I want to start things off by saying being at Belmont Park for American Pharoah winning the Triple Crown was an incredible experience. It sent chills down my spine listening to 90,000 all screaming for the same thing and getting what they asked for. This horse is a fantastic animal and his performance proved it.
The weekend was fabulous. The weather turned amazing. The friends who we caught up with and the new ones we made were wonderful. Thank you to all at NYRA for making the day so wonderful. Getting in and out of Belmont Park was a breeze (at least for us) compared to last year.
My father taught me one lesson in life, if given the choice between showing up and staying home, always show up. They may not notice if you were there, but they will certainly take notice of your absence. This was entirely true with respect to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. His absence, especially when the Governor of Kentucky and Maryland were there, as was former President Bill Clinton continues to highlight a disregard for the sport of kings that is palatable.
I understand there was a prison break at Dannemora State Correctional Facility in Upstate NY. I understand that Batman, er. Andy decided to climb into the pathway for the media. The last time I checked, the Governor was not a law enforcement officer. He was not a forensic scientist. He was not trained to catch these “extremely dangerous” individuals. Yet there he was . . .sport coat off, marching through the tunnel for no purpose other than to mug before the cameras. He wasn’t a crime fighter extraordinaire who was going to single handedly capture these two convicts. The media ate it up, but nonetheless it was a farce.
Oh yes, this was at 10:00 AM, the race was not until 6:45. Even sitting in the back of a car he could have made it to Long Island in time. However, Governor Cuomo turned his back once again on an industry that brings $5 Billion that’s with a B, worth of revenue to this state, touching all 62 counties and providing countless jobs from Queens to Canandaigua. For those of us who derive income from horse racing, whether it be the track management, the grooms, the trainers, the feed guys, the hay producers, the owners, trainers or jockeys we now understand one thing; Governor Cuomo is not our friend, he is not our ally.
President Clinton, on the other hand, came to Belmont from one of the most solemn events possible. That was the funeral for a son of a dear friend. To go from the solemnness of the funeral for Beau Biden, not only the Vice President’s son but an admirable politician in his own right to Belmont Park was impressive. But, President Clinton understood the message about being there; he was in the boxes, he interacted with the fans and the staff. These things that he should have taught to his Secretary of HUD, or if he did were not learned by Governor Cuomo. President Clinton then and now understand that it’s all about the economy and horse racing and its ancillary business interests are about the economy.
Governor, I hope these individuals are caught. I know that evidence technicians, of which you are not, and law enforcement officers, of which you are not, are working diligently to find these men. I believe in their abilities to track them down and return them to jail. Do I believe it is the Governor’s place to deliver their post it note back to them as you said this morning with such bravado . .. nope not your job. You have an obligation to serve the people and ensure that economically we survive. Had you chosen, you could have shown up. You could have stood there with the governors of Kentucky and Maryland representing the three states where the triple crown races take place and you oould have ended the day that started in tragedy with a moment of ecstasy. If you didn’t learn from President Clinton about the importance of showing up while you were in his cabinen, maybe it’s time to learn while he is a citizen of your state.