Today...Pancake Tuesday! Fountain of Youth Stakes coming up...but more unsettling FORT ERIE NEWS...
UPDATE - 2:35 P.M.
from the Ontario H.B.P.A....
The breakdown of negotiations yesterday regarding the purchase of Fort Erie Racetrack from Nordic was disappointing, but not entirely a surprise to all of us involved in the process.
We, the horsepeople, and particularly, right now, the Fort Erie horsepeople are amazingly committed. You are resilient, proud and dedicated to both our industry and especially to the horses. Now, you have also demonstrated incredible patience.
We can’t promise the final outcome of Fort Erie, but we can promise the effort to save Fort Erie will be fought to the bitter end. I personally, will not be deterred or intimidated by criticism, public posturing, or set backs such as yesterdays.
Please continue to refer to our website.
THE CURIOUS CASE OF FORT ERIE RACETRACK
In another bizarre turn in the story of the fate of Fort Erie racetrack, Nordic Gaming put out a press release yesterday making the city of Fort Erie look like the bad guys this time.
The press release said the Fort Erie Economic Development and Tourism Corp. had "withdrawn" its offer to buy the track. The city says that is not the case - a deadline has expired.
(On Feb. 13, the Ontario Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association said a plan was presented to Nordic to offer a non-refundable down payment for the purchase of Fort Erie racetrack from Nordic Gaming, $2.25 million, along with EDTC.)
First up, yesterday's NORDIC RELEASE....
Nordic Gaming Corporation / Elad Canada, the owner and operator of the Fort Erie Race Track, has been working with both the Town of Fort Erie and the Province of Ontario, as well as other stakeholders, for the past several years to move forward with a proposal to revitalize the Town of Fort Erie as a major tourist destination and in so doing, generate sufficient population to operate a profitable racetrack.
More recently, Elad has been working with the Town of Fort Erie , in addition to the Province and other stakeholders, to ensure that live racing would continue in Fort Erie for the 2009 racing season. It was within this context that a proposal was made by the local Economic Development and Tourism Corporation (EDTC) to work with the Province to purchase the Fort Erie Race Track.
On Friday, February 20, 2009 the EDTC presented Elad with a very lengthy offer that contained a myriad of conditions that from both an economic and performance perspective were non achievable and unacceptable. In addition, the only condition that Elad had previously placed on an offer, which would have ensured live racing for 2009, was not fully satisfied. While Elad was prepared to continue negotiating with the EDTC to arrive at an agreement on both the shortfall and the conditions that the EDTC attached to the offer that it presented on Friday afternoon, on Monday, February 23, 2009, Elad Canada was informed by email that in fact, the EDTC was withdrawing its offer to purchase the Race Track.
While it is unfortunate that there will be no agreement to purchase between the EDTC and Elad, Elad and Nordic continue to believe in the importance of the Fort Erie Race Track both to the local community and the Province as a whole. In that regard, the Company will continue to work diligently to try and find a commercially viable solution to ensure the Race Track’s long-term survival.
In today's ST. CATHERINES STANDARD....
Owners won't sell to EDTC
Posted By JOHN ROBBINS, SUN MEDIA
Posted 44 mins ago
The fate of the Fort Erie Race Track is up in the air once again.
In a surprising development Monday, Nordic Gaming/El-Ad Canada Inc., owner and operator of the track, issued a statement saying an offer to buy the 111-year-old border oval by the Fort Erie Economic Development and Tourism Corp. had been withdrawn and that "there will be no agreement to purchase."
The statement contained few clues as to what had happened between the parties, other than to say a revised offer submitted by the EDTC Friday "contained a myriad of conditions that from both an economic and performance perspective were non-achievable and unacceptable."
A spokesman for the company could not be reached for comment Monday evening.
However, EDTC general manager Jim Thibert said his agency did not withdraw its offer to buy the track for $35 million.
"I can tell you, we're not too pleased," said Thibert.
"First of all, the word withdrawn is not a correct connotation. We provided an offer with a response time ... and they failed to meet it, so the offer expired."
Read the rest...
BIG TALK FOR PATENA
in tomorrow's DAILY RACING FORM
Patena is scheduled to make his first start for Dutrow in the Louisiana Derby. A son of Seeking the Gold, he was purchased privately by IEAH Stables after his second-place finish behind Friesan Fire in the Fair Grounds' Grade 3 LeComte.
"He's been improving from the day he got here right up to today," said Dutrow. "I didn't ask a lot of him in his first couple of works, but we asked him today and he showed up. He passed the test. And if he keeps passing the tests, there's no reason why he shouldn't run big in the Louisiana Derby."
FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH STAKES
Do you have a favourite race?
Some folks have a favourite race - an event they never miss (other than the big ones like the Derby, Preakness etc.).
It could be the Santa Anita Handicap, the Travers Stakes...anything.
Yours truly has been a FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH fan for years.
My first one I attended - 1984 when DARN THAT ALARM went wire-to-wire to win. In just a few years, I was working at the racetrack for KINGHAVEN FARMS, thanks to Darn That Alarm.
It has been 15 years since Thunder Gulch parlayed a Fountain of Youth win into a Kentucky Derby win (1995) and Mike Smith rode that day for trainer D. Wayne Lukas.
Some good horses have won the 1 1 /16 - 1 1/8 mile race over the years - Pulpit, Forty Niner, Bet Twice - but now that the race is a ONE-TURN MILE, is may not have any impact on the 10 furlong, two-turn Derby in May.
But the field is expected to be interesting esepcially since the leading names have HUGE BEYER SPEED FIGURES.
THIS ONE'S FOR PHIL, the subject of an Andy Beyer story in the DRF/Washington Post based on his miraculos 116 Beyer win in the Sunshine Millions, his first start for Rick Dutrow Jr; NOTONTHESAMEPAGE ran like a wild horse when he won the Spectacular Bid Stakes with a 114 BEYER SPEED FIGURE and New York invader TAQARUB, who has a 103 Beyer Figure form his latest,
All 3 are fast, fast, fast.
Also expected is BREAK WATER EDISON, CAPT. CANDYMAN CAN, BEETHOVEN and JACK SPRAT.
FORTY NINER IN 1988 - from Bryan3229 at YouTube.com