Thursday, April 29, 2010

kentucky derby dead ahead saturday, may 1,2010. pick your favorites

Below are all of the Kentucky Derby 2010 post positions (jockeys in parentheses).

1. Lookin At Lucky (Garrett Gomez)
2. Ice Box (Jose Lezcano)
3. Noble's Promise (Willie Martinez)
4. Super Saver (Calvin Borel)
5. Line of David (Rafael Bejarano)
6. Stately Victor (Alan Garcia)
7. American Lion (David Flores)
8. Dean's Kitten (Robby Albarado)
9. Make Music for Me (Joel Rosario)
10. Paddy O'Prado (Kent Desormeaux)
11. Devil May Care (John Velazquez)
12. Conveyance (Martin Garcia)
13. Jackson Bend (Mike Smith)
14. Mission Impazible (Rajiv Maragh)
15. Discreetly Mine (Javier Castellano)
16. Awesome Act (Julien Leparoux)
17. Dublin (Terry Thompson)
18. Backtalk (Miguel Mena)
19. Homeboykris (Ramon Dominguez)
20. Sidney's Candy (Joe Talamo)

Friday, April 16, 2010

An anxious start for the 2010 Racing Season.

Horses settling into summer homes at Oklahoma track
Thursday, April 15, 2010
By Tatiana Zarnowski (Contact)
Gazette Reporter

Photographer: Marc Schultz

Outriders Dave Ravinski and Stephanie Markert unload horses Thursday at the Oklahoma Training Track.Text Size: A | A | A
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Wishingonadream couldn’t seem to stop chewing on the stall door next to him after he got settled at the Oklahoma Training Track.

After spending several hours riding in a big horse trailer from Belmont Park, the horse and his stablemates were antsy.

Today, they’ll get their first workout on the Oklahoma track as it opens for the training season, which runs through November.

Under clear skies on Thursday, eight horses arrived, workers prepared stalls and put up stable colors and the first backstretch dog rested in the shade.

Seven of the thoroughbreds were trainer Glenn Disanto’s horses at Barn 68. Disanto is typically among the first trainers to move here for spring training.

“This is where I live,” said Disanto, who has a farm in Greenwich. “It’s tough living down in New York, and it’s also very expensive. I’d rather be here.”

His horses, particularly the two 2-year-olds that are new to life at the track, also prefer laid-back Saratoga to the busier Belmont.

“It’s nice that it’s not crowded,” he said.

But even on the peaceful, sunny backstretch, there were signs that things aren’t what they used to be.

Disanto expects to have 10 horses here this year during the training season’s height — down from about 15 last year — and he said other trainers are in the same boat.

“Almost everybody has less,” he said. “The industry’s in a tough way right now, real tough.”

Tough times for racing
Some breeders have moved out of state, and others have cut back on their number of brood mares and, as a result, on their number of foals.

Those in the industry say the combination of the insolvency of New York City Off-Track Betting, the lack of video lottery terminals at Aqueduct Race Track despite two attempts to name a bidder and lucrative offers from neighboring states will mean a decline in the quality of New York racing.

“The horizon isn’t as bright for New York-breds,” said Bob Giordano, who is involved with ThoroFan, the Thoroughbred Racing Fan Association.

Giordano noted that things may seem fine once the Saratoga racing meet starts July 23.

“We have to be concerned about after August,” he said.

ThoroFan has 350 local members and is trying to triple its membership this year.

The group is co-hosting a rally to urge state lawmakers to choose a VLT provider for Aqueduct. The rally will take place at the track from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. April 25 in front of the ticket booth area on Union Avenue.

Because New York City OTB has not been paying the New York Racing Association money it is owed, purses have been smaller for horsemen.

There’s less money to go around, and individual trainers are working hard to get what is there.

“You want to try to get a piece of it every time you go out,” Disanto said.

Slower out of the gate
The training season is getting a slow start — last year, about 60 horses worked out on the first day, compared to fewer than 10 this year.

But that’s partially because work is still taking place at Horse Haven, where stables are closed for another couple of weeks.

New concrete wash pads and storm sewers have been installed all over the stable area to comply with federal stormwater regulations.

“This whole project is monumental,” said Peter Goulet, facility manager for Saratoga Race Course.

Workers are preparing to lay 1,000 yards of asphalt in the next week, Goulet said.

By May 1, about 150 horses will be stabled at the Oklahoma track, said NYRA spokesman Dan Silver. That figure will jump to 800 by mid-June, the same as in past years.

The track has 1,800 stalls and fills every last one of them during the 40-day racing meet.

