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Saturday, March 14, 2009

Tough (or Bitchy) Questions

Is MEC just rotten to its core? News today that one of its former employees at The Meadows south of Pittsburgh has been charged with stealing nearly $250,000 while director of purchasing, namely by generating invoices from, and issuing 147 checks to, two bogus companies (“Innovative Cleaning Concepts” and “Total Mechanical Restoration”) he created. Only when he applied for a gaming license as required by his new position on the casino side did Thomas M. Reddy’s actions become known.

What is it with all-weather tracks not living up to expectations? Granted, the technology is still in its infancy with much to be learned, but what an expensive learning curve! Hollywood went through some costly refurbishing last year with its Cushion Track, while Santa Anita completely overhauled its Cushion Track, replacing it with Pro-Ride last summer for in excess of $15 million. Now word from Australia that Geelong’s ThoroughTrack all-weather racetrack has been totally dug up for drainage work just 19 months after opening. First completed at a cost of $3.7 million ($1.785 contributed by the state government of Victoria), no price-tag has been placed on the current overhaul, but Racing Victoria Ltd. is quick to note “the work has nothing to do with a recent RVL study prompted by a higher rate of horse injuries on synthetic tracks than on normal grass tracks.” However, there will be no new installation of synthetic tracks in Victoria for at least two years.

How did we ever survive in a world without cell phones? This is a serious pet-peeve for me because, while I own one (and have totally given up a land-line phone at home), cell phones in the classroom (or workplace) are not just annoying, but completely rude. Is it really necessary to text message someone instead of listening and participating in classroom discussion? Well, I’ve become a hard-ass about it, but even I was surprised to read that Racing Victoria fines its jockeys $200 ($300 for a repeat offender) for possessing a cell phone in the jockeys’ room. No Twittering for them!

What’s the big deal with Henrythenavigator getting top mares? I understand the anecdotal success of milers at stud, but a horse that ran only 11 times (at 2 and 3) and is also far too inbred to Northern Dancer and Raise a Native already? He’s successfully impregnated Vertigineux, dam of Zenyatta and Balance, but according to TrueNicks the resulting foal only rates a “D,” not a particularly strong mating. Another one soon to visit Henrythenavigator is new mother Rags to Riches. Okay, this is a better cross (“A” TrueNicks), with horses bred on this cross including Lemon Drop Kid, Boboman and Cosmonaut, but I’d still like to see her bred to Curlin (also an “A” TrueNicks) or how about Street Cry (only a “C+”) which would be a complete outcross (no inbreeding through five generations).

Finally, how the hell does one of the winningest U.S. trainers—who has earned over $83 million in his relatively-short career, and over $1.3 million thus far this year—file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy? According to Bloodhorse (who Lake called “classless” in publishing this information): “The largest 20 unsecured creditors filed with the petition are listed with a combined $1,177,479 in claims, including those with a feed company and veterinary groups, among others.” Without mentioning what’s fundamentally wrong with a trainer like Scott Lake, let’s just say it’s beyond shitty that those who got shafted here are those in the trades.


SaratogaSpa said...

Answer to your questions on Lake:

Like the whole system that has crashed down upon us, Lake was fully leveraged-the reason why is not quite clear but nevertheless he was fully leveraged. I think he is not the only trainer out there and more will follow suit.

Anonymous said...

Rags to Riches to Henrythenavigator is one for the "home team". It is not a bad mating on paper but my concern would be the mating of a mare that is pretty much bred to go on the dirt to a pedigree that is very much noted for turf running. Although it is worth noting that Kingmambo did get Lemon Drop Kid out of the same family as Rags to Riches sire AP Indy. Alan Porter did a mating analysis on the mare which can be found here.