Saratoga Springs, NY--August 2, 2007

Dear Diary,

In terms of the way news eventually reaches our desk, today New York State settled all family business.

First, Gov. Eliot Spitzer vetoed legislation that would have made it easier for racetracks and OTBs to allow rebates, citing that the bill was poorly drafted and confusing, making implementation difficult.

Ever see an IRS form?

Spitzer is somewhat correct in that even the bills sponsors say there is no clear standard. Apparently, setting one is out of the question.

The governor thinks the bill unnecessary because the State Racing and Wagering Board already had given permission to NYRA and NYCOTB to conduct rewards programs. But it goes beyond just the rewards programs.

Rewards can take many shapes and sizes. You can reward customers with a bonus on their winnings, provide services and merchandise, or lower takeout. Politically, that last idea wouldnt sit well with the OTBs and the counties. And the governor has an approval rating that now might be even lower than Mr. Bushs.

Mr. Spitzer said hed like to help the tracks compete with other betting platforms, but that such needs should be tempered with a need to enact necessary laws that can be understood.

Clearly, this was no time to be proactive.

The governor did, however, sign the measure that provides the New York Thoroughbred Horsemens Association with an increased share of the purse fund, from 1% to 2%. Good news for the benevolent work horsemen provide their backstretch workers.

* * *

At last, relief is the on the way for horseplayers!

TrackNet Media Group, the new strategic alliance formed by Churchill Downs Inc. and Magna Entertainment will now offer rebates to bettors currently doing business with two betting companies; Elite Turf Club and Racing and Gaming Services.

Theres a small catch, however: Your personal handle for the year must be one million dollars!

You read that correctly.

Of the announcement, an RGS spokesman said he was happy his company would do whatever it could to help the tracks. What he really meant was were happy that our clients will still be able to bet on races from Churchill Downs, Gulfstream, Santa Anita, Fair Grounds and Pimlico.

* * *

The SRWB also approved a measure that would make pre-and post-race blood samples permanent as well as approving new tests to detect total carbon dioxide levels. Both measures are meant to deter milkshaking, a process that helps rid the body of CO2.

Also, it no longer will be possible to use more than one medication in the same syringe, a measure the SRWB hopes will avoid contaminated samples. Suspensions will also be accompanied by fines of $2,500 per day for the duration of the suspension.

Finally, authorities appear to be getting serious. Heres hoping.

In an unrelated ruling, mutuel clerks will no longer be able to bet while on the job, either on the live or simulcast product.

Appearances do matter.

* * *

Trainer Roy Sedlacek received a 15-day suspension and $1,000 fine when his horse, The Village Vicar, tested positive for Acepromazine, a depressant. The Village Vicar finished second in the fourth race at Belmont Park, June 8th.

According to a poll presently being conducted on the Thoroughbred Times website, horseplayers, responding to the effective lowering of takeout to 11.4% at the upcoming Laurel meet, said they would be inclined to wager on those races, 53% to 46%.

Youll have to do better than that, people.


First Race: Rum Squall received a well timed move from Xavier Aizpuru to take the opener, the Jonathan Kiser Novice, an overnight stakes for the up-and-over set.

Second Race: Two special-weight juveniles making their debuts received strong betting support and one of them won it. Irish Smoke, bet early and late, stormed down the three path to take the lead from longshot first-timer Syrianas Cat inside the sixteenth pole and drew off like a nice filly; follow her progress. Runnerup, meanwhile, hails from a good second-out barn; note. Constance, heavily bet but a gate scratch at Belmont Park, was the favorite again but was used hard chasing the pace while wide throughout. She should benefit from the race.

The John Morrissey: Gold and Roses is just a damn good state-bred sprinter, taking this overnight stakes in 1:16.01, drawing off beneath a confident Garrett Gomez. Field tried to pin Tom Bush trainee to the fence but GG bulled his way up to battle for the lead on the backside. That was the dance. Bush said the next start is likely the General Douglas MacArthur when racing returns downstate, September 7th. While not quite as big as the negative pool created by Street Sense, Gold and Roses attracted $186K out of $209K in show wagers.

Fourth Race: Doesnt Bill Mott get beat anymore? After his big day Wednesday, he wins with Queen Joanne making her three-year-old debut; another winner for owner Ahmed Zayat whos having a big meet himself. She looked good sprinting home late and likely will handle preliminary allowance types next out. Impressionism finished well late and wont be a maiden long; bet back. Co-favorite A. P. Test has hindered by her outside draw under these conditions; follow.

Fifth Race: Sugarless and Square Dancing were battling it out in midstretch until the latter began to dominate. Emphatically.

Sixth Race: Raceland did all the work but Irish Majesty got the money. Raceland raced Little Cliff into defeat in a torrid duel then battled the winner only to succumb well inside the final sixteenth; bet back, with sufficient recovery time. Hes a Pioneer had a good trip until stacked up four across the track in mid-far turn; note.

Seventh Race: Not often you see a two-speed number in a two-turn turf race. But Tiverton went to the front, setting a controlled pace throughout. Stalked all the way by Loconia, the latter outgamed the leader in deep stretch for Team Motion/Dominguez. Santas Gold finished well late with a wide rally, but had little chance to make an impression when the leaders were finally set down.

Eighth Race: Shakespeares simply a pretty amazing racehorse. He showed no rust despite returning from an October, 2005 layoff for new trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, outkicking a sharp and talented Art Master in deep stretch, missing the inner turf track record for a mile by 3/5s of a second. Dont mean to be skeptical but will await his next start, presumably vs. better, which will be a true indication of where he currently stands physically. Today certainly was a remarkable first step.

Ninth Race: Southern Prince simply bottomed out the field, harness style; :22.75 and :44.42, racing 5- furlongs on very firm turf in 1:01.60, running to his works. The second speed, Storm N Lightning, finished second for the live Schosberg barn as favorite Metro Meteor finished a willing third.

Bias Report: Track fast, no discernable bias. Turf firm, played honestly.