Monday, December 7, 2009

Some Stiffs and Some Tweets

Y'know when you go to form an opine on something and then get hit right between the eyes? This happened to me today. Last evening I was reading about the NTRA Survey on thoroughbred racing, and was struck by this metric:

Among core fans, 70% said they don’t believe there is “widespread cheating” in Thoroughbred racing—but that means three in 10 aren’t convinced.

I was about to write a post that this was too high, and the reasons why. I got busy doing a little pre-Monday work and did not get to it. Then I wake this morning to see this:

According to a report, a harness racing owner has been banned from the sport for 13 years after it was determined that he was found guilty of manipulating a race.

An article by the Herald-Sun states that Queensland harness racing stewards down under have banned the owner, Lucas Sullivan, and also disqualified drivers Jay Bellamy and David Turner for four years for not letting their horses run on their merits.

It seems these fellas were making some scores on off form horses. Nothing new there, but I would submit this is rare. With purses so high there is no reason for this any longer. But I guess to bury our heads in the sand would not be wise. Regardless, just when I was gonna write about something..... boom.

Next up: The R2 Collective had a post up today about a company which offers "tweets" from some celeb's about your product and service. Yep, for a few hundred bucks singer Leanne Rimes can tweet to her followers that your really awesome new broom kicks some major ass around the kitchen.

I wondered about this for racing; so let's talk harness. Who would be good celebs to promote harness racing via online mediums?

George Steinbrenner owned harness horses, including the very good Incredible Finale. He would be a good candidate. It would be funny to hear what he thought about the quality of drives his horses receive.

Also, Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman has harness ties. His dad ran Castelton Farms in Lexington for many years (among other things racing related).

Eddie Olczyk, the former NHL coach and player apparently bets some harness racing.

Former Leafs centre Mats Sundin is known for more than being traded for Wendel Clark. He owns Rotation, the really good trotter, and I think still owns horses.

Those are off the top of my head and I am sure there are many more, so add to those in the comments section if you guys and gals can think of some.

Speaking of R2, the very talented writer and journalist Claire Novak wrote a blog post about the project today on "Racetrack executives should take notice and bookmark this site; advertising and marketing managers should add it to their RSS feeds or a daily click-through part of the morning news routine. As various forms of social media develop, it will serve the industry well to remain up on the times – and R2 Collective will lead the way." It is darn nice to hear such positive things about the project. Thanks very much Claire!


NewHorizons said...

George Foreman, writer/producer Alan Kirschenbaum, and former Philadelphia Phillies pitcher, Dan Plesac are all active participants in the sport of harness racing. Foreman has been involved in the sport for many years, first as an owner, and in recent years, as a trophy presenter at the Hambletonian. Since 1991 he's owned more than 20 horses. Dan Plesac is now an accomplished standardbred owner and trainer, and Curt Schilling, major league pitcher for the Boston Red Sox, also owns horses. Other athletes who have participated in harness racing over the years; New York Jets wide receiver Wayne Chrebet, NHL superstars, Wayne Gretzky, Bobby Hull, Peter Forsberg, Tie Domi, Darren McCarty and Kris Draper. NBA stars Wilt Chamberlain and Sam Bowie. The Rooney Family, owners of the 2006 World Champion Pittsburgh Steelers, also owns standardbreds, and currently owns Yonkers Raceway in New York. Even the late NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt Sr. owned some harness racehorses. Former Mouseketeer Annette Funicello married into the sport when she wed longtime California trainer Glen Holt.

Teresa said...

Olczyk hit a Pick 6 not long ago--Derby day, maybe?

Paul LoDuca, MLB, owns horses in a partnership.

Rod Gilbert, ex-Ranger, was at this year's Wood to cheer on a Dogwood horse owned by a friend.

Bobby Flay owns a bunch of horses.

There must be others...

Pull the Pocket said...

Sheesh New Horizons, did you write a celebrity horse owner book?


Seriously, what a great memory you have for this. To think I forgot about Big George!

We won't mention Mike Vick, who I think had a horse for a short time.


CNovak1 said...

You're welcome! :-) And an idea for a future topic - or maybe you can just give me some advice here... how can industry figures attract followers on Twitter?

Pull the Pocket said...

Hey CN1,

I see you have 267 followers at , so I should be asking you for advice. You are getting close to Serling territory :)

I see some industry types, like youbets CEO and others trying to use the medium. That's good, but it does take work. One of the success stories in CRM is Jetblue because the girl they have running the account is really good, engaging, and they offer some neat stuff. Something bland like an airline one would think would be tough to gain followers, but she is really good, and 1.5 million people dont follow them for nuthin'.

Long ago someone wrote about how CEO's were wanting "websites so I can make money like Amazon" not knowing that it takes a lot of work. I think social media stuff is similar.

I'll follow your posts because I can see when you write something new (altho I have google reader for that). I was remiss at that before, even though I had read several of your articles and thought they were really good. It gives me an easy medium to follow you and that is a good thing for me where time is short and I can't seem to get to everything.

Good luck and thanks again!


NewHorizons said...

PTP~I always find your blog posts interesting and when I seen this one, it made me do some research! I'm just as curious as you, as to which celebs are involved in harness racing and no, I haven't written a book yet, but I am thinking of writing one about transitioning off the track standardbreds into a second career! :) Being a standardbred rescue and rehab, it made me think about how these same celebs that are involved in the sport, could become huge voices on how important it is to retrain and re-home these ex-racers. I know NASCAR's Tony Stewart is a huge supporter of Friends of Ferdinand (a not for profit rescue that re-homes off the track thoroughbreds) and he has been their biggest grantor thus far.

Pull the Pocket said...


That is interesting! Since it is charitable and such a good cause I wonder if a Facebook group or something would be an alright idea. If people like Tony S and others saw it, and if they are passionate about horse retirement like you say, sometimes only a little push is needed. They might donate a thing or two for an Ebay auction, for example, with proceeds going to retirement homes.

Anyhow, thanks for your research. I had no idea some of these folks were involved with racing.


Pull the Pocket said...

PS: Another one I remembered was Teri Hatcher. She is a horse bettor. There was a story some time ago about her using odds to teach her kids math problems.


NewHorizons said...

PTP~I went to the '06 Kentucky Derby and I seen Gene Simmons (from the band KISS) and heard he was a HUGE race fan, apparently he's there every year! I also worked at L'hippodrome Blue Bonnets in Montreal back in the late '80's and I remember seeing several of the Montreal Canadians at the racetrack checking in on their horses; Ryan Walters, Chris Chelios and Petre Svoboda (sp?)

E-bay auctions are a great way to donate to charitable organizations. I remember seeing Zenyatta's owners donate one of her halters and a couple of her horse shoes, with great success!

Deweycheatumnhowe, Somebeach, and Gallo Blue Chip's owners also offer scholarships to highschool students of licensed owners, trainers and drivers who participate full time or part time in harness racing. I thought that was cool!

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