Six bidding groups vying to run a lucrative casino at Aqueduct racetrack have wrapped up their face-to-face presentations with senior aides to New York Gov. David Paterson and legislative leaders.
Hard Rock International has added a potent new force - an entity run by billionaire Robert L. Johnson - to its team to try to win the exclusive rights to develop the long-stalled casino at Aqueduct racetrack.
They tapped various talking points -- from higher purses and a beefed-up breeding industry to protecting green space and even family values -- but a group of Thoroughbred representatives have brought a singular message to state officials: Get the Aqueduct video lottery terminal casino off the ground.
The end of a nasty legislative coup in New York has put the process back on track for selecting a developer for the long-stalled Aqueduct racetrack casino.
Jockeys at Belmont Park this week began testing padded crops designed to be gentler on horses, according to a press rlease issued by the New York Racing Association July 10. The goal is to fully implement the new equipment by the start of the six-week Saratoga meeting on July 29.
New York officials this week told bidders vying for the Aqueduct casino development rights to assume the contract will be awarded by Aug. 1, a questionable timetable given the chaos and leadership questions still swirling following a coup in the state Senate June 8.
MGM Mirage is back in the hunt to develop New York City's only legal casino with word emerging May 14 that it has joined forces with two other entities trying to win the bid for a sprawling new gambling facility at Aqueduct Racetrack.
- By Tom Precious
Trying one more time, the state of New York accepted seven new bids - from major casino operators to real estate and racing interests -- to develop a casino at Aqueduct racetrack, an authority first approved for the facility back in 2001.
New York's lottery director caused a bit of a stir this week when he suggested to state lawmakers that racetracks are a drag on the profitability of their racino operations - leading to less money going to the state's education budget.
West Point Thoroughbreds and partners' Mr. Fantasy, who was once under considering for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), made his case for a run in next month's Preakness Stakes (gr. I) by scoring a 1 3/4-length victory in the $150,000 Withers (gr. III) April 25 at Aqueduct.
Association of Racing Commissioners International president Ed Martin said April 23 a wagering system foul up April 22 poisoned wagering pools in five states affecting bettors across the country.
This Ones for Phil, Mr. Fantasy and Just a Coincidence - all on the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) trail earlier this season - top a field of seven 3-year-olds in the $150,000 Withers (gr. III) April 25 at Aqueduct. The $1 million Preakness Stakes (gr. I) is now the primary goal for each of them.
Mercedes Stables' Seattle Smooth, who took down eventual 3-year-old champion filly Proud Spell in the Fitz Dixon Cotillion Stakes (gr. II) last out, will return from a seven-month layoff and make her seasonal debut in the $150,000 Bed o' Roses Handicap (gr. II) at Aqueduct April 18.
On April 6, two days after Gato Go Win was scratched from the Bay Shore Stakes (gr.III) at Aqueduct because the horse's trainer, Jeff Mullins, was observed administrating an orally-injected substance to his horse in the detention barn, the New York State Racing and Wagering Board said the "matter is still in the hands" of the Aqueduct stewards.
Kodiak Kowboy scored the first grade I victory of his career and became a millionaire in dramatic fashion, rallying late to edge the front-running Fabulous Strike by a head in the $300,000 Carter Handicap April 4 at Aqueduct in New York. It was the eighth win in 17 career races for Kodiak Kowboy, who was Canada's champion 2-year-old male in 2007.
Despite missing the break, then being caught in traffic at the top of the lane, I Want Revenge split horses in mid-stretch and went on to win the $750,000 Wood Memorial (gr. I) in remarkable fashion April 4 at Aqueduct.
The beneficiary of a perfect stalking trip under Javier Castellano, Capt. Candyman Can edged clear approaching the sixteenth pole and went on to win the $200,000 Bay Shore Stakes (gr. III) by three lengths April 4 at Aqueduct.
Having a horse on the Kentucky Derby trail is something that most horsemen can only dream about. But for trainer Ian Wilkes and owners Joseph Rauch and David Zell, having fun is more important than dreams of Derby glory.
A field of eight accomplished sprinters, led by multiple graded stakes winner Tale of Ekati, Kodiak Kowboy, and Fabulous Strike, will line up in the starting gate in the $300,000 Carter Handicap (gr. I) April 4 at Aqueduct.
A field of eight was drawn for the 1 1/8-mile main track test, which is the final Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands prep for 3-year-olds in New York.
Chevalier Stable's Weathered repelled a bid from Winning Point in a determined stretch run to earn her first graded-stakes victory in the $100,000 Next Move (gr. III) March 28 at Aqueduct.
The state of New York should abandon efforts to find new bidders to develop a video lottery terminal casino at Aqueduct and instead tap the New York Racing Association to run the long-delayed facility, a leading state lawmaker believes.
The top three finishers from the Gotham Stakes (gr. III), headed by runaway winner I Want Revenge, are among the probable starters for the 85th running of the $750,000 Wood Memorial (gr. I) for 3-year-olds going 1 1/8 miles at Aqueduct on April 4.
Successful Sarah will face five rivals in the $100,000 Next Move (gr. III) for fillies and mares at nine furlongs at Aqueduct March 28.
One Smokin' Lady, who in her last start romped to a 5 1/2-length allowance victory at Philadelphia Park, will make the jump into graded stakes company in the $100,000 Cicada (gr. III), a six-furlong sprint for 3-year-old fillies March 14 at Aqueduct.