NYRA officials said they did not want to speculate on how many stall requests they will get for the meet this year. Typically, trainers request stalls for many more than 1,800 horses.

Trainers pay $10 a day per stall for rent during the training season, Disanto said.

Kelley and Glenn Maydan of Wilton, who own one racehorse and care for him themselves without employees, also brought their horse back to Saratoga on Thursday.

Goodandacceptable will race at Belmont Park on May 5, but trainer Glenn Maydan was eager to get the 4-year-old back to Saratoga as early as possible after training him in Belmont since February.

“This is home,” Glenn said. “We live up here, and he loves it up here.”

Within the first half-hour, Goodandacceptable’s special purple rubber ball — in the stable’s colors — was by his door.

“He plays with it, bites it when he gets mad,” Kelley explained.

She said she’s confident that despite the difficulties in the state racing industry, racing will prevail.

“I think it’ll just all work itself out and things will get better,” she said. “This is just such a great institution, and it’s been around for so long.”


Friday, April 09, 2010

Racetrack and Victoria Pool in jeopardy but "Jersey Shore" and Bo Derek a sure bet.

Feds: Risk millions if state parks close
State move to shut facilities draws warning from National Parks Service

By JIMMY VIELKIND, Capitol bureau
Click byline for more stories by writer.
First published: Friday, April 9, 2010

ALBANY -- Federal officials are threatening to withhold millions of dollars in funding to the state if the Paterson administration pushes forward with its plan to close parks around the state.
In a letter dated March 31, National Parks Service Northeast Regional Director Dennis Reidenbach wrote that the move would put New York in "non-compliance" with the requirements for taking funding from the Land and Water Conservation Fund and Federal Land for Parks Program.

"Also, NPS may initiate suspension and debarment procedures to have all Federal funds (e.g. Recreation, Housing, Transportation, Education etc.) withheld from the State of New York," Reidenbach wrote. "In addition, closure of any park acquired through FLP could result in reversion of the property to Federal ownership and subsequent sale of the property."

Gov. David Paterson proposed the closure of 41 parks and 14 historic sites -- the majority of which, Reidenbach wrote, have received federal funds. The cuts are slated to save $6.3 million.

Eileen Larrabee, a spokeswoman for the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, said they don't believe the proposed closures put the state in violation.

"We are as committed to these parks and these public spaces as anybody else. We are dealing with the current fiscal crisis, and we simply do not have the funding to open all of these parks right now," she said. "Ultimately we believe that these closures are temporary and not permanent, and we're not converting the land. We would assert that the funding is not jeopardized."

New York received $1.4 million from the LWCF last year, and is slated to receive just under $1.9 million this year. Larrabee said that has been "diminished" from around $20 million a year, which has made it difficult to keep up with needed maintenance.

OPRHP Commissioner Carol Ash did not raise the federal threat during a Thursday meeting of the state Senate Committee on Cultural Affairs, Tourism, Parks and Recreation. She told the committee that if the new state budget is delayed beyond early May, it could threaten state plans to open 34 parks that now depend on added funding from the state Environmental Protection Fund under Paterson's proposed budget.

Parks officials are currently hiring seasonal workers for the parks.

Capital Region parks on the list include Grafton Lakes State Park, Cherry Plain State Park, and Fort Crailo State Historic Site, all in Rensselaer County; Minekill State Park in Schoharie County; and Peebles Island State Park in Saratoga County. Also, the Victoria Pool in Saratoga Spa State Park would be closed.

Parks Service spokesman Phil Sheridan said the law was clear that lands needed to stay open for public recreation "in perpetuity," and the principle was important.

"Our only recourse is that there is a significant penalty if you fail to live up to that pledge," Sheridan said. "It is very tough budgetarily. However, the fact remains that people accept these and accept certain responsibilities. As private citizens, if we accept money for certain things it would annul the contract if we did things with it that we didn't say we were going to do."

He said Reidenbach's letter was prompted by U.S. Rep. Maurice Hinchey, D-Ulster County, who questioned Parks Service officials about the LWCF provisions and requested they communicate their position to the Paterson administration.

The letter, which Hinchey posted on Facebook earlier this week, was the result.

"The public has no less need for recreation opportunities and access to open space in times of economic hardship," Reidenbach concluded. "If anything, the need for recreational opportunities is greater now, not only due to leaner economic times but also because of the increasing personal, community, and environmental health issues associated with more sedentary lifestyles and lack of contact with the nature."

