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Saturday, October 27, 2007

Saturday Night Notes

- We're back at our hotel room, and staying the night. Getting ready for dinner in Red Bank, a very hip town, or so we're told. Tomorrow morning, we're planning to go to the Post Breeders Cup Press Breakfast, which is at the track. So if you have anything you'd like answered, let me know! And then, tomorrow on what is supposed to be a gorgeous day, we're going to go and check out the shore. All the times I've been at Monmouth, I've never been to the beach there. It's just a few miles away; almost like where the surf meet the turf. Before the last race, the paddock area was packed, the sky was clear blue, and the sun was shining off the back of Monmouth Park. I looked up, and saw people peering out of the windows of the sun drenched building, and it actually reminded me of Del Mar. I'd post a picture of it if I could find the damn camera cable, but it really did.

That was a great moment, the minutes leading up to a showdown of major proportions, the likes of which we rarely see anymore. The place was packed and buzzing with anticipation. It was really something else.

Like most of the other races conducted on the sloppy track throughout the day, many of the contenders didn't run well, and there was a lot of spacing at the finish. That's too bad, but what can you do? Well, you could postpone the races until Sunday if the weather is supposed to clear, right? I know it's logistically impossible. But, I guess you could if you really wanted to, right? A couple of people had mentioned it half-kidding towards the beginning of the week, but later I heard it suggested seriously.

Now, like everything, it's come to an end. But wow, what a day. Between the death of George Washington, and the mere fact that it's all over after all the buildup and excitement, I feel a bit letdown. I've been on cloud nine over the last few days, and the feeling built as the days wore on towards the climax. Walking around with my media pass, sitting in the pressbox with all the people who's stuff I always read, the seats on the finish line, the free food (and chocolate chip brownies)....wow.

Thanks to everyone who have made this a record week in my traffic here, and for helping out at the Breeders' Cup blog too.

17 Comments:

Matt G. said...

Alan, great to meet you this weekend. I agree with you completely on the post-BC letdown...it's going to be a long flight back to the west coast. Perhaps I'll see you at the breakfast tomorrow.

Cookie Jill said...

The "naming" opportunities really turned me off.

How can you say with a straight face that Curlin was a champion because he won the Powered by Dodge Classic?

And the Century 21 Winner's Circle?

I'm just curious how much money was paid out for naming.

John said...

Great job Alan and if memory serves, you owe me a beer. What do you say to a Coors lite at the Jim Dandy Bar next August?

David Hill said...

thanks for doing such a great job, alan. your posts about traffic and tickets encouraged me to haul my butt down there. we grabbed some good seats for $80 and managed to avoid all the traffic as well.

i feel a little let down as well, but im positive it was the weather. not just because of how it affected the races, but because it ruined what otherwise would have been an incredible day for the thousands of people who flew in for this like me. i met tons of out of towners including lots of people from my own town of denver.

anyway, thanks again for doing a great job.

Brett said...

I have that feeling of a letdown too. Two Breeders Cups, zero winning tickets. Yippy.

Mike said...

@ Jill: Please stop complaining about the naming rights. It's great that these corporation want to sponsor these races... at least they're interested and not ignoring.

Besides, almost every stadium in the country has a sponsor on the name... why not the stakes races in this sport?

David said...

Its so sad about George Washington. They lost Horaito Nelson last year, now poor Georgie. They must be sick to their stomachs.

Teresa said...

The naming rights have been sold for years; this wasn't the first BC to have sponsored races, and individual race names are sold all around the country: the Darley Test, the Shadwell Well, the Maker's Mark something, the Woodforde Reserve something.

Anyone remember when VO5 sponsored a race for fillies? Worked for me--until then, I had no idea that VO5 was still in business!

Steven said...

Great job Alan. Appreciate the hard work. I was one who suggested moving the races to Sunday. They move the World Series, INDY, NASCAR Golf. ESPN has nothing going on Sunday. Screw the NFL. I despise betting in the Slop.
Steven

Anonymous said...

Net Jets Mile. Like how many of the bums backing the sport fly that? Zero.

The same number of harsh sentences imposed for all the cheats.

It's etched in stone. Asmussen, Pletcher, Baffert, Zito, Dutrow, and Biancone have all been on the bench this decade for illicit drug use. Their sentences are the same as the ones for Major League Baseball. Sit down in the bullpen and will call you when the smoke clears, but there is no fire.

Anyone see what happened to the NBA ref for rigging games? He got a knock on his door from the FBI. In racing, what happens? "Oh, Mr. Biancone, please enjoy your 6 months on the French Riviera in between attending all the sales." We'll see him next year like we did this year. Oh, I forgot that wasn't him named next to NowNowNow.

