I was recently reminded of the great term that was coined by William Safire when he was a speech writer for Spiro Agnew and the Nixon administration -- nattering nabobs of negativism. I thought it would be great to use it so that I could point out how such recent and upcoming events as Spring having sprung, the Triple Crown season arriving, our horses hitting the track, would all serve as a great counter to all the negative people we meet and see on a daily basis. Well, blah, blah, blah - guess what happens? The arrogant, smug, and now apparently crooked leader of NYRA has opened up the franchise to investigation by a Governor who was just looking for a reason to take control of all gaming in the State. Not only does Cuomo want to take control of gaming, he has no interest whatsoever in the racing game itself, rather his priority is the money that will be generated from casino gaming. If he has to trod over thousands of farm owners and workers, race track operators and their employees, as well as owners and breeders, so what? If the breathing room that was negotiated when NYRA resolved the land deal and obtained the racing franchise disappears, then racing is right back in the precarious spot it was without the gaming revenue or a "better than the devil you don't know" caretaker of racing (i.e., NYRA). The current administration does not care about anything other than getting the Governor to the White House. New Yorkers and most certainly racing are not among their priorities. There is no one who appreciates the value of racing in New York within the Cuomo administration. In fact, it does not seem there is anyone with enough honor to want to uphold the good faith dealings NYRA made to obtain the franchise -- they literally gave away their claim on the land to get the franchise. Rather, it is likely this debacle will be used to get a new operator for racing and the State will skim more money for its coffers out of the deal, leaving the new operators and the racing industry with a lot less than it now has. So, while I truly wanted to be positive, the NYRA leadership placed a huge target on racings back when it needed to be bulletproof. Their actions have opened the door for the ultimate nattering of negativisms about how they have jeopardized the future of racing in New York. This latest gaffe is very clearly the opportunity, which Cuomo needed to now disassemble NYRA as an unfit caretaker of racing. The Governor's office has stated that this act indicates "a failure to meet this most fundamental obligation [and]puts into doubt the continued efficacy of the state's franchise agreement with NYRA." Nice going Mr. Hayward -- your failed leadership, apparently criminal actions, and self-serving attitude have most likely delivered the kill shot to an industry on the verge of rebirth. (The only positive about the above is that I think Nattering Nabob will make a nice horse name -- but since we're not sure racing will be around much longer in the State, maybe that's premature to be thinking of a name for a horse that will have no place to race.)
For those looking for sunshine and butterflies, sorry. Rant is over -- really . . .
OK, it is in fact Spring time and the Kentucky Derby is this weekend, and our first turf runner will race on Sunday (if the NYRA leadership doesn't topple the applecart before then). I will be providing a selection for the Derby on Saturday morning for those who care, so be sure to check the site to see who you can eliminate from your selections.
Added Friday, May 4 - Oaks Selections:
While I think the favorites are strong and I bet Grace Hall in the BC Juvenile Fillies last year and lost, I am going to go with a long shot to beat them, though I definitely will use my selection underneath the two favorites. There's something about a Street Cry filly out of an AP Indy mare who ran well on the track at two against the top selections and now is returning to the track with a great trainer. All I can say is And Why Not?? - long shot special today folks.
1. And Why Not - #10
2. On Fire Baby - #1
3. Grace Hall - #2
4. Believe You Can - #9
Note: If track is wet, use #6 Broadway's Alibi.
Added Saturday, May 5 - Derby Selections:
Now my fourth choice wins the Oaks and I don't even have a double into the Derby with her -- hope you had her, as I am sure the Rosie fans out there did. Today's race is a tough one for me --I don't have a horse I've been rooting for since their 2 year old year like I did with Stay Thirsty last year (while he didn't win the Derby, he did well for me in the remainder of the year). This year, the key question for me is who can get 1 1/4 miles? So, I have used my pedigree-based handicapping to come up with the list below -- I have to tell you, I've not fared so well in the Derby in recent years, so do with these what you will.
1. Alpha - #11
2. Gemologist - #15
3. Take Charge Indy - #3
4. I'll Have Another - #19
5. Daddy Nose Best -#10
Note: While Bodemeister has terrific breeding, I don't like the trainer, so I left him off my choices. While my pure handicapping tells me Creative Cause and Dullahan look like 1 1/4 mile horses, their dam sires suggest they may have distance limitations. You now have the triple: Dullahan, Creative Cause and Bodemeister.
Now, let's see what is happening with the horses:
Strikealinethruit - The mare is doing very well in her training and has come out of her works stronger than in years past. She has been working regularly and will be entered to run her first race of the year on Sunday, May 6 -- an allowance race on the turf for New York breds; we will know on Thursday whether she is in this race. If she gets in the race, it will be fun for partners on any of our horses to join us at Belmont Sunday and hopefully get our picture taken -- we think she'll run well and are hoping for the best.
NOTE: Strikealinethruit is entered to run in the 8th race, approx. post 4:34 p.m., on Sunday, May 6 at Belmont with Ryan Curatolo riding -- best of luck to all!
Irishtocat - After a few hiccups, this filly seems to have worked out whatever issues were there and had her first recorded work of the year this past weekend, following what were a few unofficial 3 furlong works. We're hoping she continues to progress and that she will return to racing before too long.
Blissful Belle - Now at Finger Lakes, she is doing well and we are looking for a turf race at Belmont or a race at Presque Isle for her next start. She did not fare very well at a distance race on the turf and we will now look to get her sprinting on the turf or poly so that she can show her best. We may get a training race in her at Finger Lakes until there is the right race at Belmont or PI, but we will know about that this week.
Thirtycandan -- The gelding went through a growth spurt and we are awaiting to make sure his knees are healthy enough for speed. He will be x-rayed in the middle of May and will be sent to a trainer soon thereafter.
Ishkabibble - She continues to show signs of "grit" and will be headed to a trainer by the end of the month. She is still in Ocala, but has worked 3/8ths and will be ready to run at two according to Steve who has done a great job with his two year olds in training at the sales -- we're hoping some of his magic has rubbed off in Ishkabibble. A Saratoga-based trainer will be selected soon for her.
Ms. Preacher Brown - The mare is in foal to freshman leading juvenile sire Scat Daddy and returned to New York this past weekend -- she is doing quite well.
Dixie Bluebell - Dixie was bred for the third time to Thunder Gulch this past weekend and we're hoping the third time is the charm -- if it's not, I'm starting to think she really likes her special times with the Derby winner.
Welcome New Partners - Finally, I would like to welcome Marin and Wendy who enter as partners on two year old filly Ishkabibble - here's wishing both and their spouses a terrific experience as owners!
Best of luck to all in your Derby bets --
Keep the faith,
FOR 2012: We have SHARES AVAILABLE in our 3 year old gelding, Thirtycandan. Please e-mail me to buy a share ($200/month) or for more information.