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Friday, January 04, 2008

GAMES BEGIN

UPDATE...TYLER PIZARRO NOMINATED FOR ECLIPSE AWARD

he Eclipse Award finalists, in alphabetical order, are:

· Two-Year-Old Male: Kodiak Kowboy, Pyro, War Pass;

· Two-Year-Old Female: Country Star, Indian Blessing, Proud Spell;

· Three-Year-Old Male: Curlin, Hard Spun, Street Sense;

· Three-Year-Old Female: Octave, Panty Raid, Rags to Riches;

· Older Male: Corinthian, Invasor (ARG), Lawyer Ron;

· Older Female: Ginger Punch, Hystericalady, Nashoba’s Key;

· Male Sprinter: Fabulous Strike, Idiot Proof, Midnight Lute;

· Female Sprinter: Dream Rush, Maryfield, River’s Prayer;

· Male Turf Horse: After Market, English Channel, Kip Deville;

· Female Turf Horse: Lahudood (GB), Nashoba’s Key, Precious Kitten;

· Steeplechase Horse: Good Night Shirt, McDynamo, Planets Aligned;

· Owner: Maggi Moss, Shadwell Stable, Stronach Stables;

· Breeder: Adena Springs, William S. Farish, Martin and Pam Wygod;

· Trainer: Steve Asmussen, Kiaran McLaughlin, Todd Pletcher;

· Jockey: Robby Albarado, Garrett Gomez, John Velazquez; and

· Apprentice Jockey: Tyler Pizarro, Alonso Quinonez, Joe Talamo.



Get ready Woodbine! In light of the mess that occurred at the Greenwood teletheatre recently (see story below and in previous posts) it's time for folks to start using the betting machines more - yes? In the coming weeks, Woodbine's betting machines will be replaced by fancy new ones from AMTOTE (similar to the one pictured) that shows current odds, etc.

OPENING DAY AT THE GULF

VERY COOL (as in temperature!)


Huge class dropper MISS MAISIE dueled on the pace as the heavy favourite in the first race of the 2008 but was all done late on the turn. While another speed runner, Ms. Luvjoy led clear in the late stages, she was run down by Catch a Thrill (owned by Catch a Thrill syndicate), a Polytrack, turn-back runner who was exiting a key race.

14 to 1 to kick off the meeting. Woo hoo.

Speed horses won the next 3 races (although there did not seem to be any apparent bias on the day) until the winning machine BENTROVHTO won the 5th for trainer Terri Pompay.

The horse that makes everyone’s trip notes list is LINE OF THOUGHT from race 6, the grass race won by TEMPLAR’S CUP, who won in the final jump in that starter allowance. The former was in similar trouble as the winner early in the race but it got much worse for this guy. Tab for next time!

Canadian horsepeople had little luck in the South Beach Stakes, a race dominated by Quite a Bride, who toyed with the field at odds on. SOLDIER GIRL and FORBIDDEN IMAGE were well back for trainers Julia Carey and Greg de Gannes.

TORONTO STAR ON THE BOTCHED BET SITUATION

Race clerks can't win for losing

Tracks force them to pay for bungled wagers, but they can't cash in if horse wins, union complains

Jan 04, 2008 04:30 AM


Staff Reporter

It was a Saturday night at Greenwood Teletheatre and up on the screen, the thoroughbreds racing in Houston, Texas, were moments from bursting out of the gate.

In Toronto a man was at the counter to place a last-second wager on the number 6 horse to win. The clerk, rushing to register the bet in time, accidentally punched in horse number 5 on his $500 bet.

Realizing her mistake, she immediately tried to cancel the ticket just as her colleague spun around screaming "The race has gone."

"I guess they saw the look on my face," said the clerk, speaking to the Star on condition her name not be used. She was too late. The race was on, the betting machines were frozen and she was on the hook to cover the bet.

The clerk's liability in such circumstances is opposed by the Canadian Auto Workers Local 2007, which acts for about 500 workers at Woodbine and Mohawk racetracks as well as 26 teletheatres (off-track betting sites). It has filed a grievance on behalf of the clerk.

"What the regulation says is that a clerk is not allowed to come into possession of a ticket," said Brian Henderson, president of Local 2007. "If it doesn't get cancelled, then the track should take the ticket for better or worse."

