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Mar 03, 2006



The weekend of March 4th-5th is one of the bigger weekends of for Triple Crown prep races and this is when the picture begins to start to come into focus. However, the news in New York for the New York Racing Association just continues to get worse.

Last week in the Daily Racing Form there was an article that stated that NYRA has recently begun enforcing an internal reporting rule that requires all customers who make cash deposits or buy vouchers in excess of $3,000 would have to provide identifying information to the mutuel personnel. This rule was put in place in order to track potential money launderers when what it will actually do is chase away potential large players, the ones who haven’t already fled NYRA for a better situation. NYRA officials said that the new reports are not filed with the internal revenue service but are instead kept on file in case these records are requested by federal authorities.

NYRA has also put in place a reporting procedure that requires mutuel clerks to alert supervisors if a customer makes multiple transactions in one day that either exceed a total of $10,000 or "look suspicious," according to Pat Mahony, NYRA’s vice president or pari-mutuel operations. According to Mahony, those reports would include a physical description of the bettor, but not necessarily the bettors’ name, social security number, or other identifying information. Apparently the $3,000 figure was advised to NYRA from outside council. There is no other betting outlet in New York that does this and it is sure to make players hesitate when going to the track, or at least betting at the track. The situation just continues to get worse and with this news, players that considered going out to the track to make bets with think twice about doing, thereby further decreasing attendance and handle. The state of NYRA right now is such a far cry from the heyday of not so long ago, you could go back 15 years earlier and these problems didn’t exist. The only ones that are hurt by these situations are the bettors and the fans, as usual they are the only ones that get hurt and there is nothing done to help them or pay them back, a rewards program that was proposed will probably never come to pass. The construction on the racino for the VLT’S is delayed again and will probably never get under way at least that is the way it seems. It comes down to one thing, NYRA whether they are completely at fault or not can never ever do anything right.

Another problem that has plagued New York racing fans over the past few years is the inconsistency of the stewards. This problem really came to the forefront in the third race on March 1st, 2006, at Aqueduct. In this race the 1-2 favorite who was bottled up for most of the race finally got clear in the lane and made a move to the inside, checking late and finishing second. The stewards put up an inquiry and there was a jockey’s objection, which is fine, I believe the stewards should take a look at some of these instances just to make sure. But after looking at the head-on replay of the race one time that should have been enough for the stewards. PRINCE OF PEACE who was on the lead and ridden by Norberto Arroyo Jr. drifted in just a touch, making it tough for a horse to get up the inside and beat him, a great ride and a totally legal move. However, DEVIL’S CONCIERGE who with jockey Eibar Coa tried to go through the hole, actually came out a little into PRINCE OF PEACE which forced him to check. It was a simple no call, there was no infraction, the result should have stood. Well the geniuses that run the steward stand in New York continued to look at it and in an amazing turn, not only looked at it for a long time but reversed the call, placing the 1-2 favorite first. This created an outrage, many disgruntled fans called the press box and complained and jockey Norberto Arroyo Jr. was extremely upset. He was quoted in the Daily Racing Form, "The same way there is an investigation of anything, about everybody, at the track, about trainers, jockeys, there should be an investigation of these guys," Arroyo said in a meeting he requested with reporters in the jockeys’ recreation room after the race. He went on to say "I never took away that horse’s path," Arroyo said. "My horse won very, very fair. This is not the only situation. There are many situations where the number should come down and it doesn’t. There are many situations where the number should stay up, like today, and it doesn’t stay up. I just think there should be an investigation of the stewards. This is not justice. This is not right."

As I have stated in these pages before the stewards are not held accountable, their decisions are made with no consequence, there is no way this horse should have been taken down. This may have been the worst take down I have seen in New York since they took down the wrong horse in the ALLUMEUSE incident 20 years ago at Saratoga. Let’s hope that things get better over the next few months, lets hope someone can help New York racing, lets hope they can get the fans back but all they are doing right now is pushing them further and further away.

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