Friday, January 29, 2010

Who's on First-Governor Paterson says AEG

Here is the link to the Press Release from the Office of NY Governor Paterson naming Aqueduct Entertainment Group (AEG) to operate the Video Lottery Terminals at Aqueduct.

Where do we go from here. Well Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is already hedging, and I am sure more will follow with warnings, demands, negotiations which will then lead to more rumours, delays, back and forth accusations, delays, more delays, etc, etc, etc.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Junior Seau becomes a Horse Trainer

After watching the NY Rangers game last night on Versus, I stumbled upon "Sports Jobs with Junior Seau" which followed the game. I have never seen this series which features NFL Linebacker Junior Seau in a "reality show" style setting trying out different sports.

Last night was "Junior Seau becomes a Horse Trainer". It was actually not half bad. It is a 30 minute show and between the light nature of the show and the commercials it was over before I knew it. It took place at Fairplex Park and featured Seau working with trainer Jeff Mullins as his assistant Horse Trainer.

Overall it was a positive look at the sport. It did show a Horse and Jockey spill, but Junior did report that both the Horse and Jockey were fine.

I did learn a thing or two:

1. They showed a horse castration (with certain Horse body parts pixelated) Yikes!!
2. The average Equine Vet salary is only $38,628 (guess I will be pushing my kids towards the plastic surgery side of medicine)
3. I found it pretty funny when Junior Seau asked Jeff Mullins what is the most important part of training a horse and he responded with "The health of the Horse". Almost spit up the cup of coffee I was drinking hearing that one.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Injury List

In this age of information why can't track operators list on their websites the previous days injuries incurred to the Jockey and horses? All other major sports do it and because of the betting angle the NFL publishes a list that is widely available via print or online listing all players, type of injury and status for the next game.

Yesterday in the 1st race at Aqueduct, 4 year old Honest Wildcat took a nasty spill with Jockey Richard Migliore aboard. I was watching on my OTB feed at home. It looked pretty gruesome both for the horse and the Mig.

Fortunately, both the NY Post and The NY Daily News had a story on the injury in Sunday's editions. The horse was put down and Migliore has a concussion. I was also able to find out information via Twitter feeds from Brooklyn Backstretch

However if you check out the NYRA website, as of Sunday night anyway, it is like the race never happened. If it was on their somewhere, my apologies, but it must have been buried as I could not find it anywhere on the site. Maybe they will put something up later, but I am the only one who thinks track websites should promptly mention injuries and fatalities and injuries incurred to a Horse or Jockey running on their tracks?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


From the American Heritage Dictionary:

Fanatic: One possessed by excessive or irrational zeal

It is from this word that the word "Fan" was derived which The American Heritage Dictionary defines as : "Ardent Admirer"

I thought the Zenyatta fans were pretty zealous but nothing seems to exceed the enthusiasm of the "Barbaro's Followers" group also known as the FOB's , a group dedicated to following the off spring of the 2006 Kentucky Derby winner. Barbaro's full brother Lentenor broke his maiden today on the turf at Gulfstream Park. In his third start and first as a 3-year-old, Lentenor went off as the even-money favorite in the 1 1/16-mile maiden special weight contest. The Bloodhorse has a blog called "Tracking Barbaro's Brothers". The blog had 81 comments and counting on Wednesday's post highlighting the Lentenor win.

Comments include this from Cal Gal:
"The tears of joy are flowing over on ABR and on this board, I'd bet. What a victory!!! He drew away and poured it on -- he's bottomless, too."
from Stardustyrose:

Could it be that John Velazquez and Lentenor are the next Triple Crown winners? I believe the jockey change happened for a reason"

and from Cassidy:

"Oh yea baby! Great job Team Lentenor! I am crying and smiling and crying and smiling.... Thank you God for this amazing day. Lentenor looks great!"
and here I thought it was an ordinary workday Wednesday with not much going on in the horse racing world but some post Eclipse talk and a small pick 6 carryover at the Big A. Man I gotta get my game in gear.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

NYRA to Customer-Send us your Money Now

NYRA continues with their antiquated Saratoga reserved seating mail in process. (There is a limited internet on-line option conducted later on in the year to buy tickets from NYRA for the “leftover” seats.)

I can’t tell you who is right or wrong in the NYC-OTB vs. NYRA squabble or who is right in the state audit proceedings of NYRA. That is best left to others far smarter than I. Hey, they do have a nice website, and Andy Serling is always around, but in the end, I judge companies by my own personal experiences with them, and my experiences with NYRA as a customer have sucked.

The Saratoga 2010 reserved seating letter from NYRA this year sounds more like a FU letter than a customer service letter. The first thing you will notice is the large bold type with a red letter box around it stating: Post Mark Date January 15, 2010.

