- Another dismal effort on the dirt for Highland Cat, though, as reported by Nick, he at least impressed Simon Brey with his pre-race appearance. Unfortunately, he’s a horse who likes to be dead last shortly after the start, and that’s not going to win many races. He was last, then second to last, then last again. He at least showed a bit of interest in the stretch, rallying past two horses to get 7th, of 9, and earning $114 in purse money. The Head Chef was so taken by that little move that she almost had me convinced on the way home that he had finished 5th, which I would have considered a moral victory.
Well, the race didn’t tell us anything we didn’t know. He doesn’t race well on the dirt, and we need to try him on grass, which will happen, hopefully, on May 26.
- I dumped Dish Network for Direct TV shortly before the beginning of the NHL playoffs. Dish had dropped OLN at the beginning of the season over the usual fees dispute, and though I had little problem getting through the regular season without it (only because no Rangers road games were part of their exclusive telecasts), it was a must for the playoffs. I knew this meant losing HRTV. But I waited until after the essential parts of the Gulfstream and Santa Anita meets were over, and just figured I’d worry about them next year.
So what happened? Four days after I switched, Dish Network reinstated OLN (and a few days after that, the Rangers were swept out of the playoffs). And now, I’m already missing HRTV. Even though it’s not their prime season, they do offer exclusive coverage of tracks like Lone Star, Remington, Woodbine, and the Meadowlands. And besides, they just do a really nice job. Not only are their hosts knowledgeable, but, with one notable exception, they eschew the histrionics that we all too often hear on TVG, where they try to elevate every race to the importance of a Grade 1 stakes. And besides, I miss Millie Ball, especially when seeing TVG’s new Lady Luck program.
In trying to compensate for the loss, I do get some of the tracks on a feed from an upstate OTB, via a link that a reader sent me last year. Other tracks, like the Meadowlands, offer their video live on their website. But I’m shut out entirely these days from Lone Star, a track that I do like to play. It seems to me that providing a convenient video feed of the races online is an easy and logical way for a track to attract business. Yet, when I go to the link for “Live Racing” on the Lone Star, and other Magna track sites, I’m told that I have to sign up for an Xpress Bet account. It seems to me that it’s counterproductive for Magna to make it a hassle to get their video feed; I just make my wagers at other tracks, and that’s lost business for them. With all the competition, you’d think they would make access to their signals as easy as possible.
And if this isn’t all bad enough, now TVG is going all loopy with their new programming. The hosts look extremely uncomfortable in their new chairs and make me feel the same. You can see their programs and Forms strewn all about, along with a laptop computer placed awkwardly in the foreground (or on their laps!). I'll be even sorrier once the big stakes at Meadowlands harness start. They have a great harness guy, and treat those races like a major sport, complete with replays of relevant past races during their analysis. The only advantage now of Direct TV (other than their far superior technology) is the Yanks on YES Network, and I lived without that just fine last season. And, I’m locked into Direct TV for a year. Oh man...
- Barbaro galloped a mile and a quarter at Fair Hill yesterday, and Michael Matz said, “he’s doing terrific.”
He may put in a "stretch gallop" at Fair Hill next week before shipping to Pimlico for the race. Date and time of arrival have not been set. Matz could ship on the morning of the race or a couple of days earlier to gallop over the track. [NY Daily News]- Cindy Noll Murphy is experiencing what is being called “temporary paralysis” from a bruised spinal cord suffered in a spill at Prairie Meadows on Thursday. Her husband Travis told Bloodhorse: "She regained a lot of feeling that she didn't have right after the injury....Although it's not coming around super fast, she can move her fingers and toes, so she has a minimal range of motion."