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Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Crocks of Crap, Coolers, and Most Unusual Cameras

- This past Sunday's Queen Plate Trial at Woodbine will be decided in a hearing room of the Ontario Racing Commission. Dance With Ravens (A.P. Indy) was first under the wire in an exciting finish, but Rui Pimentel, the rider of 6th place finisher Atanas claimed foul over an incident just after the start, and the stewards agreed after less than five minutes of review "About 20 yards out of the gate, Kabel's horse drifted out," said [chief steward] Richard Grubb. "Pimentel's horse caught his heels and nearly went down, so we had to disqualify him. When a horse hits heels, a jockey is in jeopardy of going down." [Toronto Star] The DQ'd trainer and rider didn't quite agree. "It's pathetic," said Mark Frostad; and jockey Todd Kabel commented, "That's the lowest call in racing....I mean, Rui runs up on my horse's heels and he checks and then claims foul? It's a crock of crap."

Dance With Ravens is out of Canadian champion Dance Smartly, who in addition to winning the Queens Plate (and the Canadian Triple Crown) herself, has foaled two additional Plate winners, Scatter the Gold in 2000 and the filly Dancethruthedawn in 2001. I know Canadian racing is of a much smaller scale than that of the U.S., so to say that's like Winning Colors foaling two Derby winners in a row isn't really apt as a comparison, but it's still pretty amazing nonetheless. Three in the Bag (Silver Deputy), who finished a head back in second, gets the win....for now. The purse money is being held pending a final decision. Three in the Bag's second dam is a half-sister to a horse named A Phenomenon, a popular sprinter-type from the early 80s who won the Vosburgh, Jerome, and even the Jim Dandy. He ran second in the Met Mile at 4, but suffered a fatal breakdown that year. Also, Three in the Bag is from the same family as the late Pleasant Stage, who started the whole dead horse thing from the other day. The Queens Plate will be run on June 26.

- If the comments section of a recent post is any indication, NYRA has not been perfectly clear about the ban on bringing alcohol to the track on Saturday. Indeed, I found a full page ad for the Belmont in a local arts and entertainment magazine (Chapter 1: Hope; Chapter 2: Courage; The Final Chapter: Coming at Belmont Park), and there is not a single word regarding the fact that unlike every other racing day in New York, you cannot bring alcohol in coolers. At Saratoga, there is a prohibition on glass bottles, but not on delicious cans of Bud. I suspect that there are going to be a lot of really pissed off people who will be disappointed at the admission gate, and this could create a lot of bad will amongst prospective patrons that racing should instead be welcoming with open arms.

- I've seen some really great films lately, but haven't mentioned them here. I go off topic enough and besides, the last three non-documentary movies I've seen all dealt with underage children either having sex or thinking about having sex so I didn't want anyone to think I'm weird or anything. It was just a coincidence, I can assure you; in fact, I didn't even know that two of them dealt with the topic because I don't read film reviews until after I've seen the movie. I find that movie reviewers just reveal far, far too much of the plot - and even sometimes the ending, without warning that the review contains spoilers. Some reviewers love to give away the ending when they don't like the film, which of course gives him/her the right to ruin it for everyone else. I prefer being surprised as I go along. On the other hand, as a horseplayer, I'm dying to know what's going to happen in the next race!

And that reminds me of an old episode of the Twilight Zone, entitled A Most Unusual Camera, which was originally aired during the show's second season, on December 16, 1960. [Warning: This post contains spoilers.] Paula and Chester Dietrich, a pair of two-bit thieves, rob a store, and amongst the disappointing bounty is an old Polaroid-type camera. Just another piece of junk, so it seemed, but when Paula takes a picture of their front door, the photo that pops out reveals her jailbird brother Woodward. When Woodward then pops through the door, they realize that they have a camera that takes pictures five minutes into the future. So, they did what I, or any self-respecting reader of this blog would do - they headed straight for the racetrack, where they took a picture of the tote board just before the race, revealing the final order of finish.

Now, I don't mean to quibble with the script-writer, but in 1960, with large crowds and long betting lines at racetracks, as well as longer periods needed to decipher photos and make races official, it seems questionable that you could actually do that with only five minutes to work with. Today, of course, it would be a piece of cake, though it'd be no help for a race like the Queens Plate Trial. In any event, the happy trio returns home, only to discover that they've been allotted just ten pictures, eight of which have been used. So of course, they argue over what to do, Chester and Woodward fight and fall out the window; Paula snaps a picture of the two bodies on the ground, but the picture reveals four. She trips and falls to her death, as does the unsuspecting room service waiter, a tragic innocent victim to it all, and a bit of gratuitous violence I must say. Rod Serling voiceover:

"Object known as a camera, vintage uncertain, origin unknown. But for the greedy, the avaricious, the fleet of foot who can run a four-minute mile so long as they're chasing a fast buck, it makes believe that it's an ally, but it isn't at all. It's a beckoning come-on for a quick walk around the block - in the Twilight Zone ." [some website I found via Google]
As enticing as it sounds, I imagine that we'd all quickly tire of making money so easily at the track, and would return to the challenge of handicapping (or move to Antigua). However, with a ten-photo limit, it would be a challenge to save your pictures for the races likely to produce an improbable enough result to make it worth your while. Perhaps I'd just save it for ten wide-open Kentucky Derbies. I can't really think of any way I could stop world hunger or promote world peace with a still and wordless five minute window into the future, so I don't feel guilty about fantasizing, and I'm certainly not greedy nor avaricious (nor fleet of foot). The only other worthwhile use for it I can think of now is to use it in the New York City subway system. By taking a picture of the subway platform, I'd be the only person to know whether a train is really coming soon, or if I should go and find a bus.

1 Comment:

thecalicocat said...

A guy with erectile dysfunction could take the picture just as he climbed into bed with his woman.
If the picture showed the woman vacuuming or fixing her hair, the guy could take another Viagra.
(I have way too much time on my hands while they're renovating my office. I think they're making it smaller. Is that a message?)