It has been a tough couple of months for the New York Racing Association, with CEO Charlie Hayward and legal counsel Patrick Kehoe getting canned after revelations that they may have known that horseplayers were getting overcharged on the takeout and did nothing about it until over $8 million had been pilfered from our pockets.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has its sights on revamping the NYRA and the Inspector General is conducting an investigation, with Cuomo stating bluntly “There’s been problems at NYRA that go back decades, literally.”
Last week Cuomo froze millions on dollars in subsidies from slots profits that were earmarked to subsidize racing in New York.
It has not been a good time for racing in New York, but the NYRA caught a huge break last Saturday with I’ll Have Another adding the Preakness Stakes (G1) to his Kentucky Derby (G1) victory.
The Doug O’Neill trainee has already arrived in New York and will seek to become the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978.
O’Neill has his own problems, having a fourth horse test positive in 2010 when a blood test on his horse Argenta showed elevated levels of TCO2, commonly referred on the backstretch as “milkshaking.”
He faces penalties ranging from a minimum 90-day suspension and a $5,000 fine to a maximum 180-day suspension and fine of $15,000.
He has had four such horses test positive for elevated levels of TCO2, and has had issues in four different states over the years.
Fellow trainer Rick Dutrow, who trained Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Big Brown in 2008, is appealing a 10-year suspension in New York for having 70 violations on more than a dozen states.
O”Neill has been candid in most interviews over the past three weeks regarding the drug issues.
He was quoted by several news sources a week before the Preakness saying ‘I swear on my kids’ eyes I never milkshaked a horse. We had some people in charge of California racing I think didn’t like a few of us that were doing well. Anyway, it’s all being heard by the courts and I’m very confident everything will be fine.”
With the media frenzy sure to follow for the third jewel of the Triple Crown, there certainly figures to be plenty of awkward moments coming up over the next three weeks.
The 2012 Preakness Stakes Won by I’ll Have Another
Mark Valeski “Doubtful” for Belmont
Trainer Larry Jones said that Mark Valeski, winner of the Peter Pan (G2) at Belmont Park on May 13 is now “doubtful” for the Belmont Stakes and may await the Dwyer (G2) on June 30.
Jones said his colt “got a little tired” after his Peter Pan race. “He’s acting like he’s a little knocked out,” Jones stated.
It still appears there will be 12 or 13 runners heading to the Big Apple for the Belmont Stakes, including Union Rags, Alpha and Dullahan, who skipped the Preakness to run in the Belmont.
Preakness Betting, Attendance Up
Wagering on the Preakness went from $53,385,941 last year with a 14-horse field to $55,935,707 for this year despite being just an eleven horse field, an increase in betting by 2.5%.
Pimlico announced an all-time record attendance figure of 121,309, eclipsing the previous high of 121,263 set in 2005.
After a couple of down years in the infield after the track prohibited patrons from carrying in their own cold beer, the $20 all you can drink mugs and the presence of popular music acts like Maroon 5 and Wiz Khalifa has the infield packed again.
Jockey Mario Gutierrez gave I’ll Have Another another flawless ride in the Preakness Stakes and has ridden the colt perfectly in each of the four trips he has been on board the colt.
If the colt gets beat in the Belmont Stakes, it won’t be jockey error.
The jockey will be making his first trip to New York, and has never ridden over the expansive racing surface at Belmont Park.
Look for Gutierrez to arrive in New York early and attempt to pick up a few mounts during the week leading up to the Belmont Stakes.
Not So Super Kent
Jockey Kent Desormeaux was taken off his three mounts on Friday after failing a breathalyzer test at Belmont Park.
The hall of fame jockey lost his mount in the Preakness, with Ramon Dominguez taking over on Tiger Walk, who checked in eighth.
In addition, Desormeaux lost his ride on Kentucky Derby third place finisher Dulahan, who will be ridden by Javier Castellano in the Belmont Stakes.
Michael Dempsey’s Belmont Stakes Day Report
Michael’s Report includes his selections, analysis, fair odds line, and wagering recommendations for the entire Belmont Stakes Day card.
The third jewel of the Triple Crown features an outstanding day of horse betting. The supporting stakes include the $500,000 Manhattan Handicap (G1), $200,000 Brooklyn Handicap (G2), and the $150,000 Jaipur.