Well, now that Wise Dan is out of the Breeders' Cup, he really isn't that interesting! Trainer Charles LoPresti said that the horse is a 'one' on a "lameness scale of one to five." That's surely a number at which a lot of horses run all the time; even top level horses in stakes races. But you can't blame the connections for not running him here.
"He's mad; he wants to go to the track."Well, that's interesting!
But so much for the Most Interesting Horse in the World videos. Despite my reservations about the wisdom of that ad campaign, it's a rough break for the people at America's Best Racing who commissioned them, and you gotta feel bad for them. However, it's another really good reason to not market this sport on the back of any particular horse, no matter how interesting - or brilliantly fast - it may or may not be. It's a betting game, how many times do we have to say that? I imagine that we won't see the remaining four installments of the series. And I don't think anyone will be crying in their beer about that.
- Also missing from the Breeders' Cup will be Mike Battaglia, unceremoniously dumped after 21 years working racing telecasts for NBC. Battaglia, who, according to DRF, has been making the morning lines at Churchill, Keeneland, and Turfway for 40 years, was a humbly knowledgeable presence on the telecasts. I wouldn't say he was indispensable. But he had a pleasant and unpretentious demeanor which no doubt made the occasional and non-race fans in the audience feel comfortable.
And the main problem I have is that it's not like he's being replaced with Serling or Maggie or Christina Blacker or some other bright racing presence. But rather, with Eddie Olczyk. Not that I have any problem with Eddie O......after all, he's on the Cup with the 1994 Rangers, he's a great hockey analyst and a nice guy. But he's a hockey guy. So I don't really understand what the thinking is here. It's not like it's peak time of the NHL season that he would be reaching a lot of people by promoting the event and his appearance during playoff games. (Mike Emrick already does a good job of setting him up to pick the Triple Crown races and promote those telecasts.) And while I'm sure he knows racing, it's not logical (nor a knock on him) to believe he knows as much as those who make a living in the sport.
I find that many times, a guy in this spot will go out of his way on a telecast to show everyone that he knows the sport and that he belongs; which leads to a strained and unnatural on-air presence. Let's hope that Eddie O can avoid that.