Like those poor refugees in Casablanca, here in New York, we continue to wait…and wait…and wait. We wait for Governor Cuomo’s announcement about the reconfiguration of the NYRA board, the board that will be made up mostly of the governor’s appointees, the board that will graciously allow a horsemen’s representative to attend board meetings but not to vote, and we wait for the release of the Aqueduct breakdown report.
Saratoga ended two and a half weeks ago, so I guess that Fred Dicker’s jubilant, anonymous source for his New York Post article in July has a different definition of “promptly” than I do.
As does, I guess, everyone associated with the task force report on the Aqueduct breakdowns, originally slated to be completed by the end of April, then pushed back to May, then to… “no release date available,” and then delayed several more times before supposedly being delivered to Governor Cuomo’s desk a couple of weeks ago, where, I guess, it’s been sitting, waiting for the governor to decide when he’d like to share it. As Alan Mann at Left at the Gate observes, the report is “expected” to be released this week (says the Times Union), but we’ve heard that before.
In a letter sent to then-NYRA president Charles Hayward by the governor’s office on March 14, Bennett Liebman, Cuomo’s deputy secretary for gaming, and Robert Megna, direction of the New York State division of the budget (and chairman of the Franchise Oversight Board) wrote, “…we need to develop procedures now [emphasis mine] that work for the horses, riders, and the racing public in New York.”
I guess it depends on what the meaning of “now” is.
One person not waiting to see how things shake out here in New York is Dan Silver, NYRA’s about-to-be-erstwhile director of communications, who will become Penn National’s director of racing operations next month. Dan hired me to contribute to the Belmont Stakes blog, to write for the Belmont and Travers Stakes programs, and to help out with notes on occasion. It’s been a pleasure to work with him, and Penn National’s gain is New York racing’s loss. Best, best of luck to him, not that he’ll need it.
We learned yesterday, via a release from trainer Rick Violette, that promising two-year-old Spurious Precision, winner of the Saratoga Special, was euthanized Tuesday morning after a training accident on Monday. At the time of the release, the colt’s death was not listed in the New York State Racing and Wagering Board’s database, though it was added not long after the release came out.
As of this morning, Live for Today, pulled up at Saratoga in the Albany Stakes on August 22, is listed as a racing injury; according to one of his owners, the three-year-old Mineshaft colt was euthanized within days of the accident.
The Board did not respond to a recent inquiry about the status of the investigation into the early closing of mutuels at Saratoga on August 13, nearly five weeks ago. The Daily Racing Form reported that day that the Racing and Wagering Board steward inadvertently stopped the betting with several minutes to post because he saw the break of another race on television and thought that it was Saratoga.
In the five weeks since the incident, the Board has been silent. No release, no comment, no explanation, no follow-up. One wonders what the reaction might have been had the steward responsible been the one for NYRA.
In 2009, the Belmont placing judges posted an incorrect official order of finish; people who had bet the posted superfecta got paid, as did those who bet the horses that actually finished in the top four places.
Within a week of the incident, NYRA announced that the three placing judges would be suspended for one week without pay. In the Form, P.J. Campo, NYRA’s vice president and director of racing, characterized the error as both “honest” and “costly,” two adjectives that surely apply to the August incident as well.