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Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Blanket Blue Grass Coverage

- I mentioned that TVG was touting their upcoming Blue Grass day coverage, and I got a press release with further details:

24 cameras will be on location to capture every angle of the racing action, more than four times as many cameras as a typical on-track production. Jockeys in the Blue Grass will wear TVG’s All-Access wireless microphones allowing viewers to hear the sounds of the race from their perspective. Real-time tracking technology with the Trakus system will enable viewers to easily identify and follow their horses throughout the race. TVG will also debut state-of-the-art, in-race graphics, including Orad’s TrackVision technology which is similar to the “yellow line” graphics used in football games to highlight the first down line. The TrackVision technology will highlight the finish line, 100-yard markers and the racing lanes in the event of an inquiry.
Must be a lot of pent-up creative energy at TVG after their bleak winter months, and it certainly sounds as if they'll be letting it all hang out on Saturday. Maybe they'll even give us a break from 58 Flat, a show which I'm not at all opposed to under most circumstances, but I find that it can break the momentum when TVG is on a roll, as it was last Saturday at Keeneland. With 24 cameras, I'm sure that TVG can follow Carothers around the grandstand all day!

The real-time tracking with Trakus referred to in the release is the running order of the entire field that you see at the bottom of the screen at Keeneland, and I maintain that that's the single biggest advancement in race video since color TV. It should be standard fare at every track in the country.

And as Glimmerglass pointed out, the race is indeed exclusive to TVG; the ESPN broadcast will be on delayed tape. Hopefully that doesn't mean that it's going off at the same time as the Arkansas Derby...

- Pletcher told Tim Wilken of the Albany Times-Union, "We are struggling right now." The Toddster had five horses break from the Derby starting gate last year, but he'll be hard pressed to have a single one come May 3.
None of his horses is among the top 20 Derby contenders, a list based on graded-stakes earnings. His top earner, Atoned, is 22nd.

Atoned, fourth in Saturday's Illinois Derby, has $130,000 in earnings. Pletcher's Cowboy Cal, scheduled to run in Saturday's Blue Grass at Keeneland, is 34th on the list ($57,660) and Monba, owned in part by Duanesburg's Don Lucarelli, is 36th ($50,000). Monba also could show up in the Blue Grass, which carries a purse of $750,000, 60 percent of which ($450,000) goes to the winning connections. [Times Union]
- Layoff notices will be going out to NYC OTB employees this week.
“New York City OTB plans to close down on June 16, right after the Belmont Stakes,” said Dan Wray, the firm’s director for legislative affairs. “We’re hoping in that short time span that the Legislature seriously deals with these issues.”

Layoff notices are going out this week, because workers must receive them by April 17, to give everyone 60 days’ notice before a shutdown occurs.

“We don’t believe that’s going to happen,” said Scott Reif, a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno, R-Brunswick. “We are actively seeking a state remedy.” [Saratogian]

9 Comments:

Steve D said...

First off, I have to address TVG: This is overkill! The Blue Grass is a prep for the Kentucky Derby. This is antithetical to TVGs mission and calls into question their entire existence.

The primary complaint about network tv coverage of racing is that you invest one hour of your time to see one race. TVG's job is to transmit information and coverage of as many races as possible from the major tracks. A few days ago, I watched them ignore the paddock and the post parade of two races while they hyped their coverage of the Blue Grass, which was more than seven days away!

Secondly, don't count Pletcher out. Monba has won over the Derby track, and was close behind everybody's now horse Colonel John in the Hollywood Futurity. He got molested on the first turn of the FOY and could be an upset winner on Saturday, which would make him a reasonable choice going into the Derby. I'm jealous of my friend who has a future ticket on him at 85-1.

Michael said...

I got the press release too and haven't mentioned it yet.

I think it's funny how after the Lexington Stakes TVG will be like "Derby? What's that..."

My wife also liked that they were giving so much attention to the Ashland with the other three Derby preps in the hour, until I explained to her that it wasn't b/c they've bought into the ideas of filly racing, but instead was because Keeneland was the only exclusive track they had with a major race that hour.

DC said...

Regarding the Pletcher 3yo's, i would keep an eye on Behindatthebar. Decent chance he'll be entered in the Lexington, and could make a late splash on the Derby scene.

Nick said...

I agree with Steve. TVG is terrible about talking nonsense when they could be showing races. I've seen it happen way too often where the next race is a few minutes to post and it ends up being shown 15 minutes later on tape as the stretch run only.

My other big TVG pet peeve (and Schrupp seems particularly terrible about this) is feeling the need to talk up until the last possible second before the gate opens. Half they time they end up talking over the break. Just turn it over to the track announcer already!

alan said...

The Blue Grass is really the only major Derby prep, with the arguable exception of the Tampa Bay Derby, that they get to televise...including the Derby itself! So little wonder that they're pulling out all the stops here.

Glimmerglass said...

The overkill aside - it should be a good race with a very solid cast of characters.

It was interesting to see that the Lukas/Whitney entry, Stone Bird, pass on the Arkansas Derby for this more deep field.

As an aside, I've read twice now that Tomcito's connections are going to do the Lexington Coolmore Stakes next weekend to ensure they have enough graded money for the Derby.

Steve D said...

TVG should take the money spent on the broadcast, spend it on altering their business plan, align with Churchill/Magna, and all of them could start putting out a product that can make hardened, loyal horseplayers like myself give a shit again.

Ernie said...

I like the microphones but 24 cameras---24!---will this include the Testicle Cam?

Anonymous said...

The number one thing needed, okay, in addition to Trakus, is HD. Plain and simple, HD! I watched the coverage on NBC last weekend and everything in HD is terrific.

I could do without the Mike Battaglia and others views. Hank Goldberg's bankroll is another gimmick. Yes, I know this is NBC, not TVG. That might be the other major thing needed -- push TVG to as many cable operators as possible, not just people with the sat dish.

Racing needs life. It needs an injection, not the like of cobra venom into a horse, but for people to care. I was thinking of Smarty Jones today. Retired at 3 following his Belmont loss. The big day of racing is known as the Breeders' Cup, but its the damn breeders who have ruined the sport with their penchant for wanting the stars of present retired tomorrow, as in the day after a loss. Even the Darley crew could have let Street Sense stick around after buying him off of Tafel.