Brian Nearing contributed to this report. Jimmy Vielkind can be reached at 454-5081 or

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The Jersey Shore comes to Saratoga
April 8, 2010 at 10:10 am by Christen Gowan

Ronnie from the Jersey Shore.

Watch out, ladies! Ronnie from MTV’s Jersey Shore will be in town and on the prowl Saturday night to reopen Mare Discoteca.

The club, which will have some sort of cover, will be hosting Girls Gone Wild next Friday night (April 16). Originally opened as an Italian fish restaurant years ago by David Zecchini, Mare will strictly be a night club now.

The club, located next to 9 Maple at 19 Maple Ave., opens at 8 p.m. Saturday and will be open on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. So, bust out the hair gel and wifebeaters and get ready to party Jersey-style.

The show, set in the boardwalk community of Seaside Heights, concerns the lives, loves and barroom antics of eight young Italian-Americans who self-identify as “guidos” and “guidettes.”

As you might remember, an Albany City Council member took aim at the “Jersey Shore” cast several months ago, saying the show showed Italian-Americans as “ignorant, violent, self-centered and lewd.”

There’s no official word from the Saratoga Springs City Council on how they stand on Ronnie and his fellow cast mates.

Posted in General, Nightlife | 38 Comments

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The Sheikh and Bo Derek in Saratoga this summer
April 8, 2010 at 3:41 pm by Christen Gowan

Sheikh Mohammed checks out the art on the second floor of the Fasig-Tipton sales pavilion. Not only did he spend millions on yearlings, he also spent thousands on art that night. (Skip Dickstein/Times Union)

What do the Sheikh and Bo Derek have in common? They’ll both be honored this summer at Canfield Casino for their work to end horse slaugter, according to the Saratogian.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai, and Bo Derek have been invited to Saratoga this summer for the annual Equine Advocates Dinner at Canfield Casino. As some of you may remember, the sheikh rolled into town and dropped tens of millions of dollars at the annual Fasig-Tipton sale. He’s a one-man force of economic development.

Bo Derek sits on the California Horse Racing Board and has worked tirelessly to end horse slaughter. Click here to learn more about Equine Advocates.

Traditionally, the annual gala is held at Stonebridge Farm in Schuylerville, but (as Dennis reported here), owner Jeffrey Tucker lost $7.5 billion in the Bernie Madoff ponzi scheme.

Posted in At the track, Celeb sightings, General | 1 Comment

Saturday, April 03, 2010

fears about racing cont'd with Oklahoma due to open 4/15/10.

The N.Y. way: Do nothing

First published: Friday, April 2, 2010

There was Albany Mayor Jerry Jennings, up in Saratoga Springs to join the crowd making the case for some financial help for New York's endangered horse racing industry. As for what he said, let's qualify it -- and hope he similarly hedges his bets whenever he goes to the track.
"It is one of the most successful industries in the state and should be made a priority," Mr. Jennings said of racing.

He might have said that, but in the reverse order. He might have played that exacta the other way, in essence.

Racing is certainly critical to the economy in Saratoga Springs and throughout the region. Imagine trying to replace the lost jobs and fill all the restaurant tables and hotel rooms that would be empty if Saratoga Race Course went dark. Yet the racing industry can't sustain itself, and can't provide the benefits it does, without help from the state.

That's why Mr. Jennings was one of the people on Monday urging the appropriate action to bring video slot machines, finally, to Aqueduct Race Track. Further inaction threatens what is, indeed, a vibrant industry -- once those necessary subsidies are factored in.

The New York Racing Association, which operates Saratoga, Aqueduct and Belmont Park, has been waiting nine years for its share of the anticipated $300 million a year that a casino at Aqueduct would bring. That's not so unlike all the people who bet, and lost, on the infamous Zippy Chippy, the horse that retired after never winning in more than 100 tries. A similarly sluggish pace prevails in Albany, where what would should be a rather routine matter of awarding a casino contract seems beyond all collective capabilities.

Oh, there's wariness about how the Aqueduct Entertainment Group came so close to getting the casino contract earlier this year. New Yorkers deserve an answer to that vexing question, of course. But they're just as entitled to a state government that can find a qualified operator for an enterprise that's more critical than ever. By one estimate, reiterated by Joanne Yepsen of the Saratoga County Board of Supervisors, more than 35,000 racing-related jobs are at stake here.

NYRA's plight, meanwhile, is exacerbated by the bankruptcy filing by the New York City Off-Track Betting Corp., which owes NYRA $15 million. That money won't be there unless an OTB reorganization plan is approved by, yes, the state Legislature. The dismal straits at OTB add to the fearful speculation that the Saratoga meet could be in jeopardy.

