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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Thursday Morning Notes - June 14

- Churchill Downs, which, as far as I know, did not buy any wagering account platforms on Wednesday, gets the post-Triple Crown season off with a bang with their big Super Saturday program on.....Saturday. The Stephen Foster is the only Grade 1 amongst the bunch, and it looks like a really nice Grade 2 on paper.

But what excites me more as we hurtle towards the summer season is the beginning of the 3 PM twilight cards at Belmont on Friday. I've managed to arrange my work week so that I will be able to attend this week, and hopefully will be able to do so as often as possible until the meet ends in late July. There aren't that many more people than usual for the late post - maybe 1,000-1,500, but they mostly congregate in the backyard and it's enough to create a little buzz there as the crowd builds and the shadows grow as the late afternoon/evening moves along. I'm very excited, and jeez, time to start handicapping!

So I'm going to concentrate on the local races for the most part this weekend. I'm hoping to spend at least part of my Father's Day there - imagine actually getting to do what I like on my day! On Saturday I have other plans, so I'm not going to tackle what looks like a very challenging Churchill card (though the Foster, as well as the Northern Dancer look like interesting betting affairs).

On Wednesday at Belmont, Rondo (Grand Slam), beaten at 1-5 by Bound Notebook in his last, was 3-10 in the third. He easily shrugged off a challenge by Allan Jerkens' unbeaten three-year old Holy Canyon, and won for fun for Godolphin.

But the Race of the Day was the featured 8th. Come On Pal dropped drastically from 60 to 35K claimers in his last race. 12-1 morning line, he went off at 4-1, went to the lead, and wouldn't let No Parole by in a head bobbing finish. On Friday, moved up to allowance company, he was again 12-1 morning line; but this time, he was let off as the longest shot on the board at 16-1. Again, he bounded to the lead, and was engaged by favored Silver Timber. Despite the tougher company, again he dug in with determination, and refused to let his challenger pass. Unfortunately for him, Quietly Mine (Belong to Me - Quiet), came late and wide and got up past the dueling leaders in the final stride in a driving finish; but Come On Pal never let the favorite by. Another winner for Christophe Clement, now batting .300 at nine for 30.

- The Louisville Courier-Journal is considering taking legal action against the NCAA after one of its reporters was bounced from the pressbox at a college baseball game last weekend for live blogging the game. The NCAA claimed that this constituted a "live representation of the game" and was therefore against NCAA rules. The paper countered that this violated their First Amendment right to report from a public facility. "Once a player hits a home run, that's a fact. It's on TV. Everybody sees it. [The NCAA] can't copyright that fact."

The NCAA countered that they are within their rights to protect its TV contracts, and issued a statement:

“Reporters covering our championships may blog about the atmosphere, crowd and other details during a game but may not mention anything about game action. Any reference to game action in a blog or other type of coverage could result in revocation of credentials.” [NY Times]
On the other hand, the NHL's New York Islanders announced the establishment of a "blog box" to accommodate the hundreds of bloggers who I'm sure want to cover their scintillating home games. But in response to a question about the NCAA situation, the Islanders said they had not yet decided whether bloggers would be allowed to transmit live during games.

In response to a query from Deadspin about what qualifies one for the blog box, the Islanders VP of Communications said: You must be 18 or over and be able to write a sentence that makes at least a little sense. This led a prescient commenter to respond: "Well, that eliminates all the Islanders fans."