Weekend wrap-up

Saturday, March 13

(all times approximate)

1:30 Depart greater New York area with summer roommate for whirlwind (nearly literally) Saratoga trip in search of perfect summer rental. Encounter driving rain and vehicle-shaking winds as we wend our way up the Taconic Parkway.

3:00 Confirm with parents dinner plans, synchronized to permit maximize race watching.

5:30 Arrive in Saratoga to apocalyptic Times Union and Saratogian stories; headlines blare about the cancellation of the Saratoga race meet.

5:37 Watch Odysseus win Tampa Bay Derby, jump on his bandwagon, and depart for restaurant.

6:00 Imbibe pre-prandial libations while watching Capitol OTB in restaurant bar.

6:20 Watch Zardana beat Rachel Alexandra.

6:21 Observe onset of online trash talking.

6:30 Take our seats at dinner.

6:40 Return to bar

6:44 Watch Zenyatta win Santa Margarita

6:45 Online trash talk intensifies

6:49 Distracted by appetizers, completely miss Lookin at Lucky’s Rebel.

7:48 Distracted by post-prandial libations, completely miss Sidney’s Candy winning the San Felipe.

8:30 Stop by Saratoga Harness to place a (losing) bet on a friend’s horse

Sunday, March 14

11:00 Begin the quest for the perfect summer rental

11:30 Discover New York Thoroughbred Breeders’ Facebook and Twitter link to Statement for March 15 New York State Senate Meeting on NYC OTB. Statement reads in part:

But, NYC OTB and the revenue streams it creates for the New York racing and breeding industry cannot be terminated at the end of this month because of the
dislocations its immediate termination will cause. These dislocations include
the elimination of hundreds of millions of dollar of revenue to the State, the
destruction of the indigenous New York breeding industry, the cancelation (sic) of racing, including the upcoming Saratoga race meeting… (emphasis mine)

11:45 Seasonal rental agent inquires about whether there will be a racing meeting this summer.

2:15 Summer roommate and I find rental of our dreams.

3:00 Summer roommate and I discover that rental of our dreams isn’t available for the whole meet; we are so distracted by heartbreak that we miss our exit off the Northway on the drive home.

3:15 Joe Drape tweets that Rachel Alexandra is out of the Apple Blossom

3:16 Partisan online trash talk resumes

3:30 Conversation with agent about rental of our dreams resumes

6:15 Arrive Brooklyn, much to joy of Backstretch felines.

Reflections

Can a summer rental that’s available for most–but not all–of the summer still be the rental of our dreams?

By what authority can New York Thoroughbreds Breeders announce that the Saratoga racing meet will be cancelled if NYC OTB ceases to exist, and how exactly do they know that that will happen?

Can the highly partisan fans of Zenyatta and Rachel Alexandra get to a point where they can acknowledge both their preference for one and the greatness of the other?

Is there room for me on the Odysseus bandwagon? I love his name for its literary and classical allusions; he has provided the most exciting moments so far on the Derby trail; and perhaps, continued success will lead to the correct pronunciation of his name during a race call.

For how long will racing life in Saratoga largely continue as normal? Though one rental agent said that he’d already signed 75 contracts for summer rentals, there is discernible concern about racing’s future in the Spa City.

Is it good or bad for racing to take a historic, important race like the Apple Blossom and turn it into a gimmick, changing its date, distance, purse and conditions in order to attract certain horses and their connections?

6 thoughts on “Weekend wrap-up

  1. By what authority can New York Thoroughbreds Breeders announce that the Saratoga racing meet will be cancelled if NYC OTB ceases to exist, and how exactly do they know that that will happen?–They have no authority to announce this. However, sounding of warning bells are both timely and on the mark.Can the highly partisan fans of Zenyatta and Rachel Alexandra get to a point where they can acknowledge both their preference for one and the greatness of the other?–No. Learn to ignore them. Not too many of them know how to read a program or bet, which is what the sport needs to survive.Is there room for me on the Odysseus bandwagon? I love his name for its literary and classical allusions; he has provided the most exciting moments so far on the Derby trail; and perhaps, continued success will lead to the correct pronunciation of his name during a race call.–Yes. Note: I turned off the TVG telecast before photo results were posted because of the histrionic howling of the hosts over Schoolyard Dreams. Went to the laptop for the stream of the Rachel and Zenyatta races. Concluded (yet again) that TVG's talent (and their lack of objectivity) is a hindrance to the sport. For how long will racing life in Saratoga largely continue as normal? Though one rental agent said that he’d already signed 75 contracts for summer rentals, there is discernible concern about racing’s future in the Spa City.–Racing in Saratoga will never cease, IMO. However, after this season, it may be contracted back to the original 24 day meet, filled with graded stakes and big average purse structures on a daily basis. (See blueprint for Monmouth Park 2010.)Is it good or bad for racing to take a historic, important race like the Apple Blossom and turn it into a gimmick, changing its date, distance, purse and conditions in order to attract certain horses and their connections.–Good. It's the lone way to get the sport some TV face time. (See SportsCenter giving time to Rachel and Zenyatta races this weekend.)

  2. Charlie Hayward himself said a week ago at the NYRA Advisory Board Meeting in Saratoga that all bets would be off for Saratoga if NYCOTB was not fixed. So there you have it. It's about time that the upstate community and local businesses get involved with the industry that supports their lives.

  3. UhOh, do I detect a bit of negative overtone here at B.B.? When Brooklyn gets cloudy, I get really concerned. It's all causing so much angst! So I won't dwell, but how about this for R. & Z.fans? Who remembers that Breeders Cup had a great Dead Heat some yrs. back? I hope the next great one is with those two. You never know!! I think Apple Blossom should stay in original form. Otherwise more owners will want made to order races. & the owner for whom change was made, then declined to run.

  4. I'm a big fan of "life's problems will sort themselves out if enough people care". I have to believe that sanity will return in NYS soon regarding horse racing. That is based on nothing except my daily strolls through the lollypop forest. I mildly involved myself in partisan trash talk with my declaration that Zenyatta is and still was my personal horse of the year. It made me feel better and I doubt it hurt RA feelings nor did it make Zenyatta feel much of anything either. I think its a study in horse trainers more then anything. John's barn is a bit smaller, his base of operations manageable by car. Steve requires a lear jet. RA, a wonderful horse, wasn't ready. Somewhere Hal Wiggins is shaking his head. I hope the summer rental situation works out.

  5. Thanks, folks, for reading and commenting. Can't say that I agree with everything posted, but hey, that's part of the fun. =)And we decided that yes, the summer rental of our dreams can indeed be that, even if we have to move out before the meet ends. It's nice to think ahead to seeing so many of you at the Spa.

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