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Monday, April 08, 2013

Monday Morning Notes

Spent some time at the Big A on Sunday; a couple of hours is about my limit, but harder to resist as the calendar turns to April and the action heats up (if mostly on the simulcast screens).  Leaving the track and heading west on Rockaway Blvd, saw this billboard.

Not unusual to see Parx ads around this area, as I often see them on NYC yellow taxis.  This one is particularly well-placed.  And, after initial skepticism, I checked on Google Maps, and indeed!  91.4 mi, 1 hour 40 mins.  More or less a straight shot down the Belt, across the Verrazano through Staten Island across the Goethals and down the NJ Turnpike to Exit 6.  Of course, that time estimate is assuming no at 4 AM, when Resorts World closes.  Parx may want to add that they are open 24 hours; perhaps they could get a burst of customers with NY license plates there at around 5:39 AM.  There are times of days during which it could take about that long just to get to Staten Island!  But at 99 minutes, that billboard could survive even the approval of casinos in New York; upstate locations preferred by Governor Cuomo could be much further away than that.  Essex County, one locality angling for a casino, would be at least a four hour drive.

And of course the ad features the usual photo of a group of young professionals having a great time.  I've yet to see that on any of my abbreviated visits and pass-throughs at a NY racino.  Maybe the table games are more fun.  Maybe not.

 - Even the hardcore crowd on the 1st floor of NYC-OTB at the Big A gasped upon seeing the replay of John Velazquez being thrown hard to the turf after Katie Malone clipped heals and fell in the 7th.  David Grening of the Form was on top of the situation on his Twitter feed, and reported that Johnny V fractured a rib on his right side and chipped a bone in his right wrist.  With an eye on the Kentucky Derby, Velazquez said:  “Hopefully, in a couple of weeks I can start doing something.”  Johnny V. was, or at least had been, in the position of being able to choose between the two presumed favorites at this stage.  Given his long relationship with the Toddster, I was a bit surprised to hear him say that he wanted to see how the horses were working before making a decision.  Now, as Grening points out
  Now, it might be a matter of whether those connections will wait for him to be declared healthy enough to ride.
 - Reader Chris wrote to point out that, had Verrazano been in the ten post for the Wood, "he would have been LATG!!"  Of course, one would presume that the starter would have been more attentive to the 4-5 favorite than he was to the plight of longshot Freedom Child, who was declared a non-starter, having been deemed not given a chance for a fair start.  Whatever you think that horse's chances to win or place in the Wood may have been (or not), the miscue did in theory cost his owners a chance to make the Derby.  And Chris pointed out that NYRA is not unaware of its possible liability for gate mishaps, and helpfully sent along a copy of the legal decision that reversed a summary dismissal of a lawsuit filed by Zayat Stables.  That was with respect to the career-ending injuries suffered by Phone Home when the gates opened before the same John Velazquez had securely re-mounted.  (And note that there was a similar incident at the Big A last Wednesday.)

 - Verrazano got a 95 Beyer for his win in the Wood; and like in Orb's Florida Derby, that number was no doubt compromised by the slow pace, which is not factored in to the Beyer figs.  He'll go into the Derby with his figs on a down trend of 105-101-95.   On the west coast, Goldencents got a career best 105 for his win in the Santa Anita Derby, a number which, if I'm not mistaken, could possibly make him the high last-out Beyer horse in the race.


Figless said...

The gate crew issue seems way more prevalent at NYRA than other tracks. In this particular case it seemed the starter sprung the latch too soon, horse had barely entered the gate and they were off, so I do not blame the handler.

Did they always have a handler in the gate with each horse? My memory is getting faulty but I seem to remember a handler only being in the gate if a horse had a record of being troublesome? Now each horse gets one and it leads to more problems than its worth (not to mention the possibility of low paid workers being influenced to hold a horse, just saying, no evidence). And yes I realize its a very dangerous job and I have no ill will toward the gate crew, but I doubt these guys are bonded, are not highly paid, and are in a position to influence a gambling event, stranger things have happened.

Second, and there is no easy answer to this one, had it happened to V instead of the longshot, in all likelihood he would have clunked up for third in which case NYRA routinely lets the result stand, presumably because there are some winning tickets.

Seems very inconsistent to me, either he got a fair start or not, his finish position should not matter. I have been beaten in the way a few times and it always leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

If a horse receives an unfair start, all wages should be refunded, regardless of where he finishes. The owner of course should receive any purse earning.

Steve Zorn said...

Note that frequent NYRA antagonist Karen Murphy was the lawyer for Zayat in the case you cited. Now she's (a) representing Rudy Rodriguez on the latest Banamine positive while at the same time (b) serving as an adviser to NYRA Board Chairman John Skorton. Seems to me that NY Code of Professional Responsibility Sec. 1.7 (Conflicts of Interest) has something relevant to say there.

Also, since no further proceedings in the Zayat case are listed on the court docket, one presumes that NYRA settled after the Appellate Division reversed the trial court's dismissal of the Zayat complaint. NYRA, by the way, was using the legal equivalent of a seven-pound bug as its lawyer, but that may have been dictated by its insurer.