JC / Railbird

Naughty New Yorker

Weekend Notes

New York Daily News racing columnist Vic Ziegel takes a buyout. “I’m gone,” said Ziegel, who was with the paper for 24 years. “It’s cool.” (New York Post)

DRF columnist Jay Hovdey joins the racing blogosphere, while Ed DeRosa of Thoro Times settles in at Big Event Blog. (Thanks for the shout-out, EJXD2.)

Rough weekend for stars.” Perhaps the most lacking in excuses for a flop was Music Note, who came off a seven-month layoff to finish a career-worst fifth going over her favorite surface in the Ogden Phipps. Will she improve next out? Or was the sub-par work of two weeks before, then her Saturday performance, indication that the filly isn’t the same as she was last year?

Commentator wins the Kashatreya Stakes, points to a third Whitney score. The most interesting thing about Friday’s race was that the 8-year-old ran a :23.48 final quarter (following a leisurely 1:12.17 three-quarters). The most disappointing was Naughty New Yorker, making his first start since the 2008 Suburban and obviously in need of a race, finishing a tired fourth.

Monday Notes

– Naughty New Yorker, unraced since finishing seventh in the 2008 Suburban Handicap (thanks to TrackMaster for that info), is on the comeback trail, says trainer Pat Kelly, and a start at Belmont before the end of the meet is possible. The 7-year-old NY-bred, who returned to the worktab on May 12, breezed four furlongs in :47.85 (2/25) over the Belmont training track on Sunday.

– Rachel Alexandra worked four furlongs in :50.20 over a sloppy track at Churchill this morning; Mine That Bird went the same distance in :51 with Calvin Borel in the saddle. The uncertainty over whether the Preakness winner will run in the Belmont and who Borel will ride continues with owner Jess Jackson telling reporters today a decision regarding Rachel Alexandra isn’t likely until next week and trainer Chip Woolley backing down from his Monday deadline, saying that he would wait a few more days to name a jockey for Mine That Bird. Will she or won’t she — there’s no shortage of speculation. My guess — she won’t, but that Jackson will take his time, drawing out the story, before making a definite announcement, which seems a cruel thing to do to the Mine That Bird camp … unless they’re fairly certain they’ll get their rider eventually. [Addendum: Claire Novak has the right take on today’s post-work non-story. “We were, essentially, there to report … nothing.”]

– At Monmouth on Saturday, at Belmont today for the Met Mile. Live blogging this afternoon a possibility, occasional on-scene Twitter updates more likely.