- Thanks to reader
lawman lawboy for his first hand account of the proceedings at the Albany Law School seminar. And it's true that some of the more interesting comments were not reported in the press. He also came away from Frank Mauro's presentation with a totally different impression than did Steve Crist, who wrote after hearing the same discussion that NYRA's land claim is the kind of arcane legal/legislative issue that could keep 100 lawyers on each side arguing for decades. The clear indications are that the state is not willing to take the risk.
The proposed contract that would make Getnick and Getnick, NYRA's one-time federal monitor, its $125,000-a-month "business integrity" adviser was also a subject of discussion. NYRA is seeking to give the firm the deal without competitive bids. You may recall that its racino contract with MGM Grand was also awarded on a no-bid basis. That action was widely criticized, but apparently that criticism didn't have much of an impression on NYRA. Bennett Liebman, the organizer of the conference, told the AP the other day that the contract raises the question of whether "Getnick & Getnick is being rewarded for writing a favorable report two years ago about the New York Racing Association."
The Saratogian quotes Richard Rifkin as saying: "There is no governor's plan....He has never articulated a plan." I know that he was trying to make the point that we shouldn't assume that the reports leaking out of his office are true, but in doing so, he was likely and unwittingly informing us as to just how little attention the governor has really paid to this whole affair. With less than four weeks until his scheduled announcement, it's hardly reassuring to hear his legal counsel tell us that he has no plan.
And the paper also reports that Gary Pretlow contradicted statements by Rifkin that Spitzer has met with legislatures about the franchise.
"They (Spitzer's office) have not met with the legislature, they have not met with me. Contrary to what Mr. Rifkin just said, there have not been several meetings with the legislature, because I would have been part of them."While I hope that Pretlow is correct about the Big A, I certainly hope he's wrong when he said that he wouldn't be surprised if whoever doesn't get the franchise decides to sue the state. Oh man.
"If he (Spitzer) recommends closing Aqueduct it's not going to happen. There will be a lot of contentious debate on that and I'm pretty sure that myself and people who agree with me will win out." [Saratogian]
- I haven't used my OTB phone account since I started using NYRA's fine internet account wagering. But I received a mailing from them regarding a new program called OTBPay, by which one can move money from a checking account to the wagering account in minutes, either via the phone, internet, or at some OTB locations. It claims to be "the first OTB in the country to allow the use of electronic funds transfers.." (But you have to get to the back page to learn of the fees, ranging from 4.5 to 6.5%.)
If you click on the 'Funding' tab on the NYRA site, you get a message informing you that "Online funding funcionality is coming soon." That's a big piece that's thus far missing from the NYRA program. And it's also a reminder of the way that OTB competes with NYRA for our betting dollars. I must admit that I plan to enroll for the program in case of tap-out emergencies.
- The Arlington Million is coming up on Saturday, and it, as well as the Beverly D. for fillies and mares, and the Secretariat for three-year olds, are all part of the "win and you're in" Breeders Cup Challenge series. Neil Milbert, writing in the Chicago Tribune, notes that the rise of the two supporting stakes on the Million card have detracted from the big race.
Before the Beverly D. and the Secretariat attained their present stature it was commonplace to see fillies and mares and 3-year-olds running in the Million and acquitting themselves quite well.A field of eight is expected in the Million, headed by After Market, The Tin Man, and Sunriver.
A 3-year-old colt from England, Tolomeo, won the third running in 1983 and a 6-year-old mare from California, Estrapade, went to the winner's circle in 1986.
Other noteworthy performances were seconds by 4-year-old filly Royal Heroine in 1984 and 3-year-old filly Lady in Silver in 1989 and thirds by 3-year-old filly Madam Gay in the 1981 inaugural and 3-year-old colt Sunshine Forever in 1988.
No filly, mare or 3-year-old can be found on the list of eight horses pre-entered for Saturday's 25th running. [Chicago Tribune]
- George Vecsey's column in the NY Times on Barry Bonds (linked here from the International Herald Tribune, no registration required) is worth a read no matter how you feel about his becoming baseball's all-time home run king. While acknowledging the controversy over his suspected steroid use and possible perjury before a grand jury, Vecsey writes: For one day, let's call a truce..
Nobody - and certainly not some chemist in a white smock - swung the bat for Bonds against objects moving 80 or 90 or 100 mph. He had to do that himself, with the superb reflexes he had as a cocky stripling, and the craft he acquired as a smug and enlarged elder.
No matter what anybody thinks about Bonds as a person, he walked out to home plate with a bat in his hand and some padding on his arms, and goodness knows what in his system, and he propelled baseballs into the briny deep.
So far the [steroid] tests have caught mostly fringe guys trying to earn that million-dollar season that will provide for their families. A lot of the positive tests were by pitchers trying to buy some muscle on their fastball. How many of the 756 home run pitchers were juiced? You think Barry Bonds was picking on innocents? [New York Times]