A VISITOR AT THE BAR! I was sipping something cool in a pub in Del Mar, Calif., when a
visitor pulled up a stool nearby. He ordered a cold one and, while the bartender
was pouring, he turned to me and said as follows: "You live here?"
I told him no, but I made sure it took me a while to respond. I
didn’t want the intruder to think I was up for conversation.
It didn’t matter!
He continued: "Neither do I. But, I love to come here in the
summer. I always take in a few days at the fair. But, when it folds its tent
that’s always a good sign ”” the horses are about to return to Del Mar.
The climate ”” it’s always sunny ”” the friendly residents and the dit
. . . dots . . . dits make this an ideal summer retreat.
I inquired about the dit . . . dots . . . dits.
He told me it was his private term to describe horse racing. He
went on to explain that he learned the term from a sweet lady co-worker on a
weekly he worked for years ago in Philadelphia.
"We worked in a small office. The editor had antennae ears. To
try and throw him off we spoke in code. She knew I loved to go to the races and
when I left in the afternoon telling the editor I was on assignment she would
whisper to me on the way out the door, ”˜is it the dit . . . dots . . .
dits?’ There was no way she could say are you going to the races. The
grouchy editor would have objected."
I finished my drink, thanked the stranger for his company and
headed out the door. There was a little extra spring in my step as I thought
about the dit . . . dots . . . dits opening at Del Mar on July 24.
FLASHES! Mohegan Sun rolled out the red carpet last week to
celebrate the results of a $1 billion expansion, which included a new 1200-room,
luxury hotel. Celebs by the number came. There was a tribute to legislation that
formally recognized the Mohegan Tribe and restored the homeland to the Mohegan
people. Two music legends Ray Charles and Aretha Franklin -
appeared together for the first time in 30 years . . . Bet on it! When Nathan’s
holds its annual hot dog eating contest on July 4, betting will be permitted on
the Antigua-based Betwwwts.com web site. Who’s the fave?
Last year’s winner, Takeru Kobayashi. He wolfed down 50 hot dogs and
buns in 12 minutes. . . The Borgata, a $1 billion casino entertainment
resort in Atlantic City, celebrated its topping off. The countdown has now
started to its summer 2003 opening. Bill Boyd, chairman and chief
executive officer of Boyd Gaming (BYD), was among the celebrants.
"We are proud of the extraordinary efforts of our development team led by Bob
Boughner, chief executive officer of The Borgata," Boyd said . . . Riviera
Holding Corp. is the latest company tapping the junk bond market to
re-finance existing debt. CFO Duane Krohn: "We had a very difficult
time right after September 11, but we’ve had progressive increases in
visitation since then." He said Riviera had to cut room rates to attract
more reservations . . . Can Las Vegas support another high-end casino?
There have been five major casinos built in the last five years, with the number
of rooms increasing to 126,600 ”” a jump from 1997’s 105,300 tally. But one
analyst, Jacques Cornet, doesn’t see competition as a problem for Steve
Wynn’s new resort. "Wynn has a tremendous reputation and a strong
following among casino goers. Also, the visitor count was up to 35.02 million
last year from 30.5 million in 1997," Cornet said . . . Prairie Meadows
Racetrack and Casino will revive plans to construct a $20 million building
expansion after an Iowa Supreme Court decision that reduced the facility’s
gambling taxes . . . Three cheers for Attorney General Mike Wilson.
He let the Nevada Gaming Commission know that a study of 589 horse races showed
there could be up to a four-minute variance between the time when bettors were
prevented from placing a bet at the track and prevented from placing a bet in a
Nevada sports book . . . Won going away would be the comment to describe
the Nevada Gaming Commission’s unanimous approval to allow Native Alaskan
Indians to share in the gaming revenue of a yet-to-open Ritz Carlton hotel
at Lake Las Vegas. Under the agreement the group can accept gambling
profits from its Nevada investment, but payments will be withheld if gaming
regulators find even a single one of the 7,000 stockholders unsuitable. The
unsuitable person would be required to sell or transfer his interest to other
members before the money could be distributed . . . A touch of class!
Leave it to Mike Mecca. He is issuing membership cards to the exclusive Midnight
Oil. The cards offer preferred admission at Green Valley Ranch Station
to Whiskey Sky and Whiskey Beach as well as all Midnight Oil Co. locations
throughout the country . . . Before shuffling off to Del Mar, I had the
good wisdom to break bread at Fellini’s, the Italian bistro on West
Charleston Blvd. Their food is really good, but they’re also the only place I
know of that offers escarole and beans, a real old fashioned Italian dish and
one of my favorites.