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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Governor Start Your Engine

- Who said that Governor Spitzer doesn't like racing?

Photo Hosted at Buzznet

Well, that's not quite what we have in mind. Of course, it's the 'in thing' these days for politicians to be seen at NASCAR events, though generally they're Republicans. Almost 90 percent of the checks written by those affiliated with NASCAR flow to Republican candidates, according to a computer analysis of federal campaign contributions. [Sports Illustrated] Indeed, the Times quoted one woman as asking “What’s Nascar doing putting a Democrat on TV?” And Spitzer is apparently a genuine auto racing guy; he has a favorite driver (Jeff Gordon), seems to be familiar with the nuances of various tracks, and has a favorite race.

His favorite event is at Bristol Motor Speedway in Tennessee, known for its spectacular bang-ups.

“Bristol is arguably the best race to watch,” the governor said to a reporter. “This is a short circuit, Saturday night, more crashes, more spins, slower speeds because it’s a shorter track, but it’s just complete mayhem.” [NY Times]
So, I know nothing about auto racing, and I wasn't aware that is actually OK to say that you like to see crashes? I mean, that's cool? Like saying you like hockey fights except that people get killed and maimed? Perhaps Spitzer has actually been enjoying himself over the last few weeks as his administration has crashed and burned.

- Michael and Jessica picked up on this quote from Steve Asmussen regarding Curlin's non-appearance in the Travers: "I think Graveyard of Champions and the best horse I've ever had shouldn't go in the same sentence." Between that and his comment to the Form that the track at Saratoga "isn't kind to most racehorses," he seems to be really stretching to provide a legitimate reason for not running the colt. And unless he was thinking of running Curlin in a high class allowance race, it seems a bit presumptuous for him to imply that a loss to Street Sense in the Travers would put Curlin in the Graveyard of Champions annals of Saratoga.

- The referendum in West Virginia's Kanawha County was a bit like Irridescence and Royal Highness battling down the stretch on Saturday. The 'yes' vote carried the day - thus far - by a mere 33 votes out of 45,000 cast...amazing! We certainly haven't heard the last of this vote. 64 uncounted early votes were found on Monday, and they came from a county which voted 173 to 96 against the games. Whatsmore, according to the Charleston Gazette, there are 513 ballots that are being challenged. A countywide canvass is scheduled for 7 a.m. Friday, when any questions about the legality of votes will be decided..

- Bob Baffert was bitching about the Polytrack at Del Mar after Maimonides' win on Wednesday.
"This is real racing, racing on dirt....You get to showcase the brilliance of a good horse. That's what the whole argument was about at Del Mar. We breed these horses, we spend all this money ... why do we want to take their speed away? Horses are always going to get hurt. I've had horses get hurt on Polytrack. We're all for safety, but we need to somehow blend the two together." [Saratogian]
If some consider that to be sour grapes, Brad Free, lamenting one of the most profound bet-against angles of the synthetic era, supplies a good reason why: Since last fall, Baffert has won with less than 9 percent of his synthetic starters (10 for 112). His overbet runners produced a return on investment of 70 cents for each $2 win. [DRF] And I still haven't heard a good reason why a shift in the breeding industry from speed to stamina would be a bad thing.

- And a dog track in Florida has folded its hand.....on the dog racing anyway. Tampa Greyhound abruptly halted its live racing meeting, and will proceed with simulcasting and poker only.
"Since opening our card room on July 1, it has become clear that poker is where we need to focus our efforts. Low attendance for greyhound racing and the popularity and growth of poker made this an obvious business decision due to recent legislative changes." [St Petersburg Times (hat tip to Albany Law School Racing and Gaming Today]
I hope Magna isn't paying attention to that; otherwise, it's possible that Gulfstream could become the largest poker hall in the country.


Anonymous said...

As I recall, before Mr. Baffert shipped into Saratoga, there were a couple of days early in the meet where horses on the lead or rail were having difficulty holding on. One such horse, I Promise, who seemed to do well to hold 2nd on opening day, is running back in tomorrow's 8th race.

Also, i saw that the hard closing The Roundhouse is entered on Thursday.

Anonymous said...

"I think Graveyard of Champions and the best horse I've ever had shouldn't go in the same sentence."

What racing needs is a Cowardice Czar.

Michael said...

I second that Jen R. Whatsmore, why don't we have the same gnashing of teeth that we had when Nafzger decided to skip the Belmont? It's not like Asmussen is a likeable guy either, I don't understand the free pass he's getting here... unless everyone is afraid of him (like I am).

7-2 on The Roundhouse isn't a bad bet.

Unknown said...

I hope Magna isn't paying attention to that; otherwise, it's possible that Gulfstream could become the largest poker hall in the country.

No chance. Because even then it'll still be hard pressed to compete with the Seminole Hard Rock.

Anonymous said...

There it is for all to see in an apparently un-Photoshopped photo: The Steamroller hisself mixing it up with all those Bubbas! 'See, Joe, I really am a man of the common folk, just like you!' I understand that he is planning to present the Man o'War Cup to the Travers winner on Travers Day, right after Joe presents his trophy to the winner of a co-feature. Good chance for Joe to have a 3-way pow-wow and bury the hatchet with the Gov and Charlie Hayward, Joe can introduce the Gov to all of the swells, and it will be a jolly good time. After all, there's none better than Joe at "
Holding Court" at the Spa, he virtually "owns" that clubhouse! /S/Green Mtn Punter