- The Grade 1 Manhattan Handicap has become a fixture as the race before the big race on the Belmont day card. Saturday’s was wide open with Artie Schiller underlaid at 9-5. Unfortunately, I never got around to giving the race the attention it deserved, and it’s pretty easy to redboard Good Reward as the 14-1 winner. Nick Kling of the Troy Record explained today that though NBC owns the exclusive broadcast rights for the race, they have declined to televise it, leaving fans at OTBs in the dark. I’m not sure if TVG was permitted to carry it.
Apparently, the network nitwits believe that viewers prefer to watch some pre-taped "human interest" story than a live, breathing, horse race. The sad part is that the filler that gets shown is usually something about as memorable as any movie ever made by Jennifer Lopez.Good Reward had won his previous Grade 1 try at 10 furlongs in the Hollywood Derby last November, and this was his first comparable spot since then. The 4yo Storm Cat colt is out of 1994 3yo champion Heavenly Prize, winner of no less than 8 Grade 1 stakes, and is therefore a full brother to stakes winner Pure Prize. This is quite a family, but what do you expect of a Phipps-bred? His third dam is Blitey, and the family features names like Fantastic Find, Furlough, Dancing Spree, Finder’s Fee, grade 1 winners all.
Worse yet, the New York Racing Association (NYRA), which negotiates the contract for the rights to their races, refuses to insist that the Manhattan be presented. Are they telling us that they can't find 150 seconds of airtime? How could they make the space? Just delete any interview with Nick Zito where he uses the words "humble" and "blessed" more than three-dozen times. [Troy Record]
- Great news from Maine, where the state legislature moved closer to authorizing a state-wide referendum on a new tribal harness track and racino in Washington County, a plan which had been vetoed by Governor John Balducci. The matter still has to garner a 2/3rds majority in the Senate, which only passed the original bill by a 19-15 margin. Why do I get excited about Maine politics? Because passions there become so inflamed over this stuff that we read things like this: Opponents said the slot machines will bring nothing but economic and social woes, including bankruptcies, embezzlement and suicides. [Bangor Daily News] There’s a new one for you. Slots = embezzlement and suicides. I can’t wait.
- And I can’t help but mention that today is June 14. Eleven years ago on this day, when my beloved New York Rangers won their first Stanley Cup since 1940, the Rangers’ TV voice Sam Rosen exclaimed “The waiting is over…And this one will last a lifetime!” I wonder if he knew then that it may very well have to last that long for many of us. It’s now more than 20% on the way to another 54 years, and the team hasn’t even made the playoffs since 1997. In any event, Happy Anniversary to any Blueshirts fans that may be out there.