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Saturday, April 04, 2009

All the Bad News

I noticed not a single word in the Times this week about the Wood Memorial, New York's main contribution to Derby fever, and, by far, the highlight of the spring racing season here (not that that's saying much). But ah, a story about neglected thoroughbreds sold for slaughter, complete with a disturbing photo and grisly details about puncture wounds and lice....and it's on the front page of the sports section. I'm not sure what Joe Drape and the Times see their role or function as, and I'm not saying that they have any obligation whatsoever to serve as publicists for the sport. On the contrary, a newspaper should report all of the news, whether positive or negative. But when it comes to racing, the New York Times is "All the Bad News That's Fit to Print Even If We Can't Find Any Space For the Good."


Jessica said...

It's as though the New York Times (or maybe just its sports editor) has an agenda ...

dana said...

I agree, on the one hand I think it's great that they're giving more mainstream coverage to the that story Paulick broke but on the other it would be nice to see it balanced out with a story on the Wood. Not sure what's going on over there but can't say that I'm digging it.

SaratogaSpa said...

..and just think in a few weeks we NY Times Columnist William C. Rhoden will parachute into the sport with a column on how cruel Thoroughbred racing is.

The NY Times is going the way of Sports Illustrated regarding Sports Coverage...and thats not a good thing

Sunny Jim said...

Hi Alan -

The Pick 6 hasn't been hit for the last ten Meadowlands harness cards and they are expecting a record million-dollar pool tonight. (And yeah, similar to the Times you would think the Star-Ledger would at least have mentioned this in a paragraph somewhere - Jersey racing also needs all the help it can get these days.)

A look at the card shows no strong, stick-out favorite but co-favorites up and down, which as you know happens a lot in the Saturday mile-track harness fields.

So mathematically speaking, it's an interesting scenario. The thing with the Pick 6 is that the $9 it costs to put 3 horses in each Daily Double race (for $1) or the $27 it costs to put 3 horses in a Pick 3 becomes exponentially prohibitive at $729 with 3 horses in each race of a Pick 6. And with no stickout favorite, chances are good that there will not be many winning tickets punched.

On his blog one morning last year, Paul Moran posted a $1,200 combination for six races when an Aqueduct Pick 6 had a similar large carryover. It won, with a $6,000 payoff. He did not actually place the bet, but it was nonetheless a pretty neat handicapping feat.


alan said...

By the way Dana, I noticed that, in the print edition, the story reads that "chatter began to make its way around internet message boards and blogs..," while online, it reads "chatter began to make its way around Internet message boards and blogs like the Paulick Report.." What's up with that?

Teresa said...

The lack of coverage for the Wood seems curious to me, given that the Times seems to have given more coverage (both positive and negative) to racing over the last few weeks than I would have expected, which has been a pleasant surprise. One day a couple of weeks ago, they had two stories on a Sunday, at least one of which was positive.

It doesn't surprise me that the Paragallo story is getting coverage, and I think that we can expect to see it break even further tomorrow.

What does surprise me is the way that the Times has ignored the Wood, unlike, fortunately, the News and the Post.

Brett said...

If you are Talamo, Mullins, or IEAH there is no bad news after race 9 at Aqueduct today.

IWR = one word "WOW!

dana said...

also interesting that the piece over at DRF totally ignores Paulick and acts as if the Times broke the story. would the Times have even covered it if wasn't for Paulick? well maybe, as Jessica points out it does seem like someone over there has an agenda.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for bringing this issue up. If the NY Times is going to cover horse racing, then they should do it correctly. When they covered the female jockeys the other day - they sent out a reporter that had NO CLUE about horse racing. I really dislike the approach Joe Drape takes to the game, appears all he's trying to do is take everyone down. Its sad how poorly the media respects horse racing.

o_crunk said...

Gee, you think they have an agenda?

I recently reread the piece Rhoden did after the KD last year.

I can not remember ever reading an op piece *condemning* an entire sport in the sports section itself.

I went back further in NYT's archives, just out of curiosity, to see how they covered Nascar's 'Eight Belles moment', the crash that killed Dale Earnhardt at Daytona and capped a run of 4 driving related deaths within a year.

There is not one piece, as far as I can tell from my search, that comes close the level of condemnation that Rhoden stirred up.

That said, I'm still glad they are carrying this story.

steve in nc said...

I think the Times is pretty prudish about betting and it leads to a view that racing isn't a real sport. If I remember from Steve Crist's book correctly, he wasn't supposed to bet when he covered racing, and people at the Times who liked him actively discouraged him from taking the racing beat because it was seen as no place for a talented reporter.

On the other hand, I have to agree with the Times that the Paragallo story is much more important for a general audience than the Wood or any race other than the Derby.

Joe Drape is also so much better than Joe Durso was. At least Drape makes his pieces interesting.

The racing world, including the leadership at NTRA needs to stop complaining about perceptions of the outside world and clean up its own house, rather than whining about how it is depicted. Right now, racing's critics, even if their attacks are ill-informed, are racing's only hope.

carolm said...

What's even stranger is that DRF and Blood Horse coverage of the Paragallo disgrace has been noticably absent. I love this sport but it's go to face up--and clean up--if it hopes to ever be viable.

Anonymous said...

IMHO Alan, you missed the boat on the NYT story - its more important than the latest star of this weekend's races. We are overbreeding NYBreds for NYB incentives to the point where they have to be disposed of.
How many are bred a year? How many horses become someones pet riding horse after 2 to 3 years on the track and a lifespan of 20 years? What happens to them? If we are killing them, let's admit it. In this case, humane death is better than starvation and injury. I've been following racing for 30 years and this article open my eyes. I'm glad it was printed.
Where is the outcry from the Jockey Club or NYRA or NYBreeders?

Anonymous said...

Can somebody answer this? Did security see Mullins giving an injection, or administering orally some cough medicine? The stories are very murky and unclear. Is it a syringe or a container with a plunger like I would think Air Power comes in. I wish somebody would get that cleared up as soon as possible. I really like the Paulick Report and visit it everyday. I feel that site has racing's best interest at heart rather than just dropping media bombs. But I sure do agree on certain major industry publications seemingly to ignore most matters of concern.