NEW YORK NEEDS THOROUGHBRED RACING AND THOROUGHBRED RACING NEEDS NEW YORK

Terry Finley always has been a man of vision and ambition. I learned that while living in Saratoga and seeing him guest with Tom Amello and Nick Kling one Sunday morning on Capital OTB network’s Track Facts program.

I had heard about the relatively new concept of horse owner partnerships but didn’t know much about it. After watching the interview I did. It seemed like it would be racing’s future. In large measure at the highest levels of the sport, it has turned out that way.

Racing partnerships are nothing new but, on balance, the codifying of it is. It has become so popular that even 1-percenters play the partnership game now, especially when seven-figure yearlings and private purchases are involved.

This week, Finley was interviewed by Bloodhorse magazine and that session underscored what Finley is about. The West Point graduate is about loyalty and, by extension, command.

As the piece points out, New York racing is far from immune when it comes to the devastating effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

The New York Racing Association and the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association combined to petition Governor Andrew Cuomo to resume spectatorless racing on May 22.

It was thought to have a chance but now, with the shelter-in-place mandate extended into June, a May 22nd resumption appears less likely. Meanwhile, racing has been conducted successfully without fans in Arkansas and Florida throughout 2020.

Six more tracks, some still needing approval, have stated plans to resume fanless racing by the end of this month. Recently, Remington Park, Fonner Park, and Will Rogers Downs has joined Florida in presenting live racing.

On Thursday, a conference call was held between key NYRA executives and approximately 100 members of the NYTHA. It was cordial and somewhat productive, but the questions that brought the parties together largely remained unanswered.

That’s because the next step is not up to them; the green light must come from Albany.

Whenever the approval comes, Finley and other supporters of New York racing are concerned that Aqueduct, Belmont, and Saratoga no longer will have the overall quality of racing stock that once it took for granted, raising questions about its future.

Will New York be able to maintain its stature as the Thoroughbred industry’s leader if the competition from Kentucky proves too strong? Will Churchill Downs and Keeneland, and satellites such as Ellis Park, a spanking new Turfway Park and the extremely popular short boutique meet, Kentucky Downs, attract “New York quality” horses year-round?

Will Kentucky’s new scheduling, augmented by non-racing gaming revenue, and buoyed by horsemen seeking to escape the politics and uncertainty of California racing, become a better gambling product for the 92-cents-on-the-dollar now bet offtrack?  

“As New York racing goes, so goes the vast majority of American racing,” Finley told the Bloodhorse. “New York has been the center of racing for a long time. It faces a fairly good threat right now, and we have to rally around New York.”

In addition to his role as President and CEO of the West Point Thoroughbreds partnership group, and a member of The Jockey Club, he also is a board member of New York’s horsemen’s organization. An election will be held for NYTHA chairman by year’s end.

Finley made a failed bid for the position in the past and may be interested in making another run: “Now is not the time for our community to break down in factions,” Finley continued. “We need to stay together,’’ are words of a man exhibiting leadership qualities.

His anti-raceday medication posture and views on independent oversight likely will be obstacles to overcome, but his position could not be timelier.

“You have to rely on your leaders,” Finley said. “There’s no doubt we have some serious challenges, but the big thing is that we get horses back to New York and put on a good product. I urge people to think about that and think about the greater good.”

Many of the New York people he’s talking about are being held hostage in Florida, not  knowing which way to go. Most, if not all, would like to get back home to New York. But the only way to pay for their mounting bills is with purse money. Churchill Downs opens Friday. Belmont Park needs a date set in stone, whenever that might be.

Todd Pletcher, who saddled three Gulfstream winners Saturday, is sending horses to Kentucky and New York; the younger stock north, elders to the Midwest. But not every trainer, even extraordinarily successful ones, has the luxury of that kind of diversity.

New York, meanwhile, has the only horsemen’s organization that operates without an extended contract as is done in other jurisdictions. They need to go to Albany with hat in hand every year. Resultingly, they have little leverage when it comes to controlling their destiny. The best they can do is emulate existing guidelines from other regions.

In their 21-page proposal to the State Gaming Commission, the horsemen said they willing to put in place any safety measures: observing social distancing when possible, taking temperatures, wearing masks at all times, gloves, and possibly separate temporary housing for track and backstretch workers–whatever it takes.

Riders will be allowed to ship into New York for graded stakes mounts only, allowed to ride only after their temperatures are taken. Safe spaces will be constructed in the jockey’s quarters. The local colony will have 30 riders. Trainers would have the pick of only that litter, according to one HRI source.

