I got to thinking today and said to myself, "Pocket, this whole California thing sure is cray cray. I wonder if people who don't follow the situation much even know what's what and who is who."
In the interests of public service, I figure I'd jot down this primer about California. I hope, when you see tweets, retweets, twitter spats, chat room discussions, emails, and whatever else, this might help you a little bit.
Here we go........
The CHRB - The CHRB is the California Horse Racing Board. They oversee a billion dollar industry and they are staffed by appointees. The CHRB was previously chaired by Keith Brackpool, but now it is chaired by David Israel. They have a meeting every month and it's streamed on the web where fans on twitter supply running commentary, which isn't overly complimentary. It's a big organization that has an ominous logo and releases press releases on Friday afternoons.
David Israel - This man, CHRB Chairman, has been in some twitter hot water lately for swearing or something in a meeting. Apparently his background was in sitcoms, which the cynical might say prepared him well for the CHRB. He also said something about racing competing with the Dodgers and the Giants during the takeout hike a few years ago, which to horseplayers made him Jeff Mullins in a suit.
Andy Asaro aka "Andymays", "Horseplayer Andy", or to his enemies "that a**hole" - Andy is an old time horseplayer from San Diego. Each time something happens in California, his email list - which I think now goes to 1.7 million people - is alerted. Andy is like a squeaky wheel and he likes to squeak a lot. I chat with Andy sometimes and he is nice to me now, but I think he called me a huge doofus like fifty or sixty times. He probably still does to his friends when I'm not around. It is rumored that Andy cannot walk because his skin is so thick, but it is only a rumor.
JERRY JAMGOTCHIAN - Jerry is seen mostly in two places: One, on the phone via his Paulick Report picture and two, writing amazingly colorful emails on the internet. He has html email's mastered, probably more than anyone in the history of the medium. He tends to be good chums with Andy because they are on the same side of things. Jerry - this is just a guess - eats at Burger King.
Mike Pegram - Mike Pegram runs the TOC. He's the President or something. He also owns a lot of horses. He made oodles of money in McDonald's which is why you see so many chicken Mcnugget references when people who don't like him talk about him. I think he and JERRY JAMGOCHIAN don't like each other. Horseplayers don't seem to like him much either, but then again, I don't think there's a horsemen group person who has ever been liked by customers and vice-versa.
Ray Paulick - Ray Paulick owns and operates the popular Paulick Report website, where people think most of its success came from guy named Brad Cummings; or so says my sources (Mrs. Cummings & Brad Cummings). Ray has been writing about the TOC, CHRB, and probably the NBA and the NSA too, but it's the former that's been getting most of the action. He has covered the Bob Baffert horse death story, which has endeared him to some, and not to others. Paulick likes walks on the beach and looks like Kevin Bacon.
Jill and Bob Baffert - Jill and Bob have been really getting slammed in the press lately, due to the death of several horses in their barn. Bob, who I think has had silver hair since Mike Pegram ate his first McNugget, can't get any greyer, but he sure seems to be. He was in a public spat with Ray Paulick recently and they don't seem to like each other anymore. I think some people don't like them, only because if you look at family pictures of them, they are all so damn good looking and happy.
Bo Derek - Ms. Derek is on the CHRB (above). She starred in some good movies like "10" but is likely most remembered for her kick-ass part in Tommy Boy. She says some things at CHRB meetings that get retweeted by horseplayers more than a 14 year old Sheboygan Wisconsin teen retweets Justin Beiber.
Joe Drape - Joe Drape has nothing to do with California racing. I just added him because if California racing implodes, people will likely blame him for it.
That's my California racing primer. I hope it helps you connect the dots and follow the intertwinings, spats, emails and press releases. The way it's going, this California story is a long, long way from going away.