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Saturday, March 14, 2009

Saturday Morning Notes - March 14

Meetmeatthechapel looked like he was gonna hang after swinging out to the four path for the stretch run; but he "took off," if that phrase is ever applicable to a final quarter of 27.13 in a mile race run in 1:41.20, after changing leads around the eighth pole and went "zooooming by," as John Bothe used to say. The son of Chapel Royal earned $19,800 for Kasey K, and was claimed for $25,000 by trainer Greg DiPrima. So, we claimed this horse for 20K on Feb 19, earned a total of $22,000 in purse money (he made $2200 for finishing 4th on 2/27; and to those who had something to say about that, in the words of Tina Fey, bite me), and picked up another 5G on the claiming transactions. All in the space of less than a month; if it was always that easy, people could actually make a living doing this. Not too sad to see him claimed either; he "has a knee," and, if you were paying close attention to this site, you knew that he bled rather significantly after his first race after the claim.

- Scott Lake filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization and told Bloodhorse: “For you to print something in your magazine about this is a classless move.” But it's pretty significant news when the nation's second leading trainer in terms of wins can't pay his bills.

The petition claims the trainer on March 4 had between $500,001 and $1 million in assets, and between $1,000,001 and $10,000,000 in liabilities.
The largest 20 unsecured creditors filed with the petition are listed with a combined $1,177,479 in claims, including those with a feed company and veterinary groups, among others. [Bloodhorse]
Whether Lake is really the 'canary in the coalmine,' as a couple of readers speculated, or a guy who just let his business become too far flung and out of hand, remains to be seen.

- Churchill Downs VP John Asher, speaking of ESPN's decision to dump its Kentucky Oaks coverage, told the Thoroughbred Times: “As I understand it, they’ve just decided to pull back a bit on the racing coverage." A bit? Last year, according to the article, the network, who just flat out lied when it told of its commitment to the sport when it signed up for the Breeders' Cup, had "a total of 11 live hours during Derby week, including an hour for the post-position draw on Wednesday and three hours on Oaks day on Friday." Now they're down to five hours on Derby day.

A typical Friday afternoon of ESPN programming might consist of a couple hours of Sports Center, and half hours of Jim Rome is Burning, NFL Live (yes, even this time of year), and the hideous Pardon the Interruption. So you see just how much of a priority racing is.

Meanwhile, the race will be televised by Bravo, which already had an Oaks day program scheduled, likely something along the lines of the Real Housewives of Louisville meets a Top Chef to find a Top Model to eat out (with) and shop for a Derby Day hat. And you laugh at me when I say that racing should be on Versus?


Anonymous said...

As for ESPN, unfortunately, no one watches and no one sponsors. That's a deadly combo. The network is willing to put racing on the air if tracks and farms are willing to subsidize production costs, etc...

In this climate, tracks are pulling back, blaming the network and hoping racing fans fall for it.

steve in nc said...

Congrats on Chapel. I ended up hitting the all button in that race because they all looked so flawed (not that this helped on a day like yesterday when players like me get left with empty pockets and a chalky taste in our mouths). I still think he'll be better off sprinting, unless of course, he can find more routes that bad. No longer your issue. You guys picked a sharp trainer to have on your team.

Anonymous said...

The NTRA and the Triple Crown should partner with HDNET. Maybe they could influence this channel, since it's owned by Mark Cuban, the NBA owner who is always open to taking risks, to offer free access on a select number of days throughout the year in which the bigger races are run. HDNET costs cable subscribers an extra fee, close to $5 a month in most markets. There is always the opportunity for people to just pay the monthly fee in which the races are aired. (That would correlate to Handride's micropayments model).

HRTV and TVG are virtually inaccessible to millions, since they are satellite delivered on the whole, not cable penetrated entities.

You would think Churchill Downs could offer people free access or show live video of preps for the Kentucky Derby on its site. No, instead, people have to open a wagering account and then pay at least $50 in the form of a wager to get access to video.

Does anyone believe that access to racing's marquee days is headed the premium way --- pay $19.95 or $29.95 to watch the whole days card on a pay channel all in part to racing not being on tens of millions of cable subscribers' platforms and lineups.

Anonymous said...

Nobody in the racing should be laughing at the idea of Versus carrying horse racing coverage that ESPN is unwilling and/or can't afford to air.

There was a good piece in this week's Sports Illustrated regarding Versus and how they've managed to build up decent ratings and demographics by picking the scraps that ESPN and the networks don't want.

SI reports that Versus' prime time audience has increased by 24 percent from 2007 to 2008, while the average age of its audience declined from over 50 (when it was still Outdoor Life Network) to 43 today.

After blowing its chance to create the Horse Racing Network (no, TVG and HRTV do not count, I mean a bona fide channel devoted to racing and racing news like the NFL Network or the Golf Channel), the NTRA needs to find a way to get Versus to pickup the coverage ESPN won't do.

And maybe Versus might get some real commentators instead of the buffoons that ESPN uses.

Anonymous said...

Lake gambles in the casinos like it was other people's money. he used to be an island player, now seen in AC as a regular. The new steroid regulations caused some real disruption in his "training" techniques. He put himself in this position, so may his exit from the game be expeditious.

Anonymous said...

Pioneerofthenile had to work for it. The second quarter was fairly slow. Did he get enough out of this race? Did he prove that he's in the caliber of I Want Revenge and Old Fashioned? The latter will show that he is the cream of this crop through Pool 2.

Anonymous said...

Scapegoat the accountant, oldest excuse in the books for not filing taxes.

If true that he has not filed or paid taxes this may just be the tip of the iceberg, may be sitting next to Madoff and the blind sheikh soon.

Just think of the publicity prosecuting a "leading horse trainer" will bring the regional DA.