02/24/2010 12:00AM

NYRA may eliminate detention barn


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - In a pair of proposed cost-cutting measures, the New York Racing Association is considering eliminating the race-day security barn beginning with the spring meeting at Belmont Park as well as closing the Aqueduct stabling area once the current meet ends.

Some horses stabled at Aqueduct would be moved to Belmont, while others would have the option to stable at Saratoga. There are approximately 500 stalls at Aqueduct. Eliminating the race-day security barn at Belmont would open up about 100 stalls.

These proposals are expected to be brought up before NYRA's board of trustees at its monthly meeting scheduled for next Wednesday in Manhattan.

According to NYRA CEO and president Charles Hayward, the race-day security barn costs NYRA $1.2 million annually to run. It costs the horsemen approximately $1.5 to $2 million annually to staff it, according to trainer Rick Violette, president of the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association and a member of the NYRA board. Closing Aqueduct's stabling area should save NYRA $300,000 a month, Hayward said.

In addition to those costs, Hayward said that NYRA has seen a drop in out-of-town shippers from 1,400 in 2005 to 600 in 2009.

NYRA's financial state is such that - without revenue from video-lottery terminals and with being owed $15 million from bankrupt New York City Off-Track Betting - the company could run out of money sometime during the summer.

The race-day security barn was introduced at the 2005 Belmont spring/summer meeting. The primary premise of the barn was to "keep the private vet out of the stall on race day," Hayward said. Another component of the race-day security barn was to test for excess levels of total carbon dioxide, which are believed to be associated with the practice of milk-shaking. Since the inception of the race-day security barn, there have been two positives for high carbon dioxide levels, according to Hayward.

Hayward said that in lieu of the security-barn, NYRA would likely stipulate two to three races a day that would be subject to pre-race carbon dioxide testing, akin to what Keeneland does. Other testing measures would be considered as well.

Cool n Collective to try again

Provided a winter storm doesn't force the cancellation of Friday's card, the 13-year-old Cool n Collective will take another shot at presumably becoming the oldest horse to win a flat race on this circuit.

Cool n Collective is entered in the first race on Friday, a $10,000 claiming race going a mile. Cool n Collective finished second in a $7,500 claimer going 1 1/16 miles on Jan. 31 after setting the pace. That was his first race in two months.

"He had 60 days between starts; if that race had been a mile he could have held on," said Mike Repole, who owns Cool n Collective.

Repole added that trainer Bruce Brown said "this horse trains as good as anybody I have in the barn and he's 13."

Repole said that should Cool n Collective win, he would likely retire the gelding and send him to a retirement home, possibly the Bobby Frankel division of Old Friends at the Cabin Creek farm near Saratoga.

"If they want him, I'd definitely start talks in getting him a home up there," Repole said. "If he loses, he still might be retired."

Saratoga Lulaby, the horse that ran Cool n Collective down last time, is back in this spot. Nkosi Reign is dropping in class after finishing third for $12,500 last out.

Understatement heads Stymie field

Understatement, the dominant winner of the Evening Attire Stakes on Jan. 16, heads a field of five entered for Saturday's $65,000 Stymie Stakes at 1 1/8 miles. The Stymie will go as race 4 on a 10-race card and will not be part of the pick-four wager, which will have a $250,000 guarantee.

Understatement is 3 for 3 on the inner track, and he earned a 115 Beyer Speed Figure in the Evening Attire.

None of the other four runners has won a stakes. They are Reflect Times, who finished fourth in the Gallant Fox last out; More Than a Reason, who won an optional claimer here Feb. 7; Senior Pride, who won a second-level allowance Jan. 22; and National Pride, who stumbled and lost his rider in an optional claimer Feb. 7.

Life at Ten, Tidal Dance eye Ladies

Life at Ten, who dominated last Saturday's Rare Treat Stakes, will likely make her next start in the $100,000 Ladies Stakes here March 27, said Jonathan Thomas, assistant to trainer Todd Pletcher.

Life at Ten cruised to a front-running 5 1/4-length victory in the Rare Treat, running 1 1/16 miles in 1:50.09 and earning a 98 Beyer. That was her first start in two months.

"She came out of it great," said Thomas. "There are legitimate reasons to think she should improve off that effort from a fitness standpoint."

Life at Ten will likely face Tidal Dance, who won the Affectionately in January but passed on the Rare Treat. Trainer Mike Hushion said he backed off of Tidal Dance after her big win in the Rare Treat and wanted to give her more time between races.

"I didn't want to beat her up training her too much in February, which worked out to be a good thing," Hushion said.