Friday, May 02, 2014

Derby 2014 Musings

The Big weekend is now upon us. With Hoppertunity scratched and Pablo Del Monte not going in as an AE you have 19 horses to play with.

If there is one race to tune out all the chatter from various touts it's this race. With 19 horses coming out of the gate, no one, even the experts can tell you before the race how the trip will be for each horse.

Too many horses, too much dirt flying, too much jockeying around early.

For this race, just envision how YOU think the trip will be for each horse and than make your picks. Forget the others, they don't know the trip any better than you do.

Do I know? Heck no, I can only view it my head and make picks accordingly. Clean trip I think California Chrome wins, but can I really expect a clean trip? Probably not, so with a little rough going I have to consider the others, especially closers coming late.

I will play with the following horses, watching the odds boards just before race time, and then the bets get sent in: California Chrome, Tapiture, Intense Holiday, Medal Count, Wicked Strong.

Good luck all!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Coulda Woulda Shouda

Love reading all the post crisis sanctimonious ramblings after the PETA undercover investigation was released. I heard about it first by reading  Joe Drape's NY Times article .

My first reaction was "oh wow that's not going to be good".

But then I watched it a second time, looking closely and listening for any "illegal activity". Didn't really see or hear anything definitive at least as far as illegal treatment of the horses in the video put out by PETA. Some chatter about buzzer use, but even that was very unclear and perhaps a story of a long time ago.
There was some talk of illegal hiring practices of backstretch workers.

But is that Racing's problem or say The NY Department of Labor (some of  the investigation by PETA  took place in Saratoga). Everytime my business adds even a part time worker to the payroll I get workers comp and NYS Disability notices up the wazhoo.

Where was the Workers Comp Board and Labor Dept on this? Shouldn't we be asking them when was the last workers comp audit they did?  How about the IRS or the various State Tax Departments. Any recent audits? notices? request for payroll records? How about the NYS Gaming Commission? Same goes for all the various Kentucky boards and departments?

If these various entities can't do their job, you think a Federal Governing body for racing will?

But no coulda woulda shoulda's from me. I view the game for what it is (or at least how I  see it) : a mostly on the level game filled with a ton of people who love to compete (owners, trainers, equine athletes, horseplayers) with a bunch of crazies mixed in with a sprinkling of miscreants.

The game is filled with colorful characters, and a ton drink, swear, eat and smoke too  much and many gamble the mortgage money away each month. Some of these characters will always push the envelope and will continue to do that in 2014 and 2024 and onward.  Don't see how that is ever gonna change. I'm OK with that, mostly because I already know that it is what  it is..

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

A word on Moran

It is with sadness that I note the passing of award winning journalist Paul Moran, dead at only 66.
He was a wordsmith till the end with his last column published on the ESPN website on 10/28/13.

New York City metro readers of old will remember him from Newsday, back in the day when the NY Post, NY Daily News and Newsday all had multiple pages on racing every day. That's almost all gone now as are the days of racetrack patrons walking around the track with the entries and writer selections cut out from their favorite NY tabloid sticking out of their hand or back pocket. 

Here in upstate NY I can still read the daily entries and selections of the NYRA tracks in my local paper of choice, The Times Union, but how much longer will that last?

I will miss Moran and his way with words and his biting wit that would shine through in his columns. The game goes on, just now without one of its' best writers.

Saturday, November 02, 2013

Breeders Cup 2013 Halftime Thoughts

Day One of Breeders Cup 2013 is in the books. Here are my thoughts thus far:

Track Bias anyone? I'm no expert but looked like a speed track to me. Following those who do seem to know on Twitter it seemed most agreed track was souped up for speed.

 And Todd Pletcher had this to say after watching the Dirt Mile : "“This track is so speed favoring and everyone is just send, send, send. It changes everything.”

Watching on TV the crowd seemed full but not that lively. Attendance listed at 35,833 but I saw plenty of empty seats.

NBC did  ok with Day 1 broadcast. Plenty of coverage before each race of the Paddock and Post Parade with Odds constantly running on bottom of screen. Randy Moss and Jerry Bailey did usual good jobs.

 But don't understand the purpose of the miles per hour time shown during the race. Why do this when the viewer is used to seeing split times all year long watching simulcast races? 

Friday, October 25, 2013



As the Breeders Cup 2013 version fast approaches, Here are some thoughts from this neck of the woods:

Things go up, things go down. Maybe you caught Keith Olberman's show on ESPN2 this week about baseball television ratings. In 1971 37 Million people watched a Sunday afternoon Pirates World Series Game 3 win over the Baltimore Orioles. There were 61 million people in the United States at the time.

The 2013 World Series average game so far has about 12 million watching out of 300 million people.

But we live in a different world now, flooded with endless choices of entertainment including cable systems that gives you hundreds of channel choices as opposed to the 5 channel choices you had in 1971. We could do anything at anytime, between our TV's, computer and Smartphone it is all there at our fingertips. Today a weekday, I can choose from 24 different live sports events from college football, Pro Hockey, Pro Soccer, Golf, College Hockey, College Soccer, NBA Exhibition and more to watch on my cable system. Tomorrow, Saturday, that number will go over 100.  Throw in non sports entertainment choices and the choices are in the thousands.

Baseball, like Horse Racing is still very popular and those who love it will do so devotedly. When considering the other choices out there, it's actually amazing how both games have endured and how, in Racing, how many people weed through all the choices and choose to watch and bet on it.

Friday, August 23, 2013

The Midsummer Derby-The Travers Stakes

With clear skies and comfortable temperatures the place to be on Saturday, August 24th, 2013 will be Saratoga Race Course. Yours Truly will be there all day roaming between the Clubhouse, the rail and the Paddock Post Bar area so stop and say Hi if you see me. Always fun to chat with fellow fans.

 This year's Midsummer Derby, the 144th Travers Stakes, features Palace Malice, the Belmont and Jim Dandy stakes winner, Kentucky Derby winner Orb and Haskell winner Verrazano. If you can't make it to the Track, The Travers will be shown live on NBC in a 90-minute broadcast that begins at 4:30 p.m. Eastern.

Who do I like? For me I think Palice Malice continues to mature and move forward and I would not be surprised to see him win rather easily. As for the rest of the spots and my thoughts on the Trifecta, you can read my thoughts over at the Thorofan website