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Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Watching TVG

- Saw a few races from Turfway tonight, and the kickback is definitely reduced; no more than on a normal dirt track it seemed. Last year the horses looked like Pig-Pen going over that track. I saw a close-up of the stuff on TVG today. I sure wouldn't want that crap going into my lungs.

- It wasn't quite Stevie Wonderboy, who was dazzling when he circled the Del Mar Futurity field last year, but Horse Greeley (Mr. Greeley) - and I personally could do without horses with Horse in their name - was pretty impressive in today's edition of that Grade 2 juvenile stakes. He was solidly knocked sideways coming out of the gate, but quickly recovered en route to a 1 3/4 length win over favored Great Hunter, in a time of 1:22.93. That's exactly a half second slower than Stevie's race last year, and remember that Stevie was a zillion wide after rallying from far back.

- With ABC under fire for its planned telecast of "Path to 9/11," a two-part miniseries in which a conservative screenwriter just made shit up, one hopes that Trevor Denman, hired by sister network ESPN to call the Breeders' Cup, won't be compelled to blame Bill Clinton if a horse breaks down.

But seriously folks, we at Left at the Gate are big fans of Denman. He showed his stuff during Del Mar's 7th race tonight. Detention was down on the rail behind the leaders turning for home. "And let's see, can Imitation get room? Imitation, white-face on the rail desperately looks for somewhere to run!" That's the type of detail that would go over very well in a crowded Breeders Cup field with, presumably and hopefully, many new fans watching this year on ESPN. I think a new voice for a new network isn't a bad idea, and Denman still sounds as fresh as he did a decade ago.


Anonymous said... know that Horse Greeley is a play on Horace Greeley (he who coined the phrase "Go West, young man"). I thought it was clever....tho not as awkward as Esroh (horse spelled backwards), the name of one of the unfortunate steeds who broke down at Del Mar this meet.

Alan Mann said...

Oh, er...SURE! I knew that! :)

Anonymous said...

Made shit up? You mean like Dan Rather?

Btw, i completely glossed over the Horace Greeley reference myself.

As for the race, i regret to say i missed it. I did listen to the audio feed, however, i had no idea Horse Greeley had suffered a gate incident. That makes two horses in a row who have overcome gate incidents to beat Great Hunter, Principle Secret being the other. I'd have to say the result flatters Principle Secret, as that one easily had the measure of Horse Greeley in their debut run, ditto for his stakes win vs. Great Hunter. Incidentally, i was very surprised Great Hunter didn't win this one. I thought he was the best horse in the race, he was drawn perfectly, and had trained well coming into the race. Nothing to fault except his price. 3 seconds in a row, you've gotta start to wonder about his willingness to win. That said, he ran into some outstanding horses in his last two, not really his fault. Very surprised he couldn't handle Horse Greeley though. 1:22 4/5 is fine, but not really smokin'. Not at Del Mar, anyway.

Btw, i read something recently about Principle Secret pointing to the Norfolk. I guess Belmont is out. Still no word on EZ Warrior, who supposedly is back in light training, but hasn't hit the worktab yet.

Anonymous said...

Oh, btw, i totally agree that Denman does an exemplary job, and will be great for the Breeders Cup. Best race-caller in the biz, and i don't think it's particularly close. Never been a big fan of Durkin's, i don't understand the appeal. He's okay, does a fine job, but i just don't know how he became "THE" voice for horseracing. Probably has something to do with him calling races in New York. Glad to see Denman will be calling the Breeders Cup now, and into the forseeable future. He deserves it.

Alan Mann said...

>>Made shit up? You mean like Dan Rather?

Walter, Steven D is the only reader with permission to disagree with me here when it comes to politics. :) Besides, Rather didn't make it up. Somebody made it up for him.

What happened to EZ Warrior?

Anonymous said...

Glad to see Walter on my side! While the ABC special will likely land on my side of the political fence (that's a little surprising in the first place), I dislike seeing "dramatizations" supposedly based on fact. What's true and what's false? What's exactly fact-based and what has been embellished? Either it's entirely fact-based, or I have to be skeptical of the whole thing.

Perhaps that's the part of horse racing's appeal to me...straightforward, all fact, and when they light the official sign, I've either got it or I don't.

Anonymous said...

By the way, Alan, fantastic job on Racing Saratoga. Don't recall reading any of your thoughts on the length of the meet. Any feeling that a scale back to five weeks would be better?

Anonymous said...

EZ Warrior has "sore shins". I suspect that's why Baffert is looking @ Belmont, because the surface is deepere and more forgiving than Santa Anita's will be. He took a similar route with Roman Ruler, who suffered from foot problems. Incidentally, you could see Roman Ruler's foot problems coming from a mile away, as that one was a half-brother to El Corredor, who was notorious for his foot problems. Interestingly, i was speaking with a friend of mine from California the other day, and he suggested that perhaps Baffert was being overly cautios with EZ Warrior right now, based on what happened to What A Song last year, and all the training mishaps that have occured @ Del Mar over the summer. I hadn't thought of that, but it makes perfect sense.

Alan Mann said...

Thanks Steve D. I can deal with the six weeks, but I'd move it up and end it the Monday before Labor Day. Then you could open Belmont with a bang - or at least a pop, anyway - over the holiday weekend.