There's this guy who loudly hawks what I thought was a tip sheet in the grandstand at Del Mar; for just 50 cents - "it's the cheapest thing you'll buy all day" - and that's for damn sure - "I got selections for all the races, just had the first two races, and how easy can it get?" Been listening to this spiel since we got here, so I figured I'd check it out. I figured for fifty cents, I couldn't be disappointed....but I was. What he's really selling is the local North County Times newspaper with the paper turned to the racing page with the selection box and the graded entries. There's some creative marketing that the newspaper industry needs these days. Maybe a guy from the NY Times could stand in Times Square promising all the inside dope on what to do in NYC for just two bucks (the cheapest thing you'll buy there all day) with the paper turned to the movie listings.
But I'm gonna get revenge by quoting from a story in the paper without a link (it's not online anyway). There was yet another fatality (different article) at Del Mar on Thursday morning, and that makes seven, six on Poly, four of those in the morning. However, Doug O'Neill, who has lost a horse here, was quoted in Thursday's article in the NC Times as saying that the track is "in great shape."
"The one thing I have learned from this experience is that I might get my horses down here earlier and get them used to the track. It's just a different surface than Hollywood Park. The horses dig into this track more. It's more demanding but it's safe."This is all a learning experience for the industry to be sure, and perhaps we're learning that it wasn't such a great idea to have such different surfaces in play. According to Del Mar's VP Tom Robbins, the trainers are not complaining about the surface. "The trainers would be hanging on my door, but they haven't asked for a meeting."
Track president Joe Harper said:
"It ain't the track's fault....There's not much we can control in the mornings. We can control it a little bit in the afternoons, but there are a lot of sore horses." [NC Times]That's the type of statement that could get the trainers to ask for that meeting after all. He's either blaming them for working out sore horses, or, perhaps, providing a commentary on the general state of the horse population in the third year of the synthetic mandate.
- I was going to pick Kiawah Cat in the Lake George at Saratoga today, but I see that it's all rainy and sloppy there. At this writing, it's the only grass race which hasn't been taken off, but that can change given a look at the weather map. We can debate the relative merits of Saratoga and Del Mar from here to next Derby day....but one might say "It's the weather, stupid." How many different ways can one say that it's just perfect out here every single day.....and I don't know if it's been at all so by local standards as there's been a fair amount of clouds around. It's damn near paradise as far as I'm concerned. And we still have today and tomorrow to go.
Your favorite lefty blogger has now had four winning days in four tries here on the left coast. On Thursday, a brief appearance in deference to the Head Chef's birthday, I managed to bail out on my last bet, cashing a saver exacta on the 7th which turned out to be pretty lucrative. I had Big Bad Leroybrown keyed on top, but the exacta returned a generous $61.80 when he fell short to class-dropping Paul's Hope ($8); and I had that enough times to get me easily in the positive column for the day.
- For those of you back in New York, some good music both upstate and down. On Saturday night, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs are at Northern Lights in Clifton Park, about halfway between Albany and Saratoga on the Northway as you probably know. The band will be fresh off an appearance at the All Points West festival this evening along with Vampire Weekend, Jay Z, The National, and Q-Tip, who I saw for free at Central Park a couple of weekends ago. And Polvo performs at the South Street Seaport in NYC tonight. Guess I need to add the weather permitting to that one.
Here, the Wailers will play after the card at Del Mar, which starts at 3 PM. They're all prepared with all the No Smoking signs, as they prohibit the lighting up of anything in an attempt to ban all the pot smoking that went on last year. I have to ask why, if there is a perceived problem with people smoking pot, they would possibly schedule no less than four reggae concerts for their Friday night series!? That's like announcing that you want to ban gambling, and then scheduling a horse racing meet.