A toast to Stronach: Good luck in Florida

Feb 27, 2001 7:11 AM

ONE FOR THE ROAD! Let’s sip a glass or two in wishing Frank Stronach well and in his latest plans to save horse racing. Stronach believes the Sport of Kings can survive. And he’s willing to put his money where his mouth is by spending upwards of $60 million to build a new Gulfstream Park.

I hear the present facility would come tumbling down (a la Las Vegas style) to be replaced with a new structure that would feature multi-entertainment with running horses.

Andy Beyer of the Washington Post, a guy who gets my top number when it comes to horse racing, had this to say:

"If he fails, he will fail because the world has changed and there is no possible way to bring back the old days of grandeur and glory."

More: "All racing fans would love to see him succeed, to see a day when Gulfstream is packed with young patrons sipping cappuccino by the paddock."

ON CELEBRATING ANOTHER BIRTHDAY! A new notch was added to my saddle Sunday when a pair-of-sixes came up. Family and friends put me on the front end for the occasion and let me rollick, pricking my ears. The GT staff made sure my favorite rum cake was on hand with only a few candles. Frankly, the cake was large enough to hold all 66, but — I guess — staffers didn’t know if my wind would be equal to the task. Between you and me, I was. But let it go at that.

What was so nice about the rum cake was that it came from my favorite bakery, Albina’s on Tropicana Avenue in the Wal-Mart plaza. No one does it better than Albina. She’s a New Yorker who — thank goodness — had the wisdom to bring her baking talents to Las Vegas. Down through the years she has made this Italian lad heavier, but happier.

To everyone who sent cards or called, I say thanks.

WHO’S ON FIRST? Abbott and Costello made us all laugh with their funny routine, "Who’s on First?" As GamingToday continues to chronicle the business of casinos, the question — not necessarily for fun — keeps coming up.

As casinos become more corporate, versus the good old days of entrepreneurs, there seems to be confusion. It’s not quite clear who should be the drum major. As far as I’m concerned (admitting my bias), the guy who knows the most about casinos should lead the parade. The only acceptable exception might be a non-casino drum major who is smart enough to surround himself with casino experts to help him lead the parade. In my opinion, when there are fewer customers to fade $200- and $300-a-night room rates, there will be gamblers wanting to come to the Mecca to take a shot. Perhaps now, more than ever, the taste for casino action is strong. And let’s face it, there’s only one Las Vegas.

WMS VIDEO GAMES — Hopes are high for three new video games approved last week for WMS Gaming Inc. by state gaming regulators. The games are the latest multi-coin, multi-line video slot games to be introduced by the Chicago-based vendor. Look for Cash Crop, I Wild Streak and Off the Charts to pop up soon at Arizona Charlie’s East and West, Bellagio, Excalibur, Harrah’s, Mandalay Bay and Sam’s Town.

I hear that Brian R. Gamache, president and COO, is wearing a smile the width of the Las Vegas Strip. WMS also installed its latest game, Money Grab, in the highly successful Monopoly-theme series. It’s the first of the series using WMS’s innovative dual-screen technology platform first made popular with Reel ‘em In Cast for Cash.