When racing makes news it shows, for both insiders and newbies, it's still alive.
Churchill Downs Inc. is often criticized in our sport. Being a public company it must focus some of its activities on growing the business for shareholders - and that means trying for more and more gaming. In addition, horsemen are not overly thrilled with the twinspires platform because to several of them, the internet is a bad place for bettors; all of the monster rake is not paid to purses. However, the world is what it is, not what we'd like it to be and Churchill is living within the new reality.
Saturday at their flagship track a night opener was tried and it was successful. Events like this can not work everywhere, but in a place like Louisville a week before the Derby, it can. The Kentucky Derby can be expanded to "Derby Week" quite easily with promotions and ideas like this.
Churchill, although focusing on many issues for their business, knows the Kentucky Derby brand is a money-maker and they are promoting this event like no other in racing. Their twitter feed, media liaisons, press releases and more are all top-notch. I saw someone tweet the other day that it's interesting to see the energy for the event and that 'people are unaware racing even happens' the other days of the year. That is not necessarily a bad thing. Luge happens once every four years, but the Olympics is not too bad an event, is it?
Say what you want about CDI (and I am no shill; I am as critical as anyone on the blog about them in some instances), but they try as hard or harder to push the sport of horse racing than any track in North America.
Carryovers are the bomb. Calder, who has had some trouble getting interest in their product, had a great day in their carryover pick 5 yesterday with $100k bet. 12% is good value. 12% with a $25k carryover is a must-play.
Pimlico's carryover was similar, with $71k bet. This track gets less than $10k in their pick 4 pools, so $71k is huge. The heavy-chalk sequence paid $200.
Escape the Wind Retires. 100% racehorse with 62 wins and $2.1M in the bank, at age 11. For those who think it's the breed that is changing at times you have a point, but I think most of it is horsemen changing. Roger Mayotte is a top horsemen who races horses like they are a living breathing being, not a piece of machinery. This is the 4th horse he has had race several years at a top level. This does not happen by accident.
Yes, you are looking at a freak. Pace makes a race, and when internal fractions are staccato and a fast final time is run, it marks brilliance. Frankel is a star. H/t to Sid Fernando.
Quote of the day 1: via Kentucky Confidential.
Quote of the day 2: A double-tweet from O_crunk. If punches are pulled, he ain't one to pull them.
Often when we wake up we feel beat, or not-ready for the day. Who would I like to feel like this morning? George Bush & Tony Blair.
I am not sure I am the only one, but watching school-aged kids on video cheering the death of someone, no matter whom it is, is not something I find good for society as a whole. It's something I expect to see on video feeds from the Arab world. Then again, I am over 40 now and becoming less and less Chuck Norris-like.
Speaking of that, it's voting day today in Canada. I live in one of the old neighborhoods in Toronto, that is probably to the left of Vladamir Lenin, so my vote is inconsequential for MP, but I voted anyway. I hope you do too.
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