In case you manage to miss that the second line of the letter warns (again in bold type) that you must have your application postmarked by the “Postmark Date” listed to be eligible. Than they warn (of course, in bold type) the following: “NYRA will not mail any ticket until at least twenty days after your check was deposited to permit your check to clear. If you do not receive seating NYRA will return your funds”.

This is particularly galling because as anyone know who participates in this charade, NYRA does not mail out tickets until at least June of every year, some 160 days or so after I am mailing my check in to meet the deadline date of 01/15/10.

Last year my tickets were mailed to me by NYRA 183 days after my check cleared on 01/19/09. Of course I did not get my first choice of tickets and a refund check for the difference was mailed out 10 months later in a letter postmarked 10/20/09. Who got the escrow interest on my check? One guess Sherlock.

So anyway suckers…I mean NYRA racing fan and customers, run to the post office for the clock is ticking on the Post Mark Date. Oh the letter does say “Thank you” at the end, although not in bold type.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Big Event Strategy

No Surprise on this street that NBC and Churchill Downs are continuing and expanding their "Big Event" Strategy with the broadcast of the Kentucky Derby.

They completely destroyed their Prime Time and Late night ratings with the Leno/O'Brien Fiasco, but NBC knows what they are doing when it comes to broadcasting Big Event type sporting events. Last year before the 2009 Derby, we noted NBC's Big Event Strategy and it produced fantastic ratings thus far.

The Kentucky Derby is an "event" much like the Olympics and the Super Bowl, and NBC gets it. I just wish NBC had the entire Triple Crown series (ABC/ESPN has the Belmont). ESPN can put out press release after press release about how committed they are to Horse racing but the simple truth is they have higher sports-rated events to fry and they just don't build up the "event" aspect of racing coverage properly.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Caption This

Jockeys Eriluis Vas (on Divine Light) and Ademar Santos (Mi Helena) exchange punches along the backstretch of the 5th race at Philly Park on 01/08/10.

I'll start the fun:

"Maybe this will get us on the next season of Animal Planet's Jockeys show"

Friday, January 08, 2010

Maybe they meant the week after that

The Times Union headline on Saturday January 2, 2010 blared:
Governor promises decision on racino
than in smaller type:
Paterson says he will endorse a bid next week to install gambling terminals at Aqueduct Race Track.

I'm no expert on what "next week" means but using a Gregorian calender would it not be the week beginning January 3rd and ending January 9th?

Seemed strange that NY Governor David Paterson would force the issue of naming a slots operator the week of 1/3/10-1/9/10, especially with his State of the State address this week keeping him busy. And in reading the Times Union article and other publications, I could not find any actual quote where Paterson says he will endorse one of the bidders this week. What he actually was quoted in the Times Union article was this:
"If the two other leaders cannot come to a conclusion and a decision about which group should be the sponsoring organization, then I think I'll be forced, as I did last year, to announce my group and hope to persuade the two other leaders"

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Help Wanted

In this era of double digit unemployment, the Sunday Jobs Classified section is pretty much an empty stocking. I did catch one ad in the Times Union (Albany, NY) Classified placed by a Saratoga based racing stable advertising for a "Thoroughbred Racehorse Groom".

The position is a temporary position from 4/1/10-11/30/10. Sounds like fun, after all who would not want to be around horses all the time, in Saratoga no less? But like most jobs, the reality of the job is far more laborious than it appears-and you will not get rich doing it.

The job duties listed in the ad are demanding: feed, water, maintain stalls & tack, clean, brush, administer medicine as directed, inspect & observe horses physical condition. You also will have to clean horses feet, apply bandages & racing bandages as required as well as hot walk the horses. Each groom will have 3-5 horses to care for.

The pay rate is $8.42 per hour, 6 days a week, 7 hours a day, starting at 5 am each day. Over the 8 months position that is a gross salary of $11,316.48. After taking deductions out for good ole Uncle Sam, New York State and FICA, how far do you think that goes in Saratoga?

Also, if you figure you would like to break into this business but have no idea how to actually be a Groom the ad warns-"no on-the-job training avail." In fact, the job requires 3 months of experience.

I've been to many a racetrack and seen many a groom tending to horses, and can't remember onetime when the groom was not dutifully and what appeared to be eagerly doing his or her job-almost always anonymously and for little pay or public recognition.

All the reason to support these Backstretch workers through outfits such as Backstretch Employees Service Team (B.E.S.T.). B.E.S.T offers a variety of services to New York backstretch workers, including health care, visa assistance, and translation. This 501(c)(3) organization assists workers at all three NYRA tracks including Saratoga.