Parimutuel clerks must cover smaller tickets that went awry all the time, for one reason or another, he said. If they have to pay for shortages, or mistakes, it's unfair to deny them the winnings if the horse comes in, he said.

Racetracks are governed by the Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency, which is under the auspices of the federal Department of Agriculture and Agri-food Canada.

The agency's regulations, mirrored in Woodbine's collective agreement, say if clerks come up short, they must pay out at day's end and cannot engage in betting, even if by accident.

In the Greenwood case, the clerk – earning $17.60 an hour – didn't have to tap her savings. Number 5 – a 15-1 longshot – won, for a payout of $7,825 on every $500 wager.

The customer came back and demanded the spoiled ticket, but was told he was out of luck.

Meanwhile the clerk, who still faced paying $500 to cover the hole in the betting pool, had no chance to collect a dime.

Relenting after the race, managers did decide to subtract $500 from the "winnings" to cover the bet, rather than insist the clerk pay.

The balance would end up in a future betting pool, they said.

The union's position that the clerk was entitled to the winnings "is inconsistent with our federal regulations and our corporate policy," said Jane Holmes, vice-president of corporate affairs of the Woodbine Entertainment Group.

Federal law says staff in wagering parlours can't place bets on the job and tellers are "always responsible" for their cash, she said.

"We would be concerned if our rules weren't being respected," said David Liston, associate executive director of the parimutuel agency. He said that a clerk cashing in a bet would be a "clear-cut" violation.

Instead, the agency has proposed to the industry that the rules relating to teller shortages be dropped. The ban on clerks holding wagers is under review. Henderson said the clerks aren't being protected in a high-stress environment.

The fact managers chose to spare the Greenwood clerk from paying $500 merely shows how the regulations can be bent, he said.

Most botched bets are smaller and the clerks have to cover them, he said. "What Woodbine is doing to their employees is grossly unfair."

Holmes said the payout was a goodwill gesture by managers reacting quickly to an unusual situation. "Also, the amount of the bet was significant."

GULFSTREAM NOT FOR RACING FANS

Says Hal Habib of the Palm Beach Post..here's an excerpt..


“Today, a sprawling new clubhouse stands adjacent to the finish line, yet ,shockingly, little of it offers a view of the track.

Lately, fans wanting to see a racetrack at a racetrack (go figure) were directed to a tent near the homestretch. Wouldn't it have made sense, and made everyone happy, to flip-flop the arrangement, positioning the grandstand over the homestretch and the spectating area near the finish? Even now, there's room to install thousands of seats overlooking the finish - if Gulfstream wanted to.

Last year, enough fans grumbled that bleachers were installed by the homestretch, yet they went unused because sight lines made it impossible to decipher close finishes. This year, those bleachers were replaced by a tiki bar. Gulfstream promoted the area as offering seating for about 2,000, but Thursday, all of 75 people milled about a few dozen restaurant and picnic tables there. If you wanted to see the finish, you did so on a monitor.

It's puzzling why Gulfstream put so many of its chips on the poker-and-slots crowd. Those players could easily go to the nearby Mardi Gras Racetrack & Gaming Center (formerly Hollywood Dog Track) or Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. The thing Gulfstream can offer that those places can't? Horses.”

Read the whole story here:

http://www.palmbeachpost.com/sports/content/sports/epaper/2008/01/03/0104habibcolumn.html

From Associated Press…

Rain may jeopardize Santa Anita program

Drainage problem would overwhelm new $11 million track

Thurs., Jan. 3, 2008

ARCADIA, Calif. - A drainage problem with the new synthetic track at Santa Anita could jeopardize its thoroughbred racing programs if the area is hit with predicted heavy rainfall in the coming days.

“It’s designed to be an all-weather track. At this point, it’s anything but,” Mike Willman, director of publicity at Santa Anita, said Thursday. “If we get the heavy rain that is forecast, there is a very strong possibility we will have to cancel racing at some point.”

The new track, installed last summer at a cost of $11 million, was designed to ensure safety for horses and jockeys. But, Willman said, the drainage problem was discovered in September, while racing programs were being held at the Los Angeles County Fairgrounds.