To think that such summer splendor could be spoiled by legislative ineptitude.

Only in New York.

The issue:

Failure to produce any revenue from an Aqueduct casino puts racing at Saratoga in a bind.

The Stakes:

The threat extends to some key sectors of the region's economy.

To comment:, or at

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Friday, April 02, 2010

Fees going up at Spa State Park. Make sure you go to the bathroom before going to Thacher Park.

Grafton, Moreau, Spa fees to rise
Capital Region's most popular state parks to cost more to use this summer under budget plan

Staff reports
Last updated: 7:49 a.m., Friday, April 2, 2010

ALBANY - Use fees will be going up at Grafton, Saratoga Spa and Moreau Lake state parks as part of plans to cover $4 million in proposed budget cuts at the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.
The added fees are part of Gov. David Paterson's proposed 2009-10 budget, and will not avert the proposed closing and hours cutbacks at parks and historic sites this season, said Eileen Larrabee, a parks spokeswoman.

Parking fees at 27 "flagship" parks would rise from $6 or $7 a vehicle to $8 a vehicle, according to a parks office statement issued Thursday. Parks with ocean beaches would see parking fees increase from $8 to $10.

Also, fees would be increased at state golf courses, although not at Saratoga Spa State Park, where the course is run by a private concessionaire, Larabee said.

Also, out-of-state visitors will be paying more to camp than New Yorkers for first time across the board. A surcharge of $5 per night on campsites and $25 per week on cottage and cabin rentals will be added for out-of-state visitors.

The surcharges have only been levied in the past at certain high-demand parks, Larrabee said.

In addition, a mandatory vehicle entrance fee for the Walkway Over the Hudson parking lot in Poughkeepsie will be established later. Voluntary donation boxes will also be placed at the Walkway.

The Empire Passport for unlimited day-use park visits is unchanged at $65 a season.

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Park-goers should go, before going to Thacher

RYAN MUNKS 04/01/10
In what is expected to be the warmest weekend of the year as of yet, park-goers may want to take into account that bathroom facilities will not be available before heading to Thacher Park.

On Thursday, April 1, Anni Murray, one of the organizers of the grassroots movement to keep the park opened informed The Spotlight that staff at the park have locked the bathroom facilities.

Eileen Larrabee, director of communications for the Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historical Preservation confirmed that the bathroom facilities have been closed as a cost saving measure in light of the budget crisis.

“Today we start a new fiscal year and we do not have funding to continue the operation of facilities the way we have been,” said Larrabee. “State Parks, like every other agency, is reducing operating costs.”

She said in addition to providing restrooms, a number of the departments operations will be cut back on due to the budget cuts, including grass mowing, and the maintenance of trails and pavilions.

“It seems to me to be jumping the gun,” said Assemblyman John McEneny D-Albany. He referred to the move as “heavy handed” and likened it to previous reports of parks’ canceling camping reservations based on the governor’s budget, as opposed to the enacted budget, which has yet to be voted on.

“It’s really putting pressure on the local public, and the local taxpayer,” said McEneny. “Canceling reservations in parks before they have a budget, that’s heavy handed. Closing bathrooms is heavy handed.”

McEneny also noted that both the Senate and Assembly versions of the budget include full restorations of funding to the Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historical Preservation.

Although both the Assembly and Senate versions of the budget including funding for parks, Larrabee said that as of now decision are made based on the executive budget.

“We have no budget in place that keeps the park open,” said Larrabee. “We understand people are going to be disappointed but we have to accept the economic reality.”

McEneny said he believes the decision to close the parks did not come from the Parks Department, but instead from the governor. “I don’t blame it on parks [department]. I think this is coming from the governor. The old adage is ‘this is coming from the second floor.”

McEneny said the governor is trying to exert pressure on the legislature to make cuts or raise taxes. “I think this kind of pressure is counterproductive,” he said.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Beware, things already happening to close thacher State Park.

ATTENTION EVERYONE: John Kilroy, Friends of Thacher and Thompson's Lake State Parks President: I was at the park today and was told by the staff that as of tomorrow (Apr. 1) the Office of Parks has ordered that the bathrooms at the park be locked. This is because they are treating the governor's proposal as gospel and since there's no budget yet, they have "no choice."
Shane, you're right! Please don't use Thacher as a bathroom if you can avoid it. Write letters! Call! Complain! Please! NY State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation:
Empire State Plaza
Agency Building 1
Albany NY, 12238
(518) 474-0456... See More
(518) 486-1899 TDD