OK, I'm in a complaining sort of mood, so you've been warned.
What's up with the Saratogian? Do they have any pride as a newspaper? Do they get CNN over at 20 Lake Ave? Wednesday's top headline in the Times Union, and virtually every other Daily in the nation, was "Gerald Ford dies at 93". Wednesday's top headline in the Saratogian? "Returns to the Trenches", and the article starts into an enthralling story about some guy returning a flying saucer toy (a Christmas present) to some store at the Wilton Mall. What time do they go to print for the next day's edition, noon? In Thursday's edition, the Saratogian desperately plays catch-up, and has two articles about Ford and a timeline of his life all over the front page. Pathetic.
Speaking of pathetic, it appears that Capital Play Racing, the Australian Consortium that was disqualified for failure to meet an August deadline to post a bond. Now the spokesman of the group claims that they were "disqualified on a technicality" and will take its case directly to the Legislature.
Here's my view: (1) These guys don't stand a chance unless (on the off chance) they join up with one of the three groups still in play (NYRA, Empire Racing or Excelsior Racing). (2) They appear to be mostly outsiders (The Australian thing gave that away), which may have limited appeal in a perfect world, but this is New York so they need a dose of reality. (3) They didn't follow the rules, and calling it a "technicality" won't negate that fact. (4) and finally, while some of their claimed ideas are good, they certainly aren't exclusively available to them. And they already are coming in as aloof or arrogant by stating that making racing a social event that appeals to younger demographics is the "Australian" model. Uhhh, guys, as the AP article on this story notes, that sounds like "Saratoga" to us, so you might want to use the more geographically proximate example.
As far as calling their missed deadline a technicality, I will post below the section of the Racing and Wagering Law, which I found on the latest entry on the "Left at the Gate" blog.
The recommendation, by statute, requires the committee to "report its findings to the legislature, the governor and the racing and wagering board with recommendations for such actions as it deems necessary to implement its determinations regarding the corporation or corporations, association or associations to which such grants of authority and/or franchises should be made or granted, the legislation which should be enacted governing such grants of authority or franchises, and the responsibilities related thereto which should be assigned to the racing and wagering board and to such other state agencies or officers as it deems appropriate." See, N.Y. Rac. Pari-Mut. Wag. & Breed. L. §208.f.
OK folks this one is going to be a long, long story and it obviously affects Saratoga tremendously so I'll be commenting from time to time. Take care.