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Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Let's Make Some Deals

- Murray Chass, the veteran baseball writer for the NY Times, writes today on the poor TV ratings for the World Series this year, and offers a few ideas, including:

Have fans predict the outcome of the World Series via the Internet, and give fans who pick the winning team two tickets to a game of their choice the following season. Fans would watch the games as if they had placed a bet on them. Ratings would rise.
Well, I don't know if that specific idea would be practical, as it's fair to say that they'd end up giving away far more tickets than some teams sell all year. But the concept is, as we've been ranting about here for some time, a total natural for televised horse racing. It's right in front of the industry's nose given the involvement of ESPN and all of their various media outlets.

Baseball is over all the papers these days with the winter meetings underway, even though nothing of note has transpired (other than 3rd and 4th starters signing for upwards of $10 million a season.) Still, with anticipation for trades keen, the meetings are all over the sports sections, and perhaps racing should pay attention. There's just nothing going on in the sport now at least until Santa Anita opens, so why not have the tracks take a break, and convene an annual winter meeting of their own.

It wouldn't be a bad idea for racetrack executives to get together and exchange ideas, talk about coordinating post times, share notes on synthetic surfaces. They may be competitors for horses and handle, but they mostly all carry each other's product, and they're certainly in this together in many respects.

But what really would be great if the trainers would come too and, like in the baseball meetings, make trades.
NTRA announced today that Todd Pletcher has traded three-year old filly Wait A While, juvenile colt Scat Daddy, and jockey John Velazquez, to Patrick Biancone, for four-year old filly Gorella, young jockey Julien Leparoux, and a horse to be named later.

In a minor deal, Declan's Moon, the 2004 juvenile champion, was dealt for a 9th day pick at next year's Keeneland September Yearling Sale, the exclusive media rights for the 2008 NYRA Media Guide, and Funny Cide.