Sunday, June 1, 2008

ZENYATTA! ...otb mess

ZENYATTA! Wow! How good is she? Mike Smith and John Sherriffs must think they're in heaven. She's a $60k Keeneland Sep.'05 purchase proving once again you don't have to pay a lot to get a lot of horse. While that's not exactly chump change for average folks it does illustrate that the little guy is still able to strike gold in this game. Not that the Moss's need worry about that issue. They certainly do keep coming up with good horses year after year. I wonder who their agent is? In any case she's a Street Cry *Ire filly out of Vertigineux (Kris S) who is also the dam of Grade I winner Balance, as well as Where's Baily, an Aljabr filly that won the Remington Park Oaks. She has the type of pedigree that is just beautiful to me.

Vertigineux raced only 7 times with a record of 2-0-0. I point this out because it is my contention that a mare need not prove herself on the track like a colt. I would always choose a lightly raced or unraced mare with good pedigree over a great race mare. It is my observation that the duration of a mare's career, more often than not, seems to have an adverse effect on their ability to produce superior progeny. I don't know if there have been any studies that would confirm this and of course there are always exceptions but I stand by this thought. My suppositions are that either they tax their system so much so that they permanently harm the health of their reproductive system or that the hormones they are given to keep them from cycling is damaging.

On a completely different subject, here in NY the shenanigans surrounding NYRA continue. Last week Governor Patterson expressed ambivalence about having NYRA to continue to run NY racing. Days later he was back stepping. It is just a comedy what goes on in NY around racing in our state. The government is constantly finding ways to bind the hands of the franchise and then heaps blame on their inability to run an efficient ship. Aside from problems imposed on it I also think that part of the problem is it's non-profit status. All the non-profits I'm familiar with would be better named the 'non-efficients'. They seem to lack accountability and perhaps that is the worst aspect of NYRA. Too much waste like in all bureaucracies. In the process of awarding NYRA the 25 year extension the legislature failed to address the issue of OTB's in NY. What are they thinking? It appears that they welcome problem situations. I think that the more convoluted they can make a system the more they can find ways to steal from it.

For those of you not from NY we have a regional OTB system, six in all, that is separate from NYRA. So that NYC OTB, Catskill OTB, Capital District OTB, etc.. all have separate deals with the state and with NYRA. This means six separate, but redundant, bureaucracies and work forces exist with all the waste that entails. In effect each is its own special interest group looking to benefit itself, not necessarily racing. It's confusing and almost impossible to keep track of all the problems, percentages and issues that surround them all. They should all be under one agency -NYRA - with a consistent, clear, realistic business plan. It is as thought the state welcomes chaos.

Several weeks ago Capital District OTB requested a change in its payout structure that would result in $12 million dollar shortfall to NYRA. For months now we have also had Mayor Bloomberg threatening to close the NYC OTB's in June, stating that the city is subsidizing them. All just nonsense. It's posturing to hold the racing industry upside down to shake more money from its' pockets. There's only one thing politicians like more than being in office and that's money. I think mayor Bloomberg has been a fine mayor, however, I have disagreed with him on quite a few issues and this is one of them. I say let him shut them down. With all the AWD's out there New Yorker's will find a way to play and watch and NYC will lose all the money they get from OTB. We'd truly see who is supporting whom quick enough. The long and short of this is that another deal will have to be made for the NYC OTB's that will again result in adding to the shortfall to NYRA and in turn that means the fan will have to pay. This all at a time where NYRA has been going through a restructuring to reemerge from bankruptcy. How can any plan NYRA submits be regarded to have integrity when the state is constantly changing the formula with which it gets compensated for its product?

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