Whew, what a couple of weeks it has been. Unless some important breaking news develops, this will be my last post until Sunday (I will check periodically for comments); one of three for the day. Fat chance I realize, but I can hope.
With this last scheduled post for a couple of days, let's look at the Matchmaker and Levy Memorial finals at Yonkers Raceway on Saturday evening. In addition, we will take a look at the weekend races at Vernon Downs.
Saturday night Yonkers Raceway
6th Pace - $301,000; Blue Chip Matchmaker Series Final - FFA Mares (1 mile)
1 Ginger And Fred (pp 1, Gingras, 8-5) - Been one of the most consistent in series and draws the rail. Pick here.
1A Breakheart Pass (pp 5, Tetrick, 8-5) - Don't think he will be involved from post five.
2 Save My Shark (pp 2, Pantaleano, 6-1) - Drew poorly in last preliminary. Eligible to improve.
3 Hula's Z Tam (pp 3, Lachance, 6-1) - Needs to break through seconditis here. Not sure that will happen.
4 Tomorrowpan (pp 4, Dube, 4-1) - Winner of two legs, so can't be ignored, but is tackling the #1 here.
5 All Spirit (pp 6, Brennan, 5-1) - Second best in my view, just peaking at right time. May be value play.
6 Giveittoemstraight (pp 7, Bartlett, 12-1) - Pena trainee has been able to consistently pick up checks. Lucky to do so from here.
7 Symphony In Motion (pp 8, Miller, 15-1) - Wrong time to draw post eight. Pass.
9th Pace - $495,000; George Morton Levy Memorial Pace Final - FFA (1 mile)
1 This Is Wyatt (pp 1, Goodell, 3-1) - Winner of final tune-up gets my pick for the minor upset.
1A Foreign Officer (pp 7, Pantaleano, 3-1) - Post draw hurts this one. Pass.
2 Southern Allie (pp 2, Miller, 6-5) - Has tailed off from early starts in serious, don't expect a reversal.
2A Foiled Again (pp 6, Gingras, 6-5) - Swept first four preliminary legs and took week off. Can that have been a mistake?
3 Blatantly Good (pp 3, Bartlett, 5-1) - Seems to put on better performance when money on the line.
4 Gallant Yankee (pp 4, Tetrick, 5-1) - Has had a good series. Wouldn't shock me but not my pick.
5 Real Nice (pp 5, Brennan, 6-1) - Will try to leave and hope to steal on the engine. Not likely.
6 Giddy Up Lucky (pp 8, Dube, 12-1) - Draws the worst but may close for third.
In brief, here are my selections for Friday night at Vernon Downs:
1st - 2-4-1
2nd - 7-5-4,
3rd - 5-2-8
4tth - 6-9-7-5
5th - 7-3-1
6th - 2-3-4
7th - 6-4-3-1
8th - 4-2-3
9th - 6-1-5
10th - 8-4-1
11th - 7-8-5
12th - 4-8-1-2
And for Saturday night, here are my Vernon selections in the brief.
1st - 4-3-5
2nd - 5-1-6
3rd - 7-5-4
4th - 5-7-8-1
5th - 1-4-6
6th - 3-6-5
7th - 2-6-7-1
8th - 5-6-4
9th - 1-5-8
10th - 1-2-3
11th - 1-7-8
12th - 6-8-9-2
Starting next week, with Tioga Downs reopening, I will feature Tioga races with their reduced takeout over Vernon Downs unless Vernon has special races.
Meadowlands May 7 Start? - Jeff Gural has a meeting with Governor Christie tomorrow and based on that meeting, a decision will be made whether racing will resume next week. Odds are if racing resumes next week, there is a good chance a reasonable settlement with the NJ thoroughbred horsemen. A decision not to go will suggest the issue of revenue sharing of simulcasting revenue will be a bigger roadblock than it should be. You can see a press release from Jeff Gural here.
Scratch the Xanadu Casino: Earlier this week I mentioned Xanadu could have been used as a casino. Well, that is apparently off the table. The company that operates Mall of the America is expected to take over the project and rename the monstrosity as American Dream|Meadowlands and open in 2013. Of particular delight to New Jersey residents, that ugly design on the facade will be eliminated. It is also reported that they are seeking to buy additional parcels of land to expand the project.
More competition for Monticello? Rumor has it that Mohegan Sun, operator of Pocono Downs may be ready to partner with a developer to develop a convention center and racino in Liberty, NY near Monticello Raceway. Now, Monticello has a lot to worry about but it would be premature to worry that this new development will ever reach fruition, at least under the current developer. The project was started a while ago and almost immediately ran into financial problems. In fact, the remaining property the developor still has control of is under foreclosure action at this time. Like I said Monticello has other worries to deal with as their stock is trading around $.63 a share and is not trading on any major stock exchange.
Atlantic City Race Course Comes Alive - South Jersey thoroughbred fans do have a treat starting today. ACRC's six day race meet begins today and continues daily through Tuesday. So if you want to take part of their all turf meet, you have only a few days to attend. I know their signal is available to ADWs so if interested, you can look them up. I only mention it because it will be interesting to see their attendance during this one week racing festival.