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Jan 08, 2015

AMERICAN TURF CLUB LEAD-JEROME

By: JOE GIRARDI


               For those NYRA Rewards members this last week was a frustrating one to say the least. NYRA Rewards which gives its rebates once a month, most of the time by the second of the month if not on the 3rd of the month didn’t give their rebates for December until January 6th. There are many ADW that give rebates on a daily basis, some on a weekly basis and those that give it on a monthly basis have it to their customers on the 1st of the month. I wrote an email to NYRA a few years back asking why they can’t post on their website when the rebates would be posted, a pretty simple request. Well a month later they started posting that, I would like to think that was because of my email but either way something that would help the under-appreciated horseplayer. Well that information is no longer on the website. When it came to the month of December rebates most figured they would be in by Friday January 2nd. It wasn’t, surely on the 3rd, Saturday, unfortunately it wasn’t. Well how could it not be in on the 4th, well you know where we are going here it wasn’t. Finally on Tuesday the 6th the rebates were finally put into the accounts. The most frustrating part of this, no it wasn’t waiting for the money to be placed in the account but not one word from NYRA as to why the money wasn’t in there. No explanation after the fact for why the customers had to wait an extra four days to see their rebates. Instead of putting out a press release on the 2nd of January stating that the rebates would be late this month and the reasons for this. NYRA does what it usually does, nothing, not showing any respect for the customers that come out there and play with them every day. Dealing with the cold weather, the ridiculous prices for food, the lack of customer service, but these people didn’t deserve an explanation. But I guess this was just part of the “customer experience” that we can all look forward too.

               Oaklawn which was supposed to get underway on Friday January 9th has cancelled their opening weekend due to freezing temperatures. The new opening day will now be Thursday, January 15th. This was coupled with Aqueduct cancelling on Wednesday and Thursday, January 6th and 7th due to extreme cold temps in the New York area. Makes you wish you could be at Gulfstream or Santa Anita for the winter. The only problem with Gulfstream Park, unless you betting on it, is that the purses are terrible. I know the weather is great but going there with a barnful of horses and trying to make a buck is not an easy task as the purses are very low. Was hoping to see a big improvement once the new year started but the increases were minimal.

               The first prep race of the New Year on the Road to the Kentucky Derby was run at Aqueduct on Saturday January 3rd. The Grade 3 Jerome is a race for three year olds, run over the inner track at one mile and 70 yards with a purse of $200,000. The favorite in the race was El Kabeir, a three year old by Scat Daddy trained by John Terranova and coming off a win in the Grade II Kentucky Jockey Club at Churchill Downs back in November. He was supposed to be ridden by Calvin Borel who rode him to victory at Churchill Downs but Borel had a death in his family and had to take off. Chuckie Lopez picked up the mount. Breaking from the outside post eight, El Kabeir bobbled a bit and was forced to stalk the pace from fourth while racing four wide into the first turn. The pace was set by second choice, Ostrolenka through fractions of 23:3, 48:2, 1:13:3 while being track by Nasa and El Kabeir. As they moved around the far turn and into the lane the leader began to tire but El Kabeir, despite being wide throughout was challenging Nasa for the lead. As they moved into midstretch, El Kabeir started to edge away from Nasa and went on to score by almost five lengths while being ridden out. Nasa held on for a clear second with General Bellamy closing to finish third. El Kabeir paid $4.90 as the favorite but showed that he could win without making the lead. Owned by Zayat Stables and trained by John Terranova, the plan is to try to make it to the Kentucky Derby through New York. The Withers on 2-7-15, the Gotham on 3-7-15 and the big one, the Wood Memorial on 4-4-15 are his options. El Kabeir earned 10 points towards entry into the Kentucky Derby with the 2nd, 3rd and 4th place finishers earning points of 4,2 and 1.



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