Racing fan or not, Gov. Cuomo has a firm grasp on the impact New York racing has on both the upstate and downstate economies, including its ancillary effects on the agricultural and tourist industries. God knows Cuomo’s plate is full, but New York racing is recognized worldwide. The sport helps New York to be the Empire State it is.  

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54 Responses

  1. We all hope that our esteemed governor comprehends the magnitude of economic infusion that racing will provide the state. As (almost) all businesses suffer from this epidemic, a carefully executed solution should be implemented ASAP. As you so righty state, Florida and Arkansas saw virtually no spike in deaths and/or infections that were attributable to Covid-19. So therefore, there IS a (pardon the pun) ‘double blind study’ in place. The governor, albeit for our seemingly selfish and subjective reasons, needs to shelve his sometimes disinterest (and possibly even disdain) for horse racing in NYS and ‘jump start’ our game, for reasons mentioned by you, Finley and probably 15,000 people whose livings depend on it.

    1. Agreed Tom, and nothing less than a “carefully executed solution” should be made–after first selling the Governor. He needs to be made to understand and accept that Belmont Park is insulated against the outside world with no spectators.

    1. Den, Yours is not the only gut that is getting those signals; the “threat” from Kentucky is real, not hyperbole.

  2. “His anti-raceday medication posture and views on independent oversight likely will be obstacles to overcome”

    The fact that this is true speaks volumes.

    In terms of our standing at the top of the racing world, I don’t see it changing. Nobody else has Saratoga, and I think when the Belmont complex is all complete and up and running, with the boosts & the great and massive backstretch there (and assuming lights being added which will allow night programs from time to time), NY should be just fine. Could you imagine what the pools would look like with a Belmont Friday night card broadcast nationally with nothing else running?

    We also have 3 tracks that each have 2 turf courses. When racing resumes everywhere, we will have more capacity to hold excess turf races than anyone else, and there will be plenty of turf barns with tons of grass runners who will need to get races in. There has to be a tremendous backup with only a couple of turf courses even available in the whole country. Lots of races will need to be carded on the lawn I’d think.

    1. When/if racing resumes “normally,” the industry MUST send the right message to the public. Fortunate or not, racing has been afforded an opportunity with the major sports shuttered. With the TVG hype machine at it’s very best and given the large fields and competition only from one Thoroughbred track, Tampa Bay, @ $10M was bet into the Rainbow 6 ‘mandatory’ pool.

      Thought Gulfstream set a low bar when it predicted a total pool of around $6M, I thought it would be $8M but bought into their message at projected a total pool of $7M. Yes, it was a “spread sequence,” but a $12M pool was absolutely stunning!

      That’s what makes future messaging are so important!

  3. John: Its no longer an existential crisis. It is right at our Front Door. Mario Cuomo had a particular disdain for the blue bloods that ran NYRA 1/2 century ago and he clearly passed that hatred to his son. The Current Cuomo will not let this crisis pass without reminding the current NYRA that it exists solely at his call and beckoning. He will claim victory when the new Islanders arena is completed, and then resolve the alleged “community” ( Floral Park, Elmont, etc) concerns by eliminating the racing part from the equation. As for upstate, the son knows that he doesn’t need much, if any support, from either CNY or Western NY, and will let Saratoga wither away. Sorry, but the truth hurts. We are witnessing the destruction of thoroughbred racing at its very ancestral home on the Hempstead Plain.

    1. Whoa back, Fram! Yes, it’s an uphill battle but revenue for state coffers and jobs will overcome any prejudice he might have.

      And he doesn’t hate racing as much as people think. A source told me that after they kissed and made up, he spent several afternoons in John Hendrickson’s box last summer. It’s only a 30-minute drive from the Governor’s mansion on the Northway–less with a trooper escort. (That’s a joke so, please, no push-back)

    2. Enjoyed your posting about the end of racing on the Hempstead Plain. Does anyone remember Parr Meadows Quarter Horse track in Suffolk County? Belmont has been around a long time so I don’t think its closure is going to happen. Also liked your comment about Governor Cuomo removing Belmont to assuage community concerns in surrounding towns. That would not go over well here at HRI. I would say Belmont is far safer than SA in CA where the activists want it gone, bigtime. A good read here at HRI.

      1. C, thanks for the kind words.

        I was there, opening night at Palm Meadows. Even from Syosset it was a pretty long drive.

