— Las Vegas developer Irwin Molasky won't be a player at this year's Kentucky Derby after all. Molasky built -- along with the late Cleveland-raised mobster Moe Dalitz and Barbara Walters's ex-husband Merv Adelson -- the Mafia-linked La Costa Resort with Teamster Central States pension money. The octogenarian, who still keeps busy building condos near the Vegas strip, owns Breeder's Cup champion Kona Gold with his son Andrew and trainer Bruce Headley, reports the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Molasky had planned to enter the horse in the Derby's sprint for four-year-olds and up but now says he will instead run Kona Gold once more in the Breeder's Cup, hoping for an unprecedented second victory there. The seven-year-old horse, bought as a yearling for $35,000, has so far earned $1.9 million for the partners. But the paper reports that Molasky still voices regret about one choice he made for the animal. "He might have been a $40 million mistake. Maybe we shouldn't have gelded him."... In other horse news, a mysterious San Diego-area buyer has walked away from Keeneland, Kentucky's April "Two-Year-Olds in Training" sale, with the top-priced horse, a chestnut filly sired by the well-known stallion Dixieland Band. The Louisville Courier-Journal reports that bloodstock agent J.B. McKathan paid $775,000 for the animal on behalf of trainer Bob Baffert and "an undisclosed new client in San Diego."

Downhill slides A report in Editor & Publisher magazine says the Union-Tribune is bucking industry trends by hiring a pricey marketing consultant to help shore up the paper's sagging circulation. Bethesda, Maryland-based Barry Group, whose fees reportedly range between $300,000 and $500,000, uses sophisticated computer databases to track the identities and whims of newspaper subscribers. U-T circulation director Mike Proebstle is quoted as saying the new circulation program will help the paper "manage growth" rather than "manage decline" by "finding out why subscribers cancel."... Fortune magazine is out with what purports to be the inside story of the turmoil at Gateway Computers, which has been going downhill ever since it adopted San Diego as its headquarters back in 1998. According to the magazine, the real trouble began when South Dakota-bred company founder Ted Waitt turned control over to new CEO Jeffrey Weitzen and several top executives from the old regime that refused to move to San Diego. Things eventually got so bad that Waitt declined to go golfing with Weitzen and stopped inviting him to parties at Waitt's $14.5 million hilltop La Jolla mansion, custom-built by local hotel mogul Doug Manchester. This January, Waitt ousted Weitzen (who departed with a $5.6 million severance package) and vowed a fresh start. Waitt tells the magazine he's even unloading Gateway's executive jet, a $22.5 million Falcon 2000, which he and family members are frequently seen boarding at Jimsair, the private terminal at Lindbergh Field.

Man's world Ex-mayor Susan Golding's Lincoln Town Car limousine has vanished from the mayor's official parking spot at San Diego's city hall, replaced by a sparkling new Ford luxury sport-utility vehicle, complete with red and blue police emergency lights, hidden discretely hidden behind the vehicle's front grille ... In America, even a bankrupt name is worth big money, apparently. La Jolla's CONSOR, which says it "is considered the industry leader in the valuation of intellectual property," has issued a news release bragging that it has a deal to "complete an orderly sale of [the] trademarks, service marks and brand assets" of Montgomery Ward, LLC, the defunct department-store chain ... Five Qualcomm staffers have registered as congressional lobbyists, reports the Political Finance & Lobby Reporter: Jonas Neihardt, William Bold, Kevin Kelley, Jennifer McCarthy, and Shawn Covell ... Chula Vista elementary schools chief Libia Socorro Gil was in the running to become head of Denver Public Schools but last week lost out to Jerome F. Wartgow, who runs Denver's community-college district.

Contributor: Matt Potter

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