- By Tom Precious
As state officials in New York scrambled to re-group following the collapse of the Delaware North plan to build a casino at Aqueduct racetrack, at least one of the former bidding groups said it would be interested in making a new bid on the long-stalled project.
The long-stalled Aqueduct casino project will now be facing yet another delay, as the company that won the rights to develop the facility is telling the state it cannot meet a deadline to make its $370 million franchise fee payment.
Shipping in from California and making his first start on natural dirt, I Want Revenge put away Mr. Fantasy at the top of the stretch and scored by 8 1/2 convincing lengths in the $250,000 Gotham Stakes (gr. III) March 7 at Aqueduct.
Seeing that Wild Holly had lost her last three by a combined total of 54 1/2 lengths and that her jockey was a winless 10-pound apprentice, bettors sent the 8-year-old mare off as a 64-1 longshot in the fifth race at Aqueduct March 6.
Shadwell Stable's Lucky Island, who reeled off four consecutive victories in the first half of 2008 before faltering, looks to start his season on a winning note when taking on eight sprinters in the $100,000 Toboggan Handicap (gr. III) March 7 on Aqueduct's inner track.
On paper, the $250,000 Gotham Stakes (gr. III) has turned out to be one of the most intriguing and highly-anticipated prep races of the season, as a number of promising 3-year-olds will attempt to answer questions about their ability to go on to the $750,000 Wood Memorial (gr. I), and possibly the $2 million Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
Because of extremely high winds projected to gust up to 60 mph, the New York Racing Association has decided to cancel its scheduled live race card at Aqueduct Racetrack on Thursday, Feb. 12.
The company selected to operate video lottery terminals at Aqueduct said there are a host of unresolved issues, including restructuring its financing deal, before it can close on a final agreement with the state of New York to begin construction on the long-delayed facility.
A winner of three consecutive races, Haynesfield looks to further establish himself as one of the top New York-based 3-year-olds when he takes on a short field in the $100,000 Whirlaway Stakes Feb. 7 at Aqueduct.
A winter storm that has spanned half the country has led to cancellation of live racing and full-card simulcast programs at various tracks.
All-sources handle for all New York Racing Association tracks declined 2.1% in 2008, but purses grew 3.1%, it was reported Jan. 22.
Because of an ominous forecast for bitter Arctic cold, compounded by strong winds, the New York Racing Association has decided to cancel its scheduled live race card at Aqueduct Jan. 16. Beulah Park in Ohio also canceled its Jan. 16 program because of frigid temperatures.
Haynesfield picked up his third consecutive victory Jan. 3, warding off a stiff mid-stretch challenge from Mike From Queens and drawing off to a 3 1/2-length victory in the 34th running of the $69.700 Count Fleet Stakes for 3-year-olds at a mile and 70 yards on Aqueduct's fast inner dirt track.
- By Ryan Conley
TVG and the New York Racing Association have reached a two-year agreement on the distribution of NYRA signals, allowing Aqueduct programming to return to the horse racing network Jan. 3.
Gretchen and Roy Jackson have donated $200,000 to the Belmont Child Care Association, it was announced Dec. 23.
Fabulous Strike, coming off a front-running victory in the Fall Highweight Handicap, heads an 8-horse field in the $100,000 Gravesend Handicap (gr. III) Dec. 27 at Aqueduct.
New York Gov. David Paterson is proposing to permit a casino at Belmont racetrack, a move he believes will raise $370 million in a franchise fee payment to the deficit-ridden state.
West Virginia shipper Researcher puts his three-race win streak on the line Dec. 13 at Aqueduct, as the 4-year-old gelding faces his stiffest test yet while battling three graded stakes winners in the $100,000-added Queens County Handicap (gr. III), a 1 3/16-mile trek on the inner track.
The rejuvenated New York Racing Association has big plans for its new 25-year franchise, but president and chief executive officer Charles Hayward said Dec. 9 the organization has to plan wisely should revenue sources dry up.
The Race Track Chaplaincy's New York division has teamed up with Darley USA, a group of local breeders and owners, and a concerned group of Saratoga residents to bring some Christmas joy to approximately 100 people connected to the backstretch community at Saratoga Race Course.
The New York Racing Association will raise the purses on 13 grade I races offered at Aqueduct, Belmont and Saratoga in 2009. The hikes are part of the 2009 NYRA stakes schedule, which was approved by NYRA's Board of Directors at a meeting Dec. 3. It now awaits approval from the New York State Racing and Wagering Board.
Charles Fipke's Tale of Ekati finished a nose behind Stronach Stables' Harlem Rocker when the horses hit the wire in the Nov. 29 Hill 'n' Dale Cigar Mile (gr. I) at Aqueduct, but was placed first after stewards disqualified Harlem Rocker for interference in the stretch. Wanderin Boy was euthanized after fracturing the sesamoids in his left front leg.
Favored Old Fashioned made sure there wasn't a lot of suspense about the outcome of the $200,000 Remsen Stakes (gr. II) for 2-year-olds at Aqueduct Nov. 29. The son of Unbridled's Song grabbed the lead early and then romped to a 7 1/4-length victory in New York.
Charles Fipke's Tale of Ekati won the grade I Hill 'n' Dale Cigar Mile at Aqueduct Nov. 29 when Stronach Stables' Harlem Rocker, who crossed the wire first by a nose, was disqualified and placed second.
Joe Shields' homebred Any Limit makes her first start after not faring too well on the Keeneland Polytrack, one of nine fillies and mares running in the Top Flight Handicap (gr. II) Nov. 28 at Aqueduct.
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