        Anyway, it was my first Q-H experience. I went once more and actually made picks (no comments) for the track. Didn’t spend much time, to be honest. Took the fastest recent race at the distance. Had like four winners a night, all favorites.

        My second visit was my list. You hear rumors about that game vis a vis “medication”. When I saw it was routine that horses were saddled behind a phalanx of stable help to that you couldn’t watch the process, I thought: Hmmm. I never returned…

        1. Blink and the race is over. Must admit that the recently retired Ed Burgart (Los Alamitos) was a very good quarter horse caller. Hard to replace. I bought Newsday back then and don’t remember your “selections.” Marty Blum picked horses for Sun Myong Moon and News World. Only in NY, kids, only in NY. The reason he won Penn National Contest one year was because an old-timer in NY knew that Jeffrey Loyd was a good rider. Blum tapped on him in finale. Got lucky. Went with him to a small bank in Grantville Monday morning to cash his winner’s check. Gave the young teller $50.00 as a tip. Teller gal said she couldn’t accept and Blum told her to take everybody to lunch. Then headed straight to Belmont where he was to give above-mentioned old-time a healthy cut of his prize winnings. I received twenty percent for driving. Blum asked me for a number after taxes and I took less. Sweet deal.

          1. Marty was a good soul and a character, Harvey loved him…

            Didn’t remember until you said you didn’t see my Q-H selections. It comes back to me; do believe I was sharing the assignment and I insisted to the sports editor that I do it under a pseudonym, so I resurrected an idea of Stan Isaacs’ great columnist, one of the original “chipmunks.” Use Rosinante.

            Not being as literate as Stan I asked about the name. He informed me it was the name of Don Quixote’s horse who had a penchant from chasing windmills. Very clever.

            Go buy us a Derby horse, C, we’ve got the name of the winner all picked out.

  4. Just won’drin. Odds are odds. The win bet offers the best odds of cashing. Will huge pools, lots of turf races, night racing, and having a national audience improve the odds of my cashing on any bet? Or, will all the bells and whistles benefit owners, trainers, and jockeys as purses will be larger, just about all owners of entrants in stake races will get paid thousands of dollars no matter where their blue blood finishes, and my bankroll will be nicked by extravagant takeout (but no betting against myself, Alice). And Baffert, Pletcher, Asmussen, and Brown will top the purse money won list; and the usual three or four jocks will be winning the most races.

  5. And the odds will reflect all of it, just need to do some extra smart ‘capping, WMC…

    (BTW: NY gets a better brand of claimers, too).

    1. Stan Isaac and his ‘ best chocolate ice cream list “? That was a good, fun paper! Today’s racing from joints like Fonner, Will Rogers, Los Ala.,Remington, Japan, Australia are not interesting.Neither was Parr Meadows. Belmont will stay as long as will this sport,, of Kings and pharmacists-Vets.

      1. J,

        Read my mind, was going to mention Stan’s ‘Chocolate Ice Cream Ratings’ which always appeared under the “Dealer’s Choice” flag. We have one here in tribute to when Newsday was old, rounded corner columns and the big ‘double-truck’ in Sunday sports section.

        Tell you what I do love among foreign tracks, probably owing to my roots as a horseplayer; harness racing. But the trotting from Sweden has been great fun. Can’t get over the fact that one announcer was opening rooting for a horse during his call…honest anyway.

        1. Could you explain the ‘Starting Procedure ” in the Swede harness game Does it favor anyone, is it legit or since so many races are long it may not matter since early speed may die at the long stretch??

          1. PS. In too many Tvg tracks there are No exact combos shown ,Why? And that silly ” $ 10 payoff” shown in several US tracks is asinine, ridiculous!Trying to Influence patrons bet$ ?Patrons cannot figure it out how much their winning bets will return? Too many are still betting small, under $10 ??

          2. I cannot. Apparently they don’t think it a big deal. And some of their races are like thoroughbreds in that they bunch up depending on circumstances; no Meadowlands shuffles there!

            I have not placed a bet and might not ever, but that won’t stop e from enjoying them. Harness nerds prefer trotting to pacing, as do I. What I love is that many of their trotters seem to have better action than ours.

            I will try to get an explanation…

          3. As to your observation, they are catering to a different audience when NBC Sports comes on line. It makes sense to not necessarily “dumbing it down,” but getting away from the jargon we all know and explain things to sports fans who now watch racing because their favorite sport is unavailable… which gives me a column idea for Sunday… hmm

  6. One other thought and question.
    With the casino closed, where will purse money come from?
    Casinos put people close together, distancing is almost impossible. Even if they reopen, business can’t be expected to be as good as before.

