Here we go.
- Barry "the sheath" Irwin, after his colorful article in the TDN about Animal Kingdom being frisky before his UK clunker, is named Head Writer for all Stallion ads: This would make all those insufferable pop up ads watchable, with such Barry-like prose like, "As the mare entered the ring, Mizzen seductively raised his mast...."
- Gulfstream and Tampa Bay Downs begin working together: The sport needs the two tracks to become friends, for the good of the sport. As a first salvo, I propose that Gulfstream announcer Larry Collmus starts using Richard Grunderisms in his calls, in an olive branch of sorts. In the Florida Derby, for example, the first and second place finishers will be "heads apart" even if the margin of victory is four or five lengths. When a horse goes gate to wire, he should be "rationed along beautifully under Angel Serpa", even when its ridden by Joel Rosario. He may call Stopshoppingmaria, Shopstompingtomconners, with impunity. This is needed.
- On days Parx is cancelled for live racing due to unsafe track conditions, monster truck pulls are scheduled instead: Let's face it, these cancellations at Parx are really annoying for fans and horsemen alike. After all, what's more disappointing in the entertainment world than not being able to watch short fields battle in a bog of 30% takeouts on a grainy computer screen at Parx. But this sport needs to schedule something. Plus, there is a good chance there is some sort of crossover appeal between people who like monster truck pulls and those who pull a lever hoping to hit three cherries using no skill whatsoever. This can up purses, because as we all know, purses are not as high as they should be at the ever-powerful and appealing Philly Park.
- Driver Dunk Tank: Horses who have been kicked by kicking drivers get their due. A soccer ball is set up near a dunk tank and horses take their shot dunking drivers.If the commissions won't fix the issue, we'll let our four-legged equine friends have a shot at them. All the proceeds will go to horse retirement and supplying free eye exams for harness racing judges.
- Fashionista Peter Rotondo parlays the success of Horseplayers on Esquire Network into some new gigs: Let's hope the show takes off and we see Peter host shows like What Not to Wear at the Track, and What Not To Wear at the OTB and What Not to Wear when Sitting at Home Playing Twinspires.com, Brought to You By Twinspires.com. He deserves it, and it will help horse racing.
- More Cross Promotion by the Big Dogs: It's always been a lost marketing opportunity. Churchill CEO Bob Evans should be selling breakfast sausages to infielders at the Kentucky Derby. I've always thought that Frank Stronach should create an energy drink of some sort, and promote it surrounded by pretty bikini-clad women, too. Let's hope we see this in 2014.
- Andy Asaro and Mike Pegram bury the hatchet: This is long overdue. Instead of lawsuits, we need love. Andy has to get out of that San Diego apartment where I am pretty sure he watches the races on a 27 inch Westinghouse and emails everyone on dial up. Mike invites him to live in his guest house, with Andy paying rent by doing yard and pool work. Each evening they sit and chat about their differences and work out a plan that benefits California racing. If it succeeds, it might even spawn a reality show. The episode where JERRY JAM visits would be must-see TV.
TimeformUS hires some of my blogger and twitter buddies to work for them
- The ABR live magic bus rights a wrong and hires Sid Fernando for the year: It was a tremendously bad oversight; some smarmy kid with a video projector over Sid. Beginning this month, Sid takes his rightful spot on the ABR bus, blogging, tweeting to his 1.4 million followers and reviewing craft beer via his various Apple products. This has to happen.
- Paulick finally gives Cummings his due and renames the Paulick Report the Cummings Report: This has gone on long enough. Everyone knows that when he wasn't sending out spam emails asking for money for the Louisville GOP, Brad Cummings created the Paulick Report. Brad is no fifth Beatle.
- Speaking of Beatle's, Michelle Beadle is named lead analyst on all Fox Sports 1 horse racing broadcasts: This should probably not happen, but we need some entertainment on twitter and this could supply it for, say, all of 2014.
- NYRA's Maggie Wolfendale starts using the vernacular: I know the proper wording is "long barrel" or "goose rump", or "strong chest", but we need to jazz this up. "Eric, you could bounce a quarter off that mares ass", or "the seven horse looks like that Fat Bastard character on Austin Powers and won't run an inch", or "Animal Kingdom unleashed his sword" (sorry that's Barry Irwin) will keep viewers glued.
- Polarcritter Gets More Followers: Seriously, @Polarcritter is one of the best news dudes for horse racing, but he has like 200 followers. I bet Jeff Mullins would have more horseplayer followers if he was on there. Let's right this wrong.
- NYRA Hidden Camera: A new show appears on HRTV. The New York Daily News' Jerry Bossert carries a hidden camera and microphone while following NYRA CEO Chris Kay, capturing reactions of Aqueduct second floor horseplayers when Kay calls them "guests". I am pretty sure most of this show may be censored, but even bleeps can be real side-splitters.
- Pennsylvania horse racing announces a horseplayer signal fee tax to fix things, but then drops purses 5 percent at Penn National: Whoops, this one already happened.
- Gulfstream Park gets a new digital clock to time first quarters with constant run-up times, replacing their sundial and abacus: Although it's fun to see 26 first quarters followed by a 20 and three in a seven furlong race, we need to get this done. A new clock would probably - maybe not likely but probably - cost less than one of Todd Pletcher's ties. Let's roll..
- Speaking of Pletcher, in 2014 he will win the Kentucky Derby presented by Yum Brands (like Pizza Hut and KFC and a bunch of other restaurants) ®: I kid, I kid.
- Pull the Pocket Readership reaches a dozen per day: I feel it. After five or six years, I think I am finding my groove. In 2014, I will enter the lexicon of top horse racing destinations, like the Cummings Report. I will be eternally grateful.
From my family to yours, may I wish you all a very happy new year.