It was, to say the least, an interesting week to launch the Paulick Report.
First, we had the opportunity to take a close look at the Breeders' Cup election for its board of members and trustees in a two-part series that looked first at the history of the organization's governance. The current battle for control — the old guard vs. the new guard — was the focus of the second part of that series. The Breeders' Cup election is now in full swing. A newly seated board of members and trustees will then be responsible for electing half of the 14-member board of directors, which has operational oversight of the Breeders' Cup program and its championship event. The vote for the board of directors takes place in Lexington July 11.
The Paulick Report promises to keep a close eye on the Breeders' Cup election process.
Then came the news uncovered here that Curlin might not be able to race in New York this year because of problems involving the owner's license of Shirley Cunningham, a jailed attorney who is part of the Midnight Cry Stable that owns 20% of the reigning North American Horse of the Year. Cunningham, along with two other attorneys involved in a class-action lawsuit settlement, has been charged with a crime but not convicted of anything. Shortly after PaulickReport.com exposed the problem with Cunningham's license, a mouthpiece for the New York State Racing and Wagering Board attempted to spike the issue through the Thoroughbred industry's trade press by saying there would be no problems with Curlin racing in New York. If that was the case, then, why was Midnight Cry Stable's Einstein not allowed to race in New York on Belmont Day in the Manhattan Handicap?
I can think of at least one person who was happy to keep Einstein out of New York: Dinny Phipps, the former boss of New York racing, whose family stable's Dancing Forever won the $400,000 Manhattan. Einstein defeated Dancing Forever earlier this year in Florida, where the owner's license was not an issue. It was not an issue in Kentucky, either, where Einstein ran second to Curlin in the Stephen Foster Handicap June 14. Even stranger: Curlin raced in New York last fall, winning the Jockey Club Gold Cup, one month after Cunningham's license had expired. By week's end, attorneys for Curlin's majority owner, Jess Jackson, said they are confident the issue will be resolved.
Mid-week brought our focus to Washington, D.C., for a preview of a Congressional hearing on Thoroughbred racing by the House of Representatives subcommittee on commerce, trade and consumer protection. The hearings came in the wake of a series of high-profile events that seemed to begin two years ago with the tragic breakdown of Barbaro, then continued in this year's Triple Crown with the death of Kentucky Derby runner-up Eight Belles.
The Paulick Report was the only racing publication to provide live-blogging of the hearing from Capitol Hill on Thursday, followed by an analysis of what could be a watershed day for the industry if Kentucky Rep. Ed Whitfield can push through legislation setting national guidelines on medication and other issues for the 38 state racing commissions to follow.
Finally, a glimmer of hope from an unexpected source. Emily Patton, an 18-year-old horse crazy girl, writes with passion about what attracted her to Thoroughbred racing at the tender age of 12. It was a wonderful reminder to us all about what is so appealing about this great game.
Stay tuned, the Paulick Report is just getting started.
By Ray Paulick
Copyright ©2008, The Paulick Report
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