Stronach may feel that the NTRA needs him more than he needs the NTRA. His tracks account for more than $1 million a year in NTRA dues, and Santa Anita and Gulfstream control the winter's most lucrative racing dates. Between them, Santa Anita and Gulfstream have hosted five Breeders' Cups. The only other warm-weather track that has been a Breeders' Cup host is Hollywood Park, where the races have been run three times. Hollywood Park is owned by Churchill Downs Inc., and there have been reports of growing friction between Stronach and Tom Meeker, the Churchill chief executive who is a strong supporter of the NTRA.
Instead of meeting today in Arcadia, the California Horse Racing Board's next meeting is scheduled for Nov. 8 in Sacramento. The postponement of today's meeting has infuriated John Harris, one of the state's leading breeders and someone who was rumored to be under consideration for a racing commission post. On Thursday, Harris sent out an e-mail asking that pressure be put on the governor.
"Perhaps," Harris' e-mail said, "it would be helpful if all of us sent letters or e-mails to Gov. Davis, letting him know that racing is a very important part of the California economy. . . . It is ridiculous that he can't get appointments made to achieve a quorum. My patience with Gray Davis is wearing pretty thin."
Winless Thursday, Laffit Pincay is still five away from the 9,000-win mark. . . . The long-range forecast is for 72-degree, partly cloudy weather for Breeders' Cup day at Churchill Downs on Nov. 4. The National Weather Service expects temperatures in the 60s and 70s in Louisville next week, with the chance of three rain days. . . . Arlington International, the suburban Chicago track, is calling itself Arlington Park again. . . . Garrett Gomez will ride Scorpion in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, after Gary Stevens opted to ride Point Given. . . . Four horses have pulled off the Kentucky Derby-Breeders' Cup Classic double, but none since Unbridled in 1990. Fusaichi Pegasus could become the fifth this year. The other three are Sunday Silence, Alysheba and Ferdinand. . . . The last Derby winner to run in the Classic as a 3-year-old was Go For Gin in 1994. He finished eighth.