Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Luck on HBO gets 2nd Season Go Ahead

After Just one episode Luck on HBO has been renewed for a second season. Based on some articles and blogs I read reviews were mixed. Some were displeased with the the characters in the show, feeling they were stereotypes and exaggerated caricatures. But remember stereotypes are there for a reason, they are usually true.

I have a few friends who are hard core racetrack gamblers who resemble the 4 slovenly gamblers who won the Pick 6 in the first episode. Anytime I have ever been to a track and retreat from the stands to watch the race from an inside simulcast TV, I see folks just like the gamblers portrayed on Luck. I love those guys-they are part of the fabric of the track and to omit them would be a white washing of who really inhabits the track. I also liked that the lingo was not dumbed down for a mass audience.

On the down side, I found the Dustin Hoffman character to be a bit over the top and his front man Dennis Farina, seemed almost too naive to be picked by the Hoffman character as a front man. But HBO dramas typically have a slow character build so lets see what happens.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Breeders' Cup Goes to NBS Sports

Really no surprise ESPN is out as the TV outlet for the Breeders' Cup coverage but I did figure it would happen not now but after their contract ran out in 2013. Over the 6 years ESPN had the Breeders' Cup their overall Horse racing coverage wilted, and this past year it really seemed they were just mailing it in.

So what to expect as the Breeders' Cup moves to NBC and NBC Sports Network (formerly Versus):

Not much bad news, although I will miss Jeannine Edwards and Kenny Mayne. Edwards never mailed it in and the humorous Mayne loves the game. Also, not everyone has the NBC Sports Coverage as part of their cable or satellite subscriptions. With less overall viewers the TV ratings might actually be down this year with the change.

However there is plenty of Good:

We get to keep seeing Randy Moss, who worked this summer for NBC on their "Summer at Saratoga" broadcasts.

We also get better branding as NBC now has the complete Triple Crown Races, a bunch of derby prep races, Saratoga racing coverage and now the BC. Now we know when it comes to racing we can turn on NBC or NBC Sports Network throughout the year, instead of wondering what or where we can find the TV coverage. As NBC continues to grow the NBC Sports Network Channel, it seems they will build it around several sports including Hockey and Horse racing. No longer will it be the ugly stepchild that ESPN treated it like.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Mirahmadi's in the Gate

As we enter 2012 Frank Mirahmadi will be the new race caller at Oaklawn Park taking over for Terry Wallace. Opening Day is January 13, 2012. Frank was the backup announcer to Wallace last year. He has called races all over and also at a stint as an racing analyst at TVG.

People's favorite announcers come down to the style of race calling you like. I like Frank as I like his style of exciting, upbeat and often funny race calls. His comedic talent comes out very easily and is often used in his races. Frank is also a great voice impersonator doing the voices of Rodney Dangerfield, Jack Buck, Hank Stram, Andy Rooney, and the late Kentucky Derby caller Luke Kruytbosch among others.

Some like the straight,by the book, calling the numbers type race call. I'll take the enthusiastic race call spiced up with humour as seen in the calls of NYRA's Tom Durkin. I will bet a Finger Lakes race maybe 2 or 3 times a year, but I do find myself listening to the race calls of Finger Lakes race caller Tony Calo because of his excitement and humour. This is what we will get with Mirahmadi at Oaklawn and that's good for the game.