Troy 'Letting it Ride' on Belmont Stakes
By Scott Salad
Published May 29th, 2016
Photo by Maryland GovPics
TROY— The City of Troy, which made news last week when it gambled several hundred dollars in taxpayer revenue on Exaggerator to win the Preakness Stakes, says it will be “doubling down” on the Belmont.
“We're letting it ride, baby!” Troy Mayor Patrick Madden told a crowd of flatulent old men at the OTB in Lansingburgh. “Belmont Park here we come.”
Facing a possible budget deficit of $1.25 million, Madden decided on a whim to bet on the Keith Desormeaux-trained colt in the second leg of the Triple Crown with a stack of cash drawn directly from the city employee overtime pool.
When the 3-year-old beat out Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist May 21, the city turned $627 into a cool $2,257.
“It was a sloppy track,” said Madden. “We thought that favored Exaggerator. Boy were we right.”
The big win came on the heels of a devastating quarterly report detailing Troy's financial woes, along with an independent audit of the city’s finances performed by the Latham accounting firm Cusack, Ringwald and Hall.
“We took a hit on a real estate deal earlier this year, but our overtime costs were down due to the mild winter. So we thought we'd take a little of that extra dough and put in on Exaggerator,” said Madden.
Referring to the ill-fated One Monument Square project that was expected to pull in $650,000 in anticipated revenue, Madden was honest.
“Had that gone through, odds are we wouldn't be betting on horses right now.”
Critics, however, call the wagering of city funds “completely irresponsible.”
“The city is falling apart,” said Councilman Dean Seaman. “This year, alone, we've had a major water main break and a giant sinkhole form on Campbell Avenue. We're hemorrhaging money. Plus, Bomber's Burritos closed. Did you know that? And now the mayor wants to put taxpayer money on a horse to win? Not a good idea.”
Seaman, instead, recommended the city hedge its bets, noting that exacta and trifecta wagering are in effect for the Belmont.
“I'd eat the chalk and box Cherry Wine and Suddenbreakingnews with a long-shot or two,” said Seaman. “But that's just me.”
According to the Wynn Las Vegas race book, Exaggerator currently sits as the odds-on favorite to win The Belmont at 3-5.
Troy, meanwhile, is still the 7-5 favorite to be named Forbes Magazine's Worst City in America for the fifth straight year.