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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Kegasus Rules

One thing's for sure; nobody's gonna mistake this guy for Thor.

I know a lot of people hate this stuff, feel that it's way too tacky and bush league for our hallowed game. Joe Drape writes in the Times:

But for many, however, Kegasus is a vulgar attempt by a desperate Maryland Jockey Club that lost more than $25 million from 2007 to 2009, and needs as much revenue as it can squeeze from the Preakness after taking $5 million from the Maryland State Assembly this April merely to keep its doors open. [NYT]
Yeah, what exactly is the problem with that? Everyone knows what the financial situation at the track is. Fact is that this really has little, if anything, to do with racing, marketing it, attracting new fans, any of that. It's all about selling as many $50 infield admission tickets (they were $40 before this week) and $70 MUG club memberships (up from $60) as possible (bigger mugs than last year, and twice as many taps). Most of those people won't be paying any attention to any races other than, perhaps, the Preakness, at all. The racing is obviously not the idea considering that the final musical act, one Bruno Mars (who I won't bother ridiculing since I don't know what he sounds like, though I can pretty much surmise that he sucks), is scheduled to play until 5:30. And there's a full slate of wimpy pop bands throughout the day, a Jaegermeister cornhole tournament (you throw a bottle of Jaeger at the cornhole?), a bikini contest, and volleyball games with women in bikinis so the drunk guys can watch their breasts bob up and down rather than explore the endless possibilities and lucrative potential of the late pick four. No wonder ticket sales are up by 17% from last year.

And even if Kegasus was an attempt to market the sport itself, what's the big deal? Nothing else seems to work. As MJC president Tom Chuckas said: "“We have two aging racetrack facilities and declining revenues....We can’t operate like we have in the past."

And besides, look and listen to this guy, he's a riot, lighten up...

...though I do hope he's getting paid well.

- In actual Preakness news, Animal Kingdom is said by his connections to be doing fabulously, with extremely strong gallops, once over a sloppy track and the other on Tapeta Footing, at the Fair Hill training center. Of course, unlike before the Derby, we don't get the expert and objective workout observers for the Preakness. Where's Mike Welsch? At Calder. So I guess we'll have to take their word for it. Makes sense that he'd be sharp; as I've said, I don't think the Derby was that hard of a race for him; and he should be pretty fresh, having made only three starts this year, two in the eight weeks preceding the Preakness. (The Sheets guys think he's gonna bounce.)

No Nehro, he'll wait for the Belmont after finishing second for the third race in a row. He did however, build on his string of improving Beyers, with a 99. He's not a distance horse by the dosage numbers, with a DI of 4.33.

Midnight Interlude is in after a strong workout. I liked him in the Derby, but not at all here. Not like he was too far back from the slow pace; just 5-6 lengths through the first two calls, and faded steadily from there. On the other hand, the pace was so aberrantly slow, maybe you throw the whole race out and start all over again?


Anonymous said...

I was waiting for the inevitible Kegasus posting. Put me squarely in this beer-swilling bozo's corner. Pegasus is f'n hilarious. Hope we see some great youtube footage of the 2011 Preakness infield. As for the Preakness, it's a match race between Animal Kingdom and Mucho Macho Man. -jp

El Angelo said...

The righteous indignation in that article is hilarious. The Preakness has *always* been about drinking and partying by college kids in the infield. The track has decided to make some more money off of it. What the hell is wrong with that? It's not like there's any grandeur or pomp surrounding Pimlico that they're detracting from.

Figless said...

At least one owner has some class, or at least a good PR person;

"I want to be super-cautious. I want to keep him happy and healthy for the rest of the year. We are in a great position to have a horse who can run in these classics. We will point now for the Belmont, God willing."

Zayat said he conferred with trainer Steve Asmussen, assistant trainer Scott Blasi, and exercise rider Carlos Rosas about Nehro. He said both he and Asmussen were "wavering" on whether to run. Nehro has run three times in the last six weeks. The Preakness would have been his fourth start in eight weeks.

"He's a nice horse. We want to protect the horse," Zayat said. "Another goal we have is the Breeders' Cup Classic, since it is at Churchill Downs and he ran well there in the Derby. He loves Churchill Downs. This is the best decision for the long term, even though it would be a privilege and an honor to be in a classic race like the Preakness."

Figless said...

Count me among Kegasus supporters, at least Pimlico tells it like it is instead of pretending 160k turned out for racing.

I spent three Derbys and one Preakness in the infield and found the Preakness way more civilized, but of course this was a few years back.

By the way, I was younger then but I enjoyed the unicivilized Derby more. I did manage to make a few bets, in fact it was easier to wager in the infield than the grandstand since I seemed to be in the minority in actually realizing there were horses racing.

Anonymous said...

I like Animal Kingdom and will use Midnight Interlude and Sway Away and Mucho Macho Man with him. I think Baffert's decision to change riders on his horse is a good one.

Christina said...

I spent the last decade in the Preakness Infield chasing the triple crown. When (if) we get one I will be returning to Derby every year but will never go to the Preakness again. At Derby there are safe areas, you can get off of turn 3. Prior to 09 Preakness there was no where to hide. You were just in the shit. And the possibility of getting hurt by flying beer cans or a drinking angry person weaponizing a folding chair was just too high. MJC did the right thing by trying to keep the whole Preakness milieu but trying to clean the place up with a byob ban. As hokey as kegasus is, its like the MJC is saying its ok to get drunk and have a good time. Its not ok to get so drunk that you cause anytype of bleeding open wound on your fellow infield goer. Got it MJC and I appreciate your attempts to walk a fine line. Although I'm still not coming back to Old Firetrap after I see a triple crown (until they move the Preakness to Delaware or better yet, Monmouth.)

I'll wait until after the draw to comment on Preakness. I ain't got my sheets yet. But as all other years...I am firmly in the corner of Animal Kingdom as his win entitles us to have a 3 day rager 3 weeks from now in NYC. I've got over 20000 driving miles into this triple crown. Can't we just get one?

Anonymous said...

So I guess my theory that Joe Drape was Kegasus is out the window?

Or maybe not. It's not as though the Times is particularly concerned with his credibility. Or lack thereof.

Basset Certification said...

A Jaegermeister Cornhole Tournament is ok than the that guy. Anyway I gotta give him some credits.