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Wednesday, August 31, 2011


I watched a fair amount of TVG this past weekend, especially on Sunday when we were huddled inside from Irene. I myself didn't notice any of the awful ads for their Fandicapping show that I wrote about a couple of weeks ago. Ken Rudulph, who seemed uncomfortable at best, and downright surly at worst, in that assignment, seemed quite happy to be back in the studio by the side of Frank Lyons, even if it sometimes appears as if Lyons is doing his best to tolerate him. So maybe the suits at TVG had second thoughts. (Or maybe I was just lucky enough to walk away from the set at the right times.)

I know Rudulph takes a lot of flak from posters in forums and on this blog...and sometimes from this blogger too. One thing I will say on his behalf though is that I think he can serve a useful role as the 'everyman' presence on the broadcast. In fact, I think the network should have him fully embrace that role and avoid any futile attempts to pass himself off as an expert on the level of his colleagues. After all, horse racing is a game that can be played on many different levels. That's one of the beauties of the sport. Not everyone is interested in the minutiae between and beneath the lines in the Form. And just because one might take it less seriously and take a more simplistic approach doesn't mean that they can't enjoy success and derive as much pleasure from the endeavor as us hardcore fanatics. Nor does it make them customers that deserve to be alienated or condescended to. So, a guy like Rudulph can provide some welcome relief for those who might be put off by the smug self-satisfaction of guys like Lyons, Carruthers, and even a guy like Paul Lo Duca who only fancies himself as knowing everything there is to know. That stuff can get really tiring too, even to an 'expert' like me.

By the way, I do adore Christina Olivares as you may know. However, when it comes to hats, she ain't no Jan Rushton, that's for sure.

- One quick mention for today's Saratoga card - in the 7th, Michael Matz sends out first-time starter Le Grand Artiste (12-1). This barn has four winners on the meet from only 15 starters....and two of those (winners at 7-1 and 27-1) are, like this one, two-year olds making their debut (from five started). This colt is by Grand Slam out of Theatrical mare, and he's a half-brother to the graded turf winner Kingship. As such, and given his rail post position, surely possible that Matz is looking down the road with this one. But seems worth pointing out in a race in which Mr. Style (6-5) figures to be a big favorite for the Toddster off a big Beyer earned in his debut, in which he sucked along for second in a track record breaking performance by the winner J C's Pride. Best of luck and have a great day.


Jackie said...

I watch way too much TVG mainly because it's my only option to catch the NY racing at home in NJ.

In regard to your suggestion about Rudolph, how many people are just watching TVG casually and want an "everyman's" opnion of the race? I don't know many people who don't follow horse racing seriously that just drop by TVG to catch a race or two. So I'm not sure if that idea really works unless it's on big race days when the casual fan might stop by.

Carruther's is a guy that I can see why people get annoyed with, but when he isn't on :58 Flat he is very good. Has some good points and sticks with his core values with all opinions. :58 Flat is when he goes into character and is annoying.

Mr. B is the absolute worst. He brings nothing to the table in terms of opinions. He is a West Coast guy that doens't follow the East Coast so I don't know why they have him on early for the East Coast racing. And he picks favorites in 85% of his picks.

I think Lo Duca is pretty informative. He might come off as cocky but I don't think he means it. He knows his stuff. A few weeks back I was at Monmouth after the racing was over and the track was empty. He was reading the Form and I casually went up to say hello. He was extremely nice, talked for a while and said to stop by and say hello next time I was around. If I didn't end the conversation I think he would've talked racing all night. The sport needs guys who the public already knows, maybe a few baseball fans see his name/face and watch a couple of races and get into the sport.

I enjoy Christina O and I like Michelle Yu a lot. They bring a different dynamic to the telecast.

Overall TVG is tolerable. They cater to the West Coast which is extremely annoying to a NY/NJ racing fan. Watching post parades instead of a live race from Saratoga is ridiculous and they need to change that.

steve in nc said...

I like your take on a lot of this, Jackie, especially on who is watching, and Carruthers & Mr. (ugh) B. But not so much on the female announcers.

I guess you don't have access to HRTV, but some of the women there, Conley, Ball and Jill Byrne, know a lot about racing and don't have to play cute like Michelle Yu.

As for post parades, I wish they'd show 'em live so you have a chance to see the horses at least a little and still have time to bet.

Alan, you're being very charitable to Rudolph, but charitable is a good thing to be sometimes. So anonymous dude who likes insulting me, could you be charitable and upgrade me to mediocre? Thank you.

Alan Mann said...

Jackie, thanks for the comment, great job. A fair point to be sure about who is watching TVG. But is it only casual fans who prefer a less wonky approach to handicapping?

Steve - yes, being charitable. Doesn't seem like a bad guy after all, lol. And at least I spell his name right too. :-)