This isn’t about politics. Neither is it about ideology This is not a left vs. right, liberals vs. conservatives argument. This is about the planet we live on, the country we live in, the world in which we all labor and play.
Anyone who has read our coverage of the Rick Dutrow case dating back to 2015 knows that I’m not a big fan of the Governor of New York State.
I lived in Saratoga 12 years. I know people who work or used to work “on the second floor’ of the State Capitol building in Albany. Lets’ just say he wasn’t the easiest person to deal with, unless it was in his self-interest. Then that’s hearsay–anecdotal evidence Dr. Fauci would call it.
I have never met the Governor in person. I was a big fan of his father as eloquence always wins the day with me. I know, too, that he was imperfect, a trait we all share.
As a lover of a game that has given me a living, a lifestyle, a life, my problem with The Governors Cuomo is the problem they have with horse racing because on that issue, the apple fell right on top of the root of that tree.
Mario Cuomo hated horse racing because when he was growing he saw too many examples of how betting on horses with the local bookmaker drove families apart. At least that’s what one of his sports mentors, the late Mike Lee, Sports Editor of the Long Island Press, told me back in the day.
But at least he showed up on Belmont Day, and occasionally at Saratoga if no other reason that Thoroughbred racing at New York Racing Association tracks helped fill state coffers.. Whenever he was introduced to the crowd, booing would ensue–and that was before hate rallies were commonplace.
Andrew Cuomo, to my knowledge, never has supported the Belmont Stakes the way the Governors of Kentucky and Maryland have supported their Triple Crown events.
Upstate and downstate New York are worlds apart philosophically, but the Saratoga racing community doesn’t care much for the Governor either. This is still America–at least for now–so that’s OK.
My issue with Andrew Cuomo is that he’s a compassionate man but apparently only when it suits him. In the name of reform and prior to his most recent bid for reelection, Governor Cuomo created a program to help more prisoners apply for clemency in his state.
But according to an NBC news report aired in November, 2019, it appears the initiative has stalled to the point of stop, and the Governor’s office had declined to explain why.
In Dutrow’s case, 2,500 industry stakeholders and members of the sports community signed a petition which did not call for relitigating the case, only that an unprecedented 10-year revocation be reduced to time served, seven years this past January.
Indeed, trainer Dale Romans, at his personal expense, flew to New York to attend a fund raiser hosted by a Cuomo supporter in the run-up to the gubernatorial election to speak with the Governor, briefly providing details of the case which he did, but to no avail.
Parenthetically, the Queens District Attorney’s office is currently looking into the matter based on new evidence re serious allegations of wrongdoing by a state actor, in addition to civil rights violations, which occurred during the New York State Administrative Hearing at which the ban was imposed.
But following his daily briefing yesterday, I thanked God for Andrew Cuomo–for his intellect, leadership skills and, most of all, his humanity.
His Covid-19 seminars and his approach to handling the crisis in what has become the epicenter of the outbreak is reassuring, knowing that at least one person on the frontlines is giving it to me straight, what’s happening on the ground, information I need to stay alive based on facts.
What Cuomo didn’t say is it would be over soon, that it was the same as the flu, or that anyone who needed a test would get one, that a vaccine is very close to reality, or that the outbreak would over by April.
Cuomo never said that it would go away like a miracle, that the risk of contracting the virus remains low, that the problem was attacked early, the situation well in control, that anyone who went through the process would be fine.
Whatever his shortcomings, whatever his failings, whatever his broken promises, whatever his foibles, I wished he were speaking for an entire country instead of just the state in which I was born and will forever be a part of me. But at least someone was leading by example.
Of course, there is a long way to go and no one knows when or how the situation will end ultimately. But we can and will overcome, if we follow guidance based on facts from elected officials who know how to lead.
Until then, we can be comforted by another line from the Simon and Garfunkel classic, Mrs. Robinson. that “heaven holds a place for those who pray.”