“We had a half-inch rain overnight, and we were forced to miss training for two consecutive mornings due to the drainage problem,” he recalled. “The problem is in the material. It’s since been pretty well agreed that it’s the fine silt in the material, and for whatever reason, this material is bonding to water. It’s not allowing the water to drain vertically, which is the way this track is designed now.”

Paul Harper, technical director of Cushion Track Footings, said the problem is one his company had not encountered before, explaining that the focus on enabling the track to withstand high temperatures has probably compromised the drainage.

“After extensive testing, which is still going on even now, the experiments indicate that the sand seems to be the area of concern,” Harper said in a news release issued by Cushion Track. “Over the past few weeks and following extensive efforts, the drainage has improved.” It’s unknown whether the drainage has improved enough to allow racing to go on as scheduled. Harper said if a remedy isn’t found, Cushion Track will install a new surface after the Santa Anita’s winter-spring meet, scheduled to end April 20.

Former Toronto Star sports editor Milt Dunnell dies at age 102

Editor's note: I was lucky enough to have Mr. Dunnell write a few stories for CANADIAN THOROUGHBRED MAGAZINE years ago when I was managing editor of that publication. I even stopped by his house one day to get copy to go in the magazine. He was an intelligent and very nice man who loved horse-racing.

From Canadian Press..

TORONTO - Former columnist and sports editor Milt Dunnell, a Toronto Star legend and Hall of Fame journalist known for his deft turn of phrase and encyclopedic breadth of experience, has died. He was 102.

Dunnell died at North York General Hospital late Thursday night, a source from the Star told The Canadian Press.

"To be honest, when I was younger, I never thought I'd make it to 50," Dunnell told the Toronto Star in 2005 when he turned 100.

"In some respects, I'm healthier now than when I was younger. But I don't think there's any great achievement in living to be 100 years old."

Dunnell, who turned 102 on Christmas Eve, was an honoured member of Canada's Sports Hall of Fame, the Hockey Hall of Fame, the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame and the Football Reporters of Canada Hall of Fame.

Dunnell was known around the newsroom as Mr. Sports or, more fondly, as Uncle Miltie.

"By any measure, the former Toronto Star sports editor was simply Canada's top sports columnist for more than half a century," Jim Kernaghan of the London Free Press wrote in 2005.

Good friend George Gross, the corporate sports editor of the rival Toronto Sun, called him "a beacon of classic sports journalism" and "a genius amongst sportswriters".

Dunnell's work took him around the world, covering Olympics from Melbourne to Mexico City or following Muhammad Ali to Zaire and the Philippines.

He reached retirement age in 1970 but kept writing until 1994, when he was just shy of 89. In all Dunnell wrote some 11,000 columns for the Star.

And he did it like no other.

His 1966 report on the Ali-George Chuvalo fight in Toronto started: "They had a contest between a bull and a bumblebee at Maple Leaf Gardens last night - with the usual result. The bull came out of it with his face looking like a bucket of balls at a golf driving range."

Dunnell, from St. Marys, Ont., began his career writing for his hometown paper, the St. Marys Journal-Argus, before spending 13 years with the Stratford Beacon-Herald, including five as sports editor. He joined the Star in 1942 and seven years later was named sports editor. He retired from the position in 1970 but continued writing five columns a week - and to work for another 24 years.

A book containing 77 of his columns, "The Best of Milt Dunnell," was published in 1993.

4 Comments:

  • At 9:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Despite what the CPMA rules may say, mutual clerks at woodbine bet on the races while on the job. This is not hear say, I've often seen it and know of it. Back stretch employees even give tips to mutual clerks. In future in incidents such as the $500 mistake at Greenwood, clerks should just keep their mouth shut and get a friend to cash the ticket.

     
  • At 9:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    How about few "free" parking spots because of construction, $15 valet parking, $31.99 (weekends)for a pedestrian buffet on the second floor, etc., etc., etc.

    What hell hath he wraught?

     
  • At 12:02 PM, Anonymous Thomas G. Gostlin said…

    Hi Jen, Happy New Year!
    I just read that John Cardella has stepped up and made a comittment to help new care taker, Stacy Dinly, support Bompago (now 27) at Stacy's farm.(His previous owner had passed away.)This is a classy move made by one of the classiest people in the racing business.Good on ya John.

     
  • At 2:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I'm sure Cardella feels like it's the least he can do for that classy old Plate winner who helped put him on the map 24 years ago.

     

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