Nothing to shoot at Wed., as no maiden sprints carded

finish-line-at-santa-anita-park-by-rhetoricru2No maiden sprint races were carded on the main track for Wednesday. So I will save my energy for Thursday when we have four maiden claiming sprints, three of which have full fields.

Will last minute pari-mutual casino deal be struck?

It will be interesting on Wednesday to see if the 80 Nevada casinos make a last minute deal with Track Net on a simulcast agreement. As of Tuesday, no agreement has been made and casinos are reportedly preparing to book bets at Gulfstream Park, Golden Gate Fields, Santa Anita Park, Laurel and Oaklawn, instituting  house limits and no pick sixes. Fair Grounds, which is owned by Churchill Downs, has an existing contract with the casinos.

However, I doubt this stare down will last more than a month, because it seems that everybody loses by it: the tracks, the casinos and the horseplayers.

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Kentucky Derby website now buzzing, just ask Fred Willard

homeAs I write this, there are 95 days, five hours and five minutes until the bell rings and the gates spring open for Kentucky Derby 135.

The way I know this is that I was just on the newly-updated website kentuckyderby.com. Not much goes on at this site after the previous year’s Derby ends. But a few weeks ago, it was update and upgraded with news and replays of Derby preps, ticket information, lots of opinions, and video of celebrities on the Kentucky Derby red carpet.

I didn’t even know the Kentucky Derby had a red carpet. But this site has a feature called “Buzz from the Red Carpet” where they interview the likes of  Dr. J, Taylor Dayne and Hugh Hefner with The Girls Next Door.

However, the interview with Fred Willard puts new meaning on the word “Buzz” in “Buzz from the Red Carpet.” Check it out by clicking under “Red Carpet Videos and Interviews” on kentuckyderby.com.

The Derby site has four handicappers who put up lists of top 3-year-olds pointing for the big race. Some of the common names seen in the top tens of these selectors include Midshipman, Old Fashioned, Vineyard Haven, Pioneerof the Nile and Beethoven

Of course, Churchill Downs officials around Derby time love to talk about all of the upscale folks who come to Louisville for the festivities, like the Queen of England and successful actors and athletes.

But the moon has a dark side and so does Derby Day. Let’s just say that the acceptable modes of behavior are quite different on the infield than they are on Millionaires Row.

During his red carpet interview, World Wrestling Entertainment promoter Vince McMahon was asked how Derby Day compares to one of his wrestling events, he joked, “It is much like WWE because you have beautiful people and you have animals.”

What McMahon may have been referring to is illustrated in the videos below.

The greatest two minutes in sports draws celebrities from around the world to Millionaires Row…

…however the real spectacle on Derby Day is in the infield

Forget Curlin. Horseplayer speaks at Eclipse Awards banquet and eloquently rips track operators

Richard Goodall told race track operators to show bettors more appreciation

Richard Goodall told race track operators to show bettors more appreciation

Horseplayers don’t need much. But a little friendliness and appreciation would be a nice touch every once in a while, a prominent horseplayer told a room full of horse racing’s elite Monday night at the Eclipse Awards ceremony.

Las Vegan Richard Goodall, 65, told track operators to view bettors as their customers and to do a better job of acknowledging them.

Goodall, who won the 2008 Handicapper of the Year Award at Monday’s Eclipse Awards ceremony, was speaking to the top level of horse racing’s owners, trainers and jockeys. But it was the track managers in attendance in Miami Beach that Goodall seemed to be focused on.

Goodall told the story about his tremendous experience while winning the 2008 NTRA/DRF National Horse Racing Championship at Red Rock Station in Las Vegas. The Red Rock Station staff, he said, made him feel welcome by chatting with him and smiling a lot throughout the event.

Race track operators should greet bettors in the grandstand, Goodall said, and encourage their employees to be more outgoing and friendly. Track managers should