JC / Railbird

Oak Tree

What It’s All About

1) Zenyatta running her record to a perfect 19 in the G1 Lady’s Secret Stakes. “Everything was a blur to me,” trainer John Shirreffs told Steve Andersen after the race. “Where’s the wire? You’re looking at her, looking at the wire. I can’t begin to describe it.” Much like the 2009 Clement Hirsch at Del Mar, the Lady’s Secret looked lost in the final yards. Until it wasn’t.

2) Goldikova winning her eleventh Group/Grade 1 race in the Prix de la Foret. Challenged by Paco Boy and Dick Turpin in the stretch, she gamely dominated going over soft ground. She’s now headed to the Breeders’ Cup, where she’ll attempt to win the Mile for an unprecedented third time.

We are living in a small ‘golden age’ — let’s call it a gilded age,” writes Steve Dennis. “We had Zarkava, Sea The Stars, Rachel Alexandra. We have Zenyatta and Goldikova. These are true champions, these horses who win again and again, beating the best around.” Let’s enjoy.

Loan Is Not a “Bailout”

Ugh. This Blood-Horse headline qualifies as a gross error:

Blood-Horse NYRA loan story headline

An Associated Press article has the slightly better headline, “Paterson: NYRA, Saratoga meet will be saved,” so readers aren’t told the proposed $17 million loan is a bailout … until the story’s first sentence. While not overlooking the good news that the state may come through with the money it’s obligated to provide NYRA (money it desperately needs) if the Aqueduct racino wasn’t in operation this spring, it’s hard to see the inaccurate characterization of the deal in the AP lede, and in at least one headline from a publication that should know better, as anything other than a public relations disaster. I look forward to the inevitable editorials and letters demanding to know why New York, with its seven weeks overdue budget, is “bailing out” the undeserving NYRA, when it’s merely fulfilling the promises of the franchise agreement made in 2008.

5/19/10 Update: Never mind? Matt Hegarty reports in DRF that the Governor’s comments “did not reflect any substantive progress” towards a legislative resolution to NYRA’s situation. “I think they’ll pass it,” said Paterson of the proposed loan plan on Tuesday, but a few legislators may balk.

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Meanwhile, in California …

A shame CHRB cut meeting webcasts in January; items #10 and #11 on the board’s Thursday meeting agenda (PDF) should be quite interesting. Magna (MI Developments) is scheduled to give an update on its future racing plans, which won’t include Santa Anita president Ron Charles. He’s resigned, effective Wednesday. A discussion of the voided Oak Tree lease (and potential impact on Oak Tree dates this fall) is to follow. Oak Tree had been talking with the Breeders’ Cup about hosting the event permanently; MI’s decision to pull the lease, affirmed only two weeks before, has complicated those negotiations. “Maybe this will derail BCup freight chugging into SA station,” tweeted Nick Kling. Maybe. Del Mar executives, who have offered the track to Oak Tree, are hoping it might renew the possibility of a Del Mar Breeders’ Cup.