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Sunday, September 25, 2011

International Report

With the Little Brown Jug having been raced and the Grand Circuit arriving at Lexington on September 29, now is as good a time as any to take a look at some international racing.  In particular, we will look at three heats of the Italian Trotting Derby which was held yesterday in Rome.  The Italian Trotting Derby's three eliminations heats were raced for 44,000 Euros ($59,356) and competed at a distance of 2100 meters (1.3 miles).  The final will be held next week.  In addition, in Holland we will look at the 4yo Championship.

The first heat was won by Obamaa Gar (SJ's Photo) in a kilometer rate of 1:13.1 (1:57)

The second heat was won by Oscar di Jesolo (Love You) in a 1:14.1 kilometer rate (1:58.3).

The third heat was won by Occhione Jet (Pine Chip) in a kilometer rate of 1:12.9  (1:56.3).

The final of the Italian Trotting Derby will be contested next week.

Meanwhile, in Holland, Aido Boko won the Championship of four year olds at Wolveva in Holland in a 1:14.3 km rate (1:58.4) for the 2100 meter race the race had a purse of  48,500 Euros ($65,416).

On the domestic front, Brian Callahan has had his head handed to him by the Delaware Racing Commission for running ineligible horses in Delaware owned races.  In addition to the $190K in purse money which needs to be refunded over the past three years of racing, Callahan has been suspended for two years and handed a $5,000 fine. 

Don't give up on New Jersey bred horses, yet.  A press release has come out indicating the full slate of NJ Sired stakes will be contested next year at the Meadowlands, including the NJSS where the finals in each division will be 175,000 each, the same as it was this year.  In addition, the racing secretaries at all three Gural operated tracks have promised there will be no conflict with the NJ stakes program.  Admittedly, this will work for the better NJ sired horses.  The typical New Jersey sired horses which will not be racing in these stakes races will find racing opportunities limited at the  Meadowlands as the Meadowlands will race two or three days a week.  Make no mistake as to the timing and purpose of this announcement; a week before the yearling sales being in Lexington and intended to keep the decline in Jersey bred horses to a minimum.

Monticello Being Threatened?  After having its plans to build an Indian Casino frustrated, Monticello is being threatened with its existence as Concord Associates is applying for a license by the NYSRWB and the NY lottery to operate a racino on the former property of the Concord, only five miles away from Monticello Raceway.  At one point, Empire Resorts was a partner in the new track and was considering moving Monticello to the Concord property.  While Empire Resorts has pulled out of this plan, the other parties are continuing to move forward.  Empire Resorts, has made it clear it will file an objection to the application as building a racetrack that close to Monticello would be a financial disaster leading to the raceway's shuttering.

Elsewhere, I read continuing criticism of Jeff Gural as not being a real horsemen and being a slots man.  Buying out his partner will allow him to concentrate more on the racing side.  However, let's say he built the tracks to have slot machines?  Who builds a racetrack these days without the promise of slots?  A fool, as no racetrack covers its own expenses operating just as a racetrack.  I've said it before and will say it again, that  Gural is not fighting against is racing, but the status quo; what is not working.  In a related matter, there should be bylaws in every horsemens' group a terms limit provision.  Whether their leadership is good or bad, it is important to get new views in the leadership of horsemen groups and more important, it keeps individual leaders from forming fiefdoms.  It happened in politics when a mayor sticks around too long, it can happen with horsemen groups.

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