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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Unbeaten Streak (and the Hard News) Is Precious

A lot of lively debate about Zenyatta here, and mostly respectful; I think that Dirty only used the f word twice thrice. In any event, I suspect that everyone would get along just fine over a few beers (and I'd like to be there for that)!

My take is this: I'd of course love to see Zenyatta hit the road in search of new challenges, particularly, in my biased view, to Saratoga. I think she'd draw a few more people than 12,000 there. What a day that would be, eh? Plus, I try to be consistent, and I have exhorted connections of certain other horses to be more sporting and fancy free, and not be so afraid to lose. So I can't say that I think that ballyfager and others who argue that her connections are being too conservative are wrong.

But there is one factor here that makes me inclined to give Jerry Moss an ambivalent pass - and that's the fact that Zenyatta remains undefeated. That's a legacy that I can't blame her owner for cherishing dearly. A loss would mean a lot more to him than it would to anyone else. And, to be fair, Moss put Zenyatta's streak squarely on the line last fall when she was entered in the Classic. Nobody would have whined too much if she went out on that note, Personal Ensign-style. Instead, as jp pointed out, they not only brought her back to race at six, but they showed up at Oaklawn and have plotted a course to Kentucky to face the best horses in the world in the Classic. Isn't that enough?

I can certainly understand the Zenyatta team's concern over sending her to stand for six hours in a strange detention barn in possibly stifling heat and humidity in Saratoga. So while it's disappointing to hear that she'll likely remain in California for now (and in an effort to play both sides of the debate so that no one calls me a dumb fuck), I think that Zenyatta has earned the right to be a prima donna. And besides, a mile and a sixteenth in the Clement Hirsch against St Trinians may not be a lock (though note that they would in this case both carry 123 pounds).

- Back here in NY, the long-expected federal recognition of the Shinnecock tribe is bound to revive talk of a full-blown casino in or around New York City, particularly at Belmont. However, remember that present federal law prohibits them from operating a casino more than 75 miles from its reservation in Southampton on Eastern Long Island, a location which is widely considered to be a logistical nightmare. That would take them only as far as Port Washington, which leaves them, alas, a frustrating 7.7 miles short of the finish line at Belmont. They would need federal legislation to make up that distance, and, from the sound of it, they might have more luck getting Belmont to move east towards them.

As an alternative to federal legislation, some tribes can put off-reservation land in trust, but a recent court decision has limited that option to tribes with more longstanding recognition.

“They’re going to need legislation,” said Bennett Liebman, executive director of the government law center at Albany Law School and a former member of the state’s racing and wagering board.

“This is a long, hard process,” he added. “They have significant leverage in dealing with the state; they don’t have leverage in dealing with the federal government.” [NY Times]
- The New York State Senate passed Governor Paterson's latest emergency budget extender, thus avoiding a government shutdown. It also apparently averted a shutdown of the tracks. When I got back from Florida, I saw that Tom Precious had reported on that Racing and Wagering Board officials told him that racing would have to be suspended because state workers who serve in such posts as racing stewards and equine drug testers would be furloughed. When I contacted a spokesperson for the Board late last week before I went away, I just got a "no comment." Just goes to show you where you should be going for the hard news.

1 Comment:

R. Oulette said...

Long queue to enter the casino. The most memorable part of it, other than the length, was that a few guys - possibly our foreign workers - were thrown out of queue due to their dress code. One of their jeans was torn at the kneecap.