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Sunday, October 07, 2007

Bad Day at the Office for ESPN, Keeneland

- Teuflesberg suffered fractures to both front feet during the Phoenix Handicap at Keeneland on Saturday, but has survived thus far and is scheduled, hopefully, for surgery next week. The other two horses who suffered injuries on the day were not as lucky.

Jeannine Edwards, reporting during ESPN's coverage of the Breeders' Cup Challenge races, said of the colt's last workout, an uncharacteristically lethargic half in 51 4/5 on September 27, that she was told by people at Keeneland that the horse "did not look 100% fit or sound or ready to run." Then she added that she wasn't insinuating anything. However, she already had. Perhaps she misspoke and simply meant that it wasn't a great workout. But to say that the horse didn't look 100% sound can be taken as an assertion that the horse shouldn't have run.

Man, it was a tough day for the boys on ESPN. They're trying to promote the sport to an audience which presumably included some casual or prospective new fans. But within the first few minutes of the broadcast, Randy Moss, to his and the network's credit, immediately tackled the Biancone suspension; and then had to report on the tragic paddock accident that took the life of Dream of Angels. Moss made sure to highlight the new rules in Kentucky that would prevent Biancone from transferring his horses to assistants, and specifically mentioned how Pletcher and Asmussen had done just that during their bans. Good job there.

The network had a vet on call to report on the three accidents, and did not shy away at all from the bad news, even cutting to a shot of the stricken Teuflesberg during the live coverage of the race, and providing constant updates throughout the day. There was also a grim shot of Teuflesberg having somehow gotten loose; how that could have happened, I really can't say. So let's say it was a very honest telecast - perhaps more so than some people in the industry would like to have seen.

The telecast on the whole was a mixed bag which included some serious audio and visual mishaps which I'll get to at a later time. It's now Sunday morning, and I have a wedding this afternoon, which means that I'll be missing the Jets-Giants game (which could be a good thing), as well as all of the racing today. I'm NOT happy!! I'm now gonna try and put together some Breeders' Cup Pick Fours for the races that will be televised on ESPN2 starting at 5PM in the east.

I'm also not particularly happy that there's apparently no coverage on TVG of the Arc and other races from Longchamps this morning. I see from HRTV's website that the races are on there, so I suppose we have our good friends at Churchill and Magna to thank for this. Merci beaucoup.


Teresa said...

I'm sitting here watching the inquiry following the Arc on channel 71, NYC OTB channel on Time Warner. Live coverage of the race, and inquiry into Dylan Thomas (unofficial winner) has been lodged. Found it entirely by accident.

Tote Board Brad said...

hopefully there's an open bar at the reception at least.

Tom said...

Bad as it was, they handled it well. If it has to happen better yesterday then on Breeders Cup day.

Jen R said...


Great to see the love for my old friend Princess Rooney on the BC blog. (Although you might want to fix the link -- it goes to the 1984 Juvenile Fillies replay.) She was the first horse I was ever a fan of, back in the day.

Anonymous said...

I am feeling ill about finding long priced dirt candidates for the Breeders Cup this year now that much of the action has taken place on poly/synth/Tap/cushion.

I know it's probably good for racing to have the new surface but I feel a little ripped off about the bizarre shape and disparity of racing on the new surfaces. Also, I have no idea what to do with such prep winners as Wicked Style, who has raced exclusively on "new surfaces".

Last year, there was still enough dirt racing to judge, and rewards where found in such places as Street Sense's Juvenile.

Do you have any insight for this year? Forgive me if you have already addressed this.

Melissa said...

I think it's interesting that one of the main reasons tracks are switching to the synthetic surfaces is to prevent or at least reduce the occurrence of catastrophic injuries. Well, we saw two such injuries in two high profile races on Saturday over Polytrack.