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Sunday, May 03, 2009

A Chip Off The Old Dick

NBC, which spent the first half of the Derby telecast hyping its Bravo network (nice to see Stefan get a little revenge) and its Sunday Night Football telecasts (did you know that the Giants, with their QB Eli Manning, open up the Cowboys new stadium on NBC on September 20?) (and that there was a tornado at the Cowboys' practice facility?), caught lightning in a bottle by picking out winning trainer Bennie ("Chip") Woolley Jr. for one of its walkover interviews before the race. There, we got the story of Woolley's gruesome-sounding foot injury that had him on crutches, and his 21-hour journey by van from New Mexico...at least until Woolley had enough of that talk. So, after the initial shock of Mine That Bird's win, I thought, 'oh yeah, that grubby looking guy with the crutches! He won?!?'

During the post-race interview in the infield, when Kenny Rice brought up the marathon journey again for those who might have tuned in just for the race, Woolley snapped something along the lines of: "Maybe now people will ask me about something else!" and brusquely walked away. This guy, who previously had a grand total of one winner on the year, had just won the Kentucky Derby, and he still couldn't seem to help himself from being a dick. Get used to it, bub. (We'll give him partial redemption for later giving a shout-out to the horse's original trainer David Cotey.) Oh great, we have to look at this guy's mug for the next two, or five weeks, whenever they decide he's ready to run again and the horse finishes far up the track? "The farther he goes, the better this horse is going to be," Woolley said. My butt. If he runs in the Belmont, he'll be so far back in the stretch that he'll make Big Brown's effort look good.

14 Comments:

Anonymous said...

It is a little strange that we still do not really know when this horse began to improve...

dana said...

I don't know, his reaction made me laugh. How annoying it must if be for a guy from nowheresville to have to deal with the idiocy of the media constantly asking him the same thing over and over again while probably condescending to him as if he just rolled out of a garbage can.

They did the right thing with the trainer shout out and Barbaro tribute of the roses. Compare that to last year where the connections gave good media but left the roses in the infield to go party. I'll take this year every time.

DiscreetPicks said...

I posted these thoughts on another forum under the heading "Value on Mine That Bird in the Preakness?"

The thing I've most noticed since the race is how everyone seems to be talking about how shocking and implausible Mine That Bird's win was, rather than focusing on his performance. I mean, the horse ran great, and he's getting ZERO credit for it. None. And he won by almost 7 lengths...

Most likely he just flipped out in the mud. I've heard drugs being mentioned as a possibility, but if this guy were in the business of "performance enhancement", he wouldn't have such a woeful record (1-for-32 on the year before Mine That Bird's win).

Just for the record, Mine That Bird's winning margin is greater than those of Barbaro and Big Brown, two horses who went into the Preakness as prohibitive favorites. Granted, they both possessed FAR better race records than does Mine That Bird, but the fact remains that Mine that Bird ran just as well in the Derby as either of those two horses.

Btw, it'll be interesting to see what kind of Beyer figure Mine That Bird receives. My guess is it'll be far lower than if Dunkirk had won by 7 lengths.

Valerie said...

Careful, Alan. Your East Coast liberal elitism is showing :)

Jim L said...

Mine That Bird winning was equivalent to the woman singer from England becoming a star.

It's a great story.

For the conspiracy theorists, there is the slightest of thinking that Mine That Bird's win is like Volponi's in the BC Classic earlier this decade. Volponi's improbable victory led to the Drexel boys' winning Pick 6 ticket, which consisted of the all-button in a number of races and the exact winner being selected in a race or two.

Seeing that nobody hit the Pick 6 on the Derby card, it's certain everything is legit.

The only thing missing from Mine That Bird's romp was Al Michaels not holding Tom Durkin's binoculars.

The question everyone may have been wondering was what would have happened if Dunkirk had pulled off what is historically equivalent to Mine That Bird's win. Dunkirk would have equaled in racing history something that dates to the late 1800s! Since Wait A While was ruled as racing in the Breeders' Cup with illegal medication, would anyone have thought Pletcher pulled a fast one?

Anonymous said...

How about Durkins (non) call.

Worst Derby performance ever?



-Morris Tobey

Anonymous said...

Agree with dana. Not everyone needs to play along with the bs. I think this group is refreshing.

jk said...

http://tinyurl.com/ctekzq

Long Isand's OTB's hold the losing ticket in court

Nassau and Suffolk OTB’s, which were part of a lawsuit started five years ago to lower their payments to harness tracks, finished out of the money in the state’s highest court — and now face a nearly $10-million bill at a time when the handle is way down.

A state Court of Appeals ruling in December will cost the state’s six OTB’s about $30 million. Nassau’s share is about $6.5 million, and Suffolk’s share, $3.2 million.

snip

Anonymous said...

They say that after a race down in Cajun country, five or six buzzers are found lying on the track after the finish line.

Anyone remember Rockamundo in the Ark Derby? Think he might have been plugged in?

Michael said...

Kenny Rice knows racing and knows that a majority of the NBC audience on Derby Day is made up mostly from folks who think Lasix means the horse got eye surgery.

Woollery's story is what most of the audience wants to hear, until he acts like an ass on national television.

This isn't the Sunland Derby.

Anonymous said...

Given the unctuousness of Kenny Rice and the NBC people, he had every right to tell them to stuff it.

And seeing no sheiks or hedge funders in the winners circle was worth every penny I lost on this race.

alan said...

>>Given the unctuousness of Kenny Rice and the NBC people, he had every right to tell them to stuff it.

For one thing, I personally find the ESPN crew to be far more unctuous than anything we saw on NBC.

Secondly, I agree that he had the right to say anything he wanted. But hell, I mean, this was without a doubt the high point of the year in terms of the public watching....couldn't he put his own feelings about the questioning aside and put on a happy face instead of acting like a rude jackass? I would think he could have shown the same respect for the sport that he later did when he went to the Barbaro memorial.

>>And seeing no sheiks or hedge funders in the winners circle was worth every penny I lost on this race.

Agreed. Only a guy connected to a corruption scandal this time.

Erin said...

I agree with Alan here. If you can't be happy after winning the Kentucky Derby with a 50-1 shot, when can you?!

And really, what else would one EXPECT from the media at the Derby?

I'd have taken anyone over that black-capped cowboy with the poopy pants, bar Iavarone or the sheikhs.

Anonymous said...

Tobey,

I agree. What was up with Durkin's call? I thought it was some sort of tape delay issue, but he didn't see or acknowledge Mine coming up the rail until the horse was already 2 lengths in front. He also seemed to be out of breath the entire call as well as if he was about to keel over.

I thought it was odd that NBC dubbed over the new track announcer at Churchill with Durkin. What an insult to the announcer at Churchill. Here he calls the greatest race ever but no one can hear him except those at the track.