I like Alan's writing. Always have. But I hope he comes out with some blog posts that note the winning trainers and their checkered and questionable ways. The same for the connections of Curlin. Anyone know what happened to the DeBartolo guy who owned the 49ers that won all those Super Bowls? The NFL told him to tkae a hike after his corruption was exposed. The Sales Integrity Task Force does nothing, stewards do barely anything, and the fans get nickeled and dimed. This does not even count the malarkey with NYRA or Stronach's abysmal record. Or Churchill Downs slapping the YUM! brands on the Derby. "The Vince Lombardi Trophy presentation brought to you by Cruex. Cruex zaps your jock itch like Brian Urlacher does a ball carrier. Available at your local Wal-Mart. "

If fans really cared about this sport in droves then we'd see a rallying cry for Curlin to be back and Hard Spun. And English Channel.

As for Coolmore, George Washington joins Landseer. Barbaro, Pine Island, Funfair are recent marquee horses to have met their demise on the big days. Fleet Indian was able to pull through.

Should we let Marion Jones run in China next year to vindicate herself?

Cookie Jill said...

Sure naming rights have been around...Marlboro Cup, etc. but now it is just "so in your face" and, quite frankly, "tacky."

Why not just have advertising stickers put on the horses like NASCAR cars and have done with it then.

But, at least today, we know who will be the early favorite for the YUM Brands Kentucky Derby.

Anonymous said...

Alan, enjoyed your BC real time blogging yesterday. It was really cool to keep up with your comments on the day and races, race by race. I finally camped in front of the tube in time for the BC Turf and was pleased to see the Toddster's English Channel come through. Not at all surprised by Curlin's big win in the Classic although disappointed by Lawyer Ron's 7th place. I was never a believer in Street Sense, especially after his Travers, and see him as just another example of a media created champion before the fact. And at 2-1, it was largely sentimental money on Calvin Borel, a fine jockey, who was gracious in defeat. It's really pathetic how the general sports media tries to invent story lines and make heroic superhorses out of average Grade I stakes horses. Curlin is your HOY and probably your 3 YO Eclipse winner as well. Congrats. /S/Green Mtn Punter

Anonymous said...

Alan,

Why are you censoring your comments section? There was long comment taken off of here that was an honest comment on racing.

Are you trying to protect your new found "reputation" ?

Mike said...

Anonymous,

I read that comment last night and it wasn't an honest comment on racing... it was a mean-spirited, negative rant that spewed hate-hate-hate.

alan said...

>>Why are you censoring your comments section? There was long comment taken off of here that was an honest comment on racing.

Are you trying to protect your new found "reputation" ?

I did NOT delete that comment!! The poster must have done so.

alan said...

Mike -

I agree that the comment was mean-spirited and negative. However, it was neither profane, personal, nor incoherent. So I want to make clear that I did not delete it.

Anonymous said...

Alan is not deleting comments. The comment was made in the Breeders' Cup live blog post.

Sorry, Mike, but that was a fairly accurate assessment of the racing industry.

Have you ever heard Zayat or Jess Jackson speak about their concerns? Zayat used a profanity when he told the Del Mar racing secretary he was yanking his entire stable because of the polytrack conditions. As for Jess Jackson, he is a guy that wants integrity in sales. I'm all for that, like I am for integrity during the training and running of races. It's absurd for trainers to weasel their way out of potentially harsh sentences when they are issues. What is another travesty is how jockeys can take their punishment when they want. For example, how many jocks have appealed for rough riding over the summer, then they take a week or two in the dead of winter when Aqueduct is running awful "racing." In the NFL, if you get caught with an illegal substance, you do 4 games -- PRONTO! Did you see how quick the punishment was for Bill Bellichik's cheating? It was swift, though it was a draft pick and not a loss on their games played record. That is similar to racing, however, in that Biancone and so many other trainers have been found to be using illegal performance aides. They get to take their 'pine time' when they see fit on the whole.

Medici Code also won a Grade 1 race this year and that horse was found to have been injected with something that wasn't supposed to be there on game day.

Contessa is currently serving time.

As for Curlin, did you hear Mrs. Cunningham praise all those trainers? Asmussen, Blasi, McPeek, Pitts. Three of them are supposed to compete against each other. Did McPeek enter his horse in the Travers with the intent of taking the starch out of Street Sense for the fall?

And what was going on with Frank Labocetta before his auto accident? He was found with heroin after he crossed the double yellow on a north Saratoga street and hit a van filled with a family.