  7. True and true. Casinos would need to spread out slot machines to accommodate social distancing but four or five people around a craps table, or sitting to play blackjack? I have no idea how–or if–that can work.

    Tracks are fortunate in that almost all work is outdoors, even inside a barn where there are windows and open shedrow entrances. Horses requiring two handlers pre-race can get this done with careful behavior but all of normal life is such second nature; it’s difficult:

    Walked right passed a woman this morning at Trader Joe’s–not on top of her but closer than six feet. Didn’t realize it until I was passed her. I didn’t do it a second time!

    As for purse money, there is money in the purse account now, and NYRA is fortunate to have its own ADW–that will help. But it doesn’t come close to their share from ontrack customers, of course. But at the moment, any income would be welcome.

  8. I miss sitting upstairs in the Belmont Clubhouse and breathing in the fresh air. There is an unmatched feeling of peace that comes over me when I make that exit off the Cross Island onto Hempstead Ave. on a Saturday morning. Getting the scratches and some Manhattan clam chowder is something I won’t again take for granted.

  9. I might have missed it but where did the impression that Gov. Cuomo has a firm grasp on anything involving racing, except for his disdain for it, come?

    Also I think the idea for a closed jockey colony is inadvisable and unworkable. Where would the next Ortiz brothers come from? How would they get their chance?

    Suppose for example a Flavien Pratt or Florent Geroux wanted to shift their tack to NY. Does a N.Y. regular have to be told, “Sorry, you have to leave to make room for the new guy?”

    I also suspect there could be anti-trust issues.

    1. Could we get up and running first..?

      Don’t you think the virus will one day magically leave? I do. But I’m setting the Over-Under at 2023…

      Do you think it’s possible that one of the 30 would switch his tack elsewhere, opening up a slot? Do you think this rule cannot be tweaked or eliminated some day..?

      Until then, Prat, Geroux and next Flying Ortiz Brothers act will have to wait. And I think the “private property” argument — that tracks like to bring up from time to time — may preclude anti-trust suits.

      Right now everyone is guessing but most would agree they would like to see racing in New York again, sooner than later, by any means necessary.

  10. And speaking of which, I wonder how they’ll handle Longshots at Aqueduct. It’s such a great facility, but obviously the seats are way way too close to each other. Even the betting machines – how do they operate with people using a public touch screen betting terminal? I think everyone is going to have to bring their own laptop or use the phone app. They do give out (first come first served) the Microsoft Surfaces as personal terminals at Longshots, so I wonder if they just remove the public betting terminals until there is a vaccine?

    1. Or sterilize the personal terminals every night; one per customer, per day. Bringing your own wipes would be advisable, just in case…

  11. I might be a good time to consider how the game is structured, from one end to the other.

    Can’t you envision state governments saying they need the revenue from slots and casinos for more important things?

    Could race tracks survive without it?
    Shouldn’t tracks get more of the money from betting than ADW’s retain without having to pay more to the ones that put in the show?

  12. Yes, in a perfect world, tracks should get a larger slice of the ADW action.

    Your second point is the biggest danger. Once up and running, casino expenses are lower. CDInc would love nothing more–save for two days a year and when the Breeders’ Cup comes calling…

  13. Suspect John has Andrew Cuomo handicapped correctly, “it’s an uphill battle but revenue for state coffers and jobs will overcome any prejudice he might have.” In the end, I suspect the coffers will be filled, and NY racing will continue year round. I could see racing dropped completely at the Big A however, and winter racing at Belmont may one day be continued in the training track area over a heated track with an adjacent much smaller winter facility to shelter up to 2 to 3K daily fans. New York already lost much of the highlight of the fall championship meet to the BC years back, and it would be a travesty to now lose racing altogether. Right up there with the Dodgers leaving Brooklyn it would be. Life would go on, but I’ll be damned if I’ll send any of my wagers to CDInc. Should Cuomo cancel NY racing, first thing I’ll do is cancel the TwinSpires AWD. No big deal, but if enough of us did it….

    Not at all worried about a limited jockey colony. Short term everyone will do what everyone has to do to adapt to mandated change. It will all work itself out with time.

    Regardless of Cuomo’s decisions regarding NYRA and racing in NY, as great as he has done of late standing up for the centrist rights for what is best for our country, whenever he runs for national office, he has my vote. Maybe his Dad may have had good reason for some of his angst with NYRA. If anything like the wealth distribution of our era, he indeed may have had good justification.

    Me, I’m just a bleacher seats guy. Paid my two bucks, now five, to get in, and think of a Saturday at Belmont as one of the great treats in life. Only thing better might be taking the grandkids to the morning workout breakfasts. One day years back, only a few days days after he had won the roses with Strike the Gold, Nick Zito stepped over to meet us and tossed a football around with my sons and their friends for several minutes. Unbridled sincerity captured Nick Zito quite well that morning. He warmth allowed for lifetime fans of racing. My sons and friends even got to see Strike the Gold and Nick later in the morning in the barn area on the track provided tram ride. All for free mind you. Amazed that more people don’t attend the workouts. Be a shame to lose it all is all.

    1. I love the morning works with Mary Ryan and the tram rides through the stable areas at Belmont.

      Saw Nick up close last year at Saratoga under the stands, he looks as if he’s hit hard times, the sport jacket and trousers were worn.
      I have to think the popularity of a select few ‘super trainers’ has something to do with it.

  14. ‘Loved’ past tense.
    Haven’t been to Belmont in over twenty years, only once after moving upstate in the late 90’s.

  15. Well, Den, I will be missing my first Belmont since… I don’t even know when. Had my airline tickets since FEB, but…

    1. On your observation about that ” $ 10 bet wins” in an Era of Algorithm s has simple ” Rithmetic ” become complex? No Wonder most are still ignorant about the simple Metric system! $10 bet : 5 X ” odds plus 2 “,or as my Brooklyn cugini would say, ” Half of a $ 20 Bet” !! It is what it is.. Thanks!

  16. Thanks for the balance re: Cuomo, JP. I’m amazed his presence at Saratoga escaped the media.

    I’d prefer to believe he wants to do the right thing under circumstances which could confirm his true character, but IMO his reorganization of the NYRA board and its oversight not only further reduced the organization’s transparency and public esteem, it also lowered the quality of its product–and the experience for recreational bettors and fans–in favor of the deep-pocketed and “elite.”

    How the preceding could have been initiated while Bennett Liebman was his gaming advisor remains a mystery to me.

    1. At minimum, Liebman’s role has been vastly reduced; indeed may have reached the retirement or semi-retirement stage. I need to find time to follow up on this…

      While my admiration for the Governor is based on his being a national leader vis a vis the pandemic–someone had to–the state involvement with NYRA has not been a good thing for New York racing and transparency is not the first word that leaps to mind when it comes to NYRA Board appointments and the like.

      “Opening up” racing is NOT the same as opening the state in general; it’s as closed a society as any industry can get. Providing the racing community pulls out all the safety stops, racing should resume.

      It has worked well with two tracks in Florida; that’s all I can speak to, although this requires that I take management’s word on number of positive cases which–to my knowledge–is zero.

  17. John,
    While not a big fan of Governor Cuomo,there must be some reason, he is not allowing NYRA to open without fans. In Florida,the tracks refused to shut down. In NY,I don’t think the management has that kind of power. Also,the amount of cases in NY was over the top,so to some extent you can give Cuomo a pass on delaying the opening. As of today, you would think a statement would be forthcoming on what is going on. Just tell us why NYRA can’t open or give a date when they can open. Doesn’t seem to be an unreasonable request.

    1. Aaron, agree 1000%. There is no reason that, at least, the issue should be discussed with reasons vis a vis for or against opening. The Governor has been forthright in his approach the worldwide pandemic. This does not seem all that complicated, providing he is shown what protocols will be observed.

  18. John: The silence is deafening. There is absolutely no reason why Cuomo has not given NYRA, at the very least, a time table for re-opening racing at Belmont. Even Phil Murphy has given Monmouth the green light to provide a schedule. Unlike some other commentators here, I am not prepared to give Cuomo the benefit of any doubt. I also do not give any credence to him sitting in a Saratoga box with John Hendrickson. Even Andrew, the son, has enough common sense to know that aligning himself with Mary Lou Whitney is a super PR move. She is revered in Saratoga County. As you noted, he had a very easy commute from the mansion in Albany.
    Anyway, out in So Cal, Stronach is having their own hard time with LA County politicians. Nevertheless, So Cal horse-people had no problem protesting their situation. Even Mr. Baffert, with mask, was out on the picket line. Query: Where are Chad Brown and/or Todd Pletcher insofar as protesting the non-movement here in NY? Did you notice that they are just relocating to Churchill? Again, the silence is deafening!

  19. There is much silence on this topic from all individuals save the NY Horsemen’s group who, with NYRA, drafted the letter to the NY Gaming Commission targeting a MAY 22 resumption. There still is a little time but obviously that window is closing fast. Both Brown and Pletcher are in Florida but New York’s most successful trainers must raise their profiles on this issue. All have a debt to New York racing.

  20. Framarco,
    Pletcher and Brown are not poitically or personally connected in NY racing the way Baffert is in CA. He is(was?) a TOC board member and socializes with CHRB appointees.

    They are not catered to the way Baffert is (at least at Santa Anita). The media fawns all over Baffert, and the fans worship the ground he walks on. He is an icon in CA, NJ, AK, NY, and the UAE. Unlike the other two, Baffert is an entertaining personality who rewards and thrives on the attention bestowed upon him.

    Perhaps a petition from a meaningful volume of resident horsemen and customers would be more productive.

    1. I, No one asked me but I think Americas are suffering from ‘grassroots fatigue’.

      You know Jeff Platt, why not give his organization a call? I’m a one-man band at present; no time for crusades at the moment.

      Perhaps there are horseplayers out there with some time on their hands.

      Then, again, Americans are a pretty apathetic lot, aren’t they?

  21. I, it’s a good point. BB has iconic stature in the sports world owing to two Triple Crown achievements and perhaps his proximity to Hollywood makes him far more entertaining than New York’s elite operations. Your petition idea is a good one but I still believe it would do at least a little good if the local heroes stood up. They have the luxury of sitting and waiting to a greater extent than those trainers and backstretch workers live from small purse to smaller purse.

  22. JP,
    Brown and Pletcher did not come off as solid citizens after the being fined for their labor practices, but their names on the petition wouldn’t hurt the cause. The old-fashioned civics way probably plays better in the Empire State than elsewhere. NY residents have to make it clear to their Governor that racing without spectators is what they want and believe is safe. This is one situation where numbers really matter.

    1. I don’t understand the labor practices issue well enough, I.

      It just seems to me when you take a job as a stable-hand you know what’s expected of you. At any level of the horse business, “overtime” is a given. I’m sure there is more to it, and on both sides.

      Health notwithstanding, it was one of the reasons that hastened Kiaran McLaughlin decision to change racing careers.

  23. John & Mr I: While its true that both Chad & Todd ( as were many others) implicated in the alleged Labor pay-rate affair, they have combined for 11 Eclipse awards and are both NY residents. Chad grew up in and still lives in Saratoga County and Todd lives in Garden City. John correctly noted above that they owe their success to NY racing-Florida and Kentucky are secondary in their operations.

    However, I was merely pointing out that the So Cal trainers, and ancillary horse-people, are taking a much more active role in trying to get racing going again at Santa Anita. The current pandemic has only exacerbated a larger issue about NY racing moving forward. The Labor Pay issue has already driven two prominent NY trainers out of business- McLaughlin and Contessa-and many small outfits are barely holding on. The pandemic might be the straw that backs their collective backs. We have watched as the many issues in California have significantly reduced their horse population. We are now watching as many NY trainers are either leaving the business or relocating to Kentucky. Patience is a virtue but TIME waits for no one!

      1. DD, not sure if he was in NY to any large degree. But the circuit doesn’t need another super trainer, IMO.

  24. Mr. F,
    Not invalidating your points, just offering a different perspective.

    Cuomo and his minions got rid of NYRA’s then CEO and General Counsel for failure to observe the sunset for a legislated temporary takeout increase. Brown, Pletcher, and McLaughlin all trained primarily for “elite” owners who ultimately benefited from those “questionable” labor practices. Not saying it’s justified, but waving these guys in the face of decision makers tasked with determining the “greater good” seems counter-intuitive to me.

    Would the same financial problems for NY stables exist if horses were more widely distributed among them? Do larger stables with more employees pose a greater risk of virus expansion? Should stall allocations be decreased for either consideration?

    The fact that NY horsemen are leaving despite the revenue from casinos unavailable in CA suggests that more activism is indeed required there.

    JP,
    At this point in tine, the Thoroughbred Idea Foundation (TIF) seems like a better candidate for representing recreational racing participants nationally than HANA. Perhaps TIF could be persuaded to form a dues-paying, voting membership whose interests it could formally represent and marshal its collective strength.

  25. Thoroughbred Idea Foundation, now why didn’t I think of that?

    The problem is that it is industry sponsored. Whatever happened to HANA anyway?

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