Sunday, February 28, 2010

Need Some Action

It's been a tough few days in Upstate NY-we've been buried in snow, we have had 2 days of no action at Aqueduct and yesterday Santa Anita had yet another rain out.

I'm juicing for some action and luckily this afternoon the Big A returns. More importantly for today, my HD set will be tuned to NBC at 2:55 pm where the Gold Medal USA-Canada Olympic Hockey game is played. If you had taken a prop bet on the US before the games started you would have got them at the very attractive line of 8-1. Here are your betting odds for today's matchup.

Canada: -1
USA: +1

over/under 5.5

I look for a tight scrappy game. I'll take USA with the points and the Under.

Final Score: USA 3-2

Monday, February 22, 2010

Mainstream Media On The Apple Blossom

A caller into the popular Mike Francesca sports talk show on WFAN in New York (and simulcast on the YES TV network) today asked Mike for his thoughts on the Zenyatta-Rachel Alexandra showdown scheduled for the Apple Blossom on April 9th.

Mike usually focuses on football, baseball and basketball, with a heavy emphasis on the Yankees, Mets, Jets and Giants, but he considers himself an self anointed expert on just about everything relating to sports (except for Hockey and Tennis) and being a horse owner himself was ready with his opinion:

“As far as that, I think you it just shows you how badly organized racing is. Here is a man (Oaklawn President Charles J. Cella) that wants to put up 5 million bucks for the race-for Zenyatta and Rachel Alexandra, fine, he is not gonna get his money back, so God Bless Him. He’s having it on a Friday afternoon, Now your not gonna pack a racetrack on a Friday afternoon in April.You’re not gonna do it.

#2 It’s in Arkansas

#3 Now,no one has picked it up for television yet, there is no TV right now of this, now someone is gonna televise it, but who is gonna televise it to give it some exposure? How could you not have it Saturday or Sunday, what good is it having it Friday afternoon, when everyone is working? Who is gonna see the race on Friday Afternoon?

They should race Friday in Churchill Downs, the day before the Kentucky Derby, on the card, that would be one of the biggest races of all time, it would pack them in. Now I understand they draw 75,000 that day anyway, they’ll draw 150,000 though, that day.”

I agree with Mike that the race should be on Saturday or Sunday, but Francesca is a little off with his facts and figures.

The racetrack actually will be packed for this race, on a Friday afternoon in April, as reserved seats are sold out with only day of race infield seating available. (The attendance record at Oaklawn of 72,484 for the 2006 Arkansas Derby could be surpassed)

The Friday before the Kentucky Derby-“Kentucky Oaks” Day draws alot more than Mikes' claim of 75,000. The attendance last year was over 104,000. Seems like that weekend is jammed pack anyway, what with the Oaks and the Derby on Saturday. Why not have the race on another Saturday in April or May, televise it, cross your fingers that Rachel and Zenyatta finish 1-2 and than you have a re-match to market.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

At least ours is open

The website might be outdated as pointed out by Jay Hodvey on his Daily Racing Form blog, but The National Musuem of Racing and Hall of Fame located across the street from Saratoga Race Course is one cool place to visit, especially if you appreciate the history of the game.

And unlike the Soccer Hall of Fame, it is not closing.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Some Good News

As the Aqueduct VLT selection made by NY Gov. Paterson gets more bizarre by the day, it was nice to find something working right in New York State-a vocational training program run by the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation and the New York State Department of Corrections.

The story was first broadcast on local NBC news Channel 13 in Albany, NY (WNYT).

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Rachel Alexandra V. Zenyatta-Sell the Event

I like the approach of Oaklawn Park Owner Charlie Cella with this “announcement thing” on Thursday, presumably an offer to have Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta face off against each other on April 3rd at the Grade 1 Apple Blossom or the Grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap.

Make it big; make it sound like a big event you must watch or attend.

Since the heyday of racing some 30-40 years ago, the NBA boomed, the NFL become the monster of televised sports and other sports grabbed their slice of the pie including NASCAR, European Soccer, Tennis, Pro-Golf, MMA and quasi-sport/entertainment events such as Pro Wrestling and Poker.

Tonight on my cable system, between the hours of 6 and 10 pm I have the choice of 14 Division 1 basketball games, 4 NBA games, 1 Hockey game, and the Caribbean World Series-all available on basic cable (non-pay) channels. These are all live sporting events, I did not include various taped sports programming, classic sports replays or sports TV talk shows. All on a Wednesday night, a weekend listing of available events would be 3 times as long.

Stand out from the overload of sporting events by selling the event. People still love watching events and attending them. Witness this weekends Super Bowl, and the upcoming (2/27) Syracuse-Villanova hoop game at the Carrier Dome. It’s sold out at 34,616 fans, an on-campus NCAA record. Why is a regular season hoops game sold out?-because it is an “event”. You have 2 long time Big East Conference Rivals, currently # 2 vs. # 3, you have rivalry, importance and excitement.

Rachel v. Zenyatta has the same elements-rivalry, importance and excitement. It is now an “event”. Yes the game is supported and exists for the horseplayer and they should always be #1, but selling the event to the "fans" can’t hurt.