Sunday, October 31, 2010

Zenyatta on 60 Minutes = Web search buzz

If you are reading this blog, you most likely found your way to a TV set or computer Sunday evening to watch the 60 Minutes piece on Zenyatta.

It was purely a puff piece, nothing to be learned if you are already a fan of the great Mare. But the exposure of being on 60 Minutes cannot be discounted. Even in this age of a fractured television audience 60 minutes is a ratings juggernaut. More people watched her last night on CBS than did last year in the Breeders' Cup Classic.

A search on Google Trends at 9:00 pm Eastern time on Sunday, about an hour after the piece ran on Zenyatta, showed that she had zoomed all the way up to #14 on the Google "Hot Search" Chart for searches in the USA. The search "Breeders Cup 2010" zoomed all the way to #5, indicating the casual fan was intrigued enough by the Zenyatta piece to do a little research on this Breeders' Cup gig. The only sports themed search higher, at #3, was the search for "Brett Favre Injury". Below is the Google Trends search volume index graph for Sunday on Zenyatta:

Thursday, October 28, 2010

BC Pre-Entries in-Now it gets serious

Now with all the Pre-Entries for the Breeders' Cup races in, the build up begins in earnest. Past Performances will be studied, trainer interviews will be published and Horse of the Year debates will continue.

The biggest of all is the return to dirt, The Breeders' Cup Classic, set to go off at 6:45 pm.

Looking at the field, if the great Zenyatta is to retire at 20-0, she will have earned it. Two horses have my interest at this moment. I have been reading alot about Blame, and I am intrigued by the amount of fans who absolutely stand by this horse and feel he will beat Queen Z. And what about Lookin at Lucky, who always runs, never quits, and looks really ready to go in this one.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Arrogance of Power

Joseph Fisch, New York State Inspector General has released his report on the Aqueduct Entertainment Group VLT fiasco and as expected, it is a treatise on New York State Politics and its corruption filled, lobbyist controlled, greed fiefdom.

One of the culprits slammed by the Inspector General includes State Senator Malcom D. Smith (D). Just how can these shenanigans involving our elected officials continue to occur in New York State?

Easy, when you are continually reelected no matter what you do in office a sense of entitlement reigns. This goes for both sides of the aisle, whether Democrat or Republican. The New York State Senate has members each elected to two year terms. There are no limits on the number of terms one may serve.

Senator Malcom D. Smith (D) has been a senator in the 14th district since 2001. Despite what can kindly be called a checkered career with many questionable activities, he wins all his reelections and ran unopposed in 2008. He is up for reelection this November. Should he win as expected, he enters his 10th year in office. This is par for the course in New York State, once you get it, you are basically in, provided you play the game and don't piss off your fellow long term incumbent fellow state politicians. The residents of New York State, the constituents they are elected to represent-they don't count.

For all the sleazy details, you can read the entire 304 page Inspector General report here.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Shirreffs on Zenyatta-Just Sayin'

Like any good campaign manager John Shirreffs is telling all who will listen that Zenyatta should win the Eclipse award for 2010 Horse of the Year, even if she loses the Breeders Cup Classic. You can find all the quotes in Jeff Lowe's article in the Thoroughbred Times. I have no problem with the quotes, he believes in his horse and should say so, plus planting the seed into the writers (and voters) heads about winning the award even if she loses the BC Classic is pretty smart.

He further said, should she lose out on the award this year:
“For what she has done for the last three years, I would have to say that would be a real slap in the face"

He also said he thinks the award should have been split between Rachel and Zenyatta in '09.

It seems that Shirreffs feels Zenyatta's continued dominance in 2010 diminishes Rachel's dominance in 2009. For 2009, Rachel was 8-0, with 3 Grade 1 wins against males. You can't go back in time and make the award a "Lifetime Achievement Award". If so, Zenyatta wins hands down. But the award is for Horse of the Year, and that is a whole different animal.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Of Hope and Promise

Another great weekend for a sports junkie, and if you are like me, your remote control got a big workout this weekend. Saturday was big, juggling between the MLB playoffs and watching Belmont and Keeneland on the OTB channel. I could not watch the ESPN Classic television coverage from Keeneland on Saturday card as ESPN Classic is no longer part of my cable package-thank you Time Warner.

The Saturday highlight was 2 year old Uncle Mo, now unbeaten in 2 starts and headed to the Breeders Cup Juvenile. Is he the real thing? Let's wait and see, his time on Saturday was impressive and he certainly looks to have the type of body to endure a 3 year old TC campaign run. But the Champagne field was really of an allowance quality and not Grade 1 stakes material. On Sunday at Belmont, 2 runners coming out of Uncle Mo's Travers undercard debut win, Research Report and King Congie looked very unimpressive finishing 4th & 5th in a 5 horse field.

Someone who did look impressive was 5 year old gelding Little Nick in winning an $70,000 Overnight Stakes race at Belmont on Sunday, beating a nice field. I touted Little Nick and trainer Anthony Quartarolo last month on this blog when Little Nick was an Alternate Entry in an $47,000 turf at Belmont. Hopefully you remembered his name and cashed in on a $22 winning ticket today. In usual Murphy's Law fashion, yours truly forget to get his bet in.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Slots Welfare

Using the funds from casinos and VLT's to prop up horse racing has been described by some as "slots welfare" for racing. Well, who would have thought that some of the money spent on slots and at casinos is actually generated from our welfare system. The LA Times has reported that between January of 2007 and May 0f 2010 about $11 million dollars in cash was spent or withdrawn from California issued welfare aid debit cards in Las Vegas with $1 million spent directly on the Vegas Strip. Ya can't make this stuff up.

Maybe in a strange way this makes sense, the Taxpayer funds the welfare recipient who than spends his welfare cash at a slot machine to than fund an industry also in need of help.

In reaction to the Times article, The Schwarzenegger administration is now cutting off use of state-issued welfare debit cards at casinos across the country and on cruise ships.

Before we start amping up the NY Breds Program in anticipation of slot-infused mega purses, Maybe we should ask the New York candidates for Governor, Andrew Cuomo and Carl Paladino, their position on the use of welfare debit cards at the soon to be built Aqueduct VLT's.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Super Saturday Coverage

Unlike most weekends, there will be sufficient television coverage of the big races this weekend if you are not lucky enough to get yourself to Belmont Park or Hollywood Park this weekend.

In addition to the usual TVG and HRTV coverage, MSG+ Network will broadcast from Belmont Park on 5-6 pm eastern time Saturday with live coverage of the Jockey Club Gold Cup and the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational. They will also show taped coverage of the 3 other Saturday Grade 1 races at Belmont. You can find my analysis of the Jockey Club Gold Cup over at the Thorofan website.

In the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic I'm looking forward to see how Paddy O'Prado does going 12 furlongs and against older males for the 1st time. Paddy is fast becoming one of my favorite horses to watch. He reminds of me of a reliable baseball player-someone like ex-Met Keith Hernandez-he shows up to compete and is always looking for a way to win.

ESPN actually decides to parachute into the Horse Racing scene and will be broadcasting live from Hollywood Park from 6:30-8:00 pm eastern time with live coverage of Zenyatta in the Lady's Secret Stakes as she shoots for her 19th consecutive win in the Lady’s Secret Stakes.