- Here’s yet another track reporting an increase in business. Is there some kind of underground movement going on? Turf Paradise saw its average total handle increase 7.6 percent from the 2004-2005 meet. [DRF] Among the reasons cited by the track’s GM Eugene Joyce is one that's familiar, and one not so.
• More than twice as many (46) races on the turf, which he estimated boosted handle on those races by 20 to 30 percent.Aggressive Marketing? There’s a novel one for you. Speaking of which, can they bring back “Go Baby Go” now?
• An aggressive marketing campaign, combined with the impact of the anniversary activities. [Arizona Republic]
- Penn National has come to agreement with the city of Bangor, Maine to build a permanent racino at, or actually, near the Bangor Park harness track.
"We got 'er done," Council Chairman John Cashwell said after the votes took place. "I'm not Larry the Cable Guy, but it works anyway." [Bangor Daily News]I have absolutely no idea what that means, really. In fact, just to show you how attuned I am to what passes as popular culture these days, I had to look up on Google to see who Larry the Cable Guy is. Have I missed anything? Bangor is already hooked beyond hope on slots revenue, a year or more before construction on the new building even starts.
The city already has earned more than $500,000 from Hollywood Slots in Bangor, the temporary slots facility in the former Miller's Restaurant on Main Street, which has been operating for six months.- New Bolton Center has a web page for updates on Barbaro. And a page on which you can send an email message to the horse (I’m not kidding).
- Viewers in the UK did not get to see NBC’s graphic shots of Barbaro in distress after breaking down in the Preakness; it seems the broadcast networks there have different standards as to what is acceptable for their viewers.
[Racing UK] foreshortened its relay of the US feed because of NBC’s differing editorial policy on equine injuries. The US audience saw replays and close-ups of the incident, of Prado calming his mount, of Barbaro pathetically pawing the ground with a front leg while holding a shattered rear in the air, of the ambulance arriving and of vets working to save his life. The British audience saw relatively little.Personally, I haven’t seen much debate as to NBC’s coverage; I thought they did what they had to do. It was part of the news story they were covering, and I can’t really imagine that they would turn their cameras away from what was transpiring nor shun the replays, unless it was so overwhelmingly gory as to make it obscene. As difficult as it was to watch, the time that I found myself turning away was when they showed the replay of the Matz’s real-time reaction to the horse pulling up.
In US chatrooms, NBC was berated for dwelling too long on Barbaro’s predicament before the talk turned to whether the rigorous Triple Crown schedule could be blamed for his injury. [Times Online UK]
The British paper is also put off, as am I, by Bloodhorse.com’s insistence on referring to the Kentucky Derby sponsorship even in their reports on the Barbaro injury and its aftermath.
I HAVE seen the future of race sponsorship and it is ridiculous. The following absurdity can be found on www.bloodhorse.com which includes an educative pictorial update of Barbaro’s progress. The written update begins: “Barbaro, winner of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands, was ‘bright and appropriately frisky’ Monday after surgery to repair his broken hind leg.” This moment of bathos was brought to you courtesy of Churchill Downs racecourse and the parent company of KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell.Bloodhorse is even inserting the Yum! Brands mention into the Associated Press stories that it picks up, even though the original articles don’t include it.
- Nice little six horse feature at Belmont today, and I’m taking a look at Generosity (Unbridled’s Song) (6-1). It’s her first start since winning on the Polytrack at Turfway last December, but Bruce Levine is sharp with returnees, and hits at 30% for first time out of his barn. Besides, the two morning line choices seem vulnerable here.
Trainer Stanley Hough is off to a decent start at Belmont, with two winners, a second and a third with seven starters. One of those thirds was with Pretty Proud (Mr. Greeley). That race is a good illustration of the way many thoroughbred races are run in this country. After running her second quarter in a quick 22 4/5, she slowed down to 24 4/5, and 26 flat for the second half of the mile race; yet she went from being in 5th by six lengths to within a length of the winner. Amazing. 5-2 morning line; I gotta try and beat her. Ditto the 2-1 favorite Pleasant Lyrics (Pleasant Tap), who hasn’t been out since last June for a barn sporting a poor record with returnees.