cold. Geez, a horseplayer coulda died crossing that Meadowlands parking lot last night before they even reached the entrance. I'm surprised more of them don't.

The posted attendance was 2,800 but most of them must have been from the afternoon - there sure as hell weren't 2,800 people there last night. It's getting to be like Freehold - the same 1,000 people that go every day and all seem to know each other.

They just raised the valet parking up to ten bucks plus tip, too, so screw that. I'll park for free and walk, wind or no wind. Ten bucks! That's ten dollar doubles, or a HUNDRED dime superfectas your talking there.

Ah, but once you get in the joint you got it all to yourself, all that room, all that live action going on at once! What's not to like?

And those harness horses up in Canada are some tough little buggers, too - snow, ice, wind in their faces, they keep running.


Anonymous said...

can you place the comments link, above your video, as we are simple horsemen, is as confusin' as this subject & link Watchful Horseman h/o, to comments, as we must encourage, more racing, community feedbk.

steve in nc said...

I too have been working my little #### off, but in this economy, that is NOT a complaint. True oppression would be fruitlessly sending out resumes. We'll forgive you if the blog slides a little, but for someone without a lot of time, that was a long post, dude.

But you will have a lunch break, so in AQ's 3rd, will you take a stand against Noble Lad, who went for $1.4M at auction but didn't break his maiden until age 4 last month, impressively, and is now in for a $75k tag when he fits the allowance condidtions of the optional claimer?

If he's a price, I may try See More Spirit.

Alan Mann said...

steve in nc - Lunch Break? What's that....another horse running in the 3rd? :-/

Sunny - I hear ya man, the Meadowlands rules. Why, you just might find me up on the 3rd floor there tonight...

WH - Don't understand the problem with the video....just use the comment link below it. Unless you have some weird browser thang going on.

Anonymous said...

From Page Six......


February 6, 2009 --

APPARENTLY, being the top- ranked lobbyist in Albany isn't enough. We're told Patricia Lynch, whose recent deals include the first video slot machines in New York City to be installed at Aqueduct Raceway, is now expanding to Panama. She joins the burst of American businesses looking to capitalize on the hotspot's strategic location as the gateway to Latin America. And with New York's economy on shaky ground, Lynch's clients say they're counting on her to open doors for new opportunities down south.

Anonymous said...

Pat Lynch and Shelly Silver have a chance in Panama. They both know how to dole out the dinereo to influence bad determinations. just take the VLT parlor at Aqueduct as an example.....

Anonymous said...

Watchful Postman.

Decipit can, of 'Wriggy Worms' is opening, as foretold by moiii & others.

Yesterday's media; 'DelNorth's, Bissett, confirmed the lending freeze in the financial markets has caused the company to “restructure’’ its financing package, including seeking new lenders'.

Alan - Question to also ask, Assemblywoman Ms Audrey Pheffer, is - do you agree there
now seems legal grounds, for the state, to sue DelNorth and/or their bankers, in re-reimbursing them for $1Million in lost revenue per day'.

Which should also be paid in pro-rata, to NY racing & Queens community.
We are ALL, damm well sick of, lies, lies, lies, on this particular project..

Reason for utilizing this blog, is - as you maybe aware I & others, are unable to ask her or other departments, as we are binded by contractual agreements in matters like this - must go through our direct chain of command.…meaning…..yeah….I'm sure you & somewhat knowledgeable bloggers, on this post, comprehend.

NY Racing World awaits 'Your Reply' !

Anonymous said...

The legal argument is interesting, but any good contract (for the vendor, and I have zero confidence in the State's attorneys) would protect the bidder in case the financing failing to materialize.

But logically it should also provide for voiding the deal.

Bottom line, nothing matters, in this economy this deal is not going forward, no different than the rest of the stalled projects around the world, unless of course NYRA manages to get in on the "stimulus" package.

This deal is "shovel ready" and provides(or at least maintains, which is just as important right now) jobs and revenue, is as worthy as many of the other special interest deals loaded in the bloated package.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the lie detector test or some form of war prisoner torture should be used to get people to tell the truth about the broken down Aqueduct/DelNorth/NYRA deal. Now, we "suckers" involved with racing and horses are told by Paterson's spokesperson Risa Heller and Delaware North's President William Bissett that getting up and running is a "very complex process." In my opinion, the only thing holding it up is the fact that Delaware North bid more upfront money, $370 million, than the deal is worth and they want to squirm out of that comittment by getting the payment due March 31st spread out over time or get the VLT percentages changed in the companies favor to the detriment of the state. And by the way, it would be offensive to the other Aqueduct bidders if "market protection" from potential Belmont Park VLT's is the excuse to renegotiate DelNorth's offer. Remember the day Paterson announced the deal with DelNorth, his comment "Delaware North upped the ante," clearly indicating the highest up-front payment was the reason they were selected.

Yesterday in Precious' Bloodhorse piece, Jeffrey Gordon from Paterson's budget office said "$250million in cash is already set aside for the project," so forget about blaming the fragile municipal bond market anymore.

Bissett said in the Buffalo News piece yesterday that another holdup "was working with the NYRA on leasing language for the casino." Excuse me, but this language has been available for all to see since the old NYRA emerged from Bankruptcy on September, 12th, 2008, as the sub-leases, without the gaming operator name filled in, were approved as a part of the final Bankruptcy court order.

On Septemebr 22nd, 2008, Dicker in the NY Post indicates that "The Wall Stret crisis has led Paterson administration officials to temporarily put off a long-awaited decision on choosing one of three potential builder-operators of the Aqueduct racetrack's massive entertainment and casino complex. The officials want to take a second look at the financing behind each of the three would-be operators to make sure it's still solid." Seemed like good business at the time to be CERTAIN all bidder's fiancing's were committed, no different than any of us purchasing a home with a firm mortgage committement. Now we learn from Mr. Bissett that "DelNorth needs to restructure its fiancing and seek new lenders," surely not fair to the other bidders. Who did the financing analysis for the state anyway?

The answer is this according to an article that appeared October 27th, 2008 in the Timesunion blog, by Irene Jay Liu: "On April 23rd, 2008 the State's MOU relating to the VLT franchise was given to each of the bidders and the bidders were asked to submit a best and final offer to the Excutive Legislative leaders. Since then, the offices of the Governor and Legislative leaders have engaged in an extensive due diligence review of each of the three bids. Their offices were aided in that review by the new York State Division of the Lottery and the office of the New York State Inspector General as well as the New York State Division of the Budget and the Empire State Development Corporation, which both conducted a fiancial analysis of each of the three bids." I find it hard to beleive that all of these analysts fumbled on the DelNorth finacing committment? Perhaps what they were looking at was not coming from the actual source of funding, or maybe the money came with strings attached, nonetheless, a serious mistake was made.

If you think I'm tired of the shennanigans associated with this debacle, you're right! All of those with noses like Pinocchio stand aside and let one of the others takeover and put together a solid deal for Aqueduct that benefits the State, the citizens and we NY horse fools!