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Horsemen leery of Santa Anita oval

Oct 7, 2003 8:25 AM

IS SURFACE CAUSING B.C. EXODUS? "Man, have you taken a look at the racing surface at Santa Anita lately?" asked our racing tout pipe. "It’s very dark, like they poured oil on it, or something. And don’t think the surface isn’t affecting the way the runners are performing," he added.

Our pipe’s comments take on greater importance in light of the barrage of defections among the country’s best horses that were expected to compete for the gold and glory offered in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. But, as reported by our West Coast racing correspondent Ed Golden, the potential starters are falling by the wayside.

Continued our pipe, "Southern California tracks are historically considered speed-favoring tracks, but that ain’t the case right now at Santa Anita. The inside is dead and the jocks know it. So, if you check out the racing comments in the (Daily Racing) Form, you’ll read things like four wide into the stretch, five wide”¦six wide.

"That’s not the Santa Anita of old, and who knows just how that is affecting the owners and trainers of the Breeders’ Cup nominees," he said.


LAS VEGAS GOES HOLLYWOOD! The Golden Age of Hollywood had the fabled Warner Brothers and Paramount movie studios. Is Las Vegas’ answer Insomnia Entertainment?

The new film and TV production company was just formed by four of Las Vegas’ hottest entrepreneurs: Lorenzo Fertitta, president of Station Casinos, Tim Poster and Tom Breitling, the Travelscape founders who are now purchasing the Golden Nugget casinos, and Trent Othick, formerly director of development for L.A.-based Paradise Music and Entertainment Co.

The new company already has several films in the hopper. The first is Standing Still, which tells the story about a gambler who seeks the perfect casino scam to pay for the care of his mentally ill son.

With all the recent interest in filming shows and movies in Las Vegas, Insomnia should have plenty of work to keep the crews up all night.


NO CORPSE FOR THIS FUNERAL! The New Orleans streets were lined with mourners and the brass band played its sorrowful notes in the funeral procession conducted last week for the hopeful demise of the plans to place slot machines at the Fair Grounds racetrack.

It was all for naught, but the tourists and residents that lined Harding Drive during the mock funeral procession loved it. They even joined in as the Faubourg St. John Association marched along to the Bayou St. John waterway, where they tossed a faux slot machine into the water.

"Vote No for Slots" read the signs of the protesting marchers as the band played A Closer Walk With Thee. The protesters bowed and tipped their signs as the sidewalk crowd cheered them on.

Maybe they should have waited since the slot proposal easily passed over the weekend. Then they could have shed more tears during the march.


”˜WE’LL SOON HAVE A BARREL OF MONEY’ but no one knows yet where it will go and how it will be spent.

The money will come from the Seneca Tribe’s Niagara Falls Casino because of a gaming compact provision that requires the casino to pay the state 18% (rising to 25%) of its slot machine revenue. Of that amount, 25% will be shared with localities, but that’s where everything becomes fuzzy.

To begin with, the five-member commission that will decide just how the local-level money is allocated hasn’t yet been appointed. The appointees are expected to be local politicians, including the Niagara Falls mayor, who hasn’t yet been elected.

It has been estimated that the first installment from the casino revenues will amount to between $8 million and $10 million. The funds could be used for anything from plugging holes in the general fund (to help sitting politicians and city workers) to underwriting economic development projects.

With all that money soon to be available, it seems strange that everything seems to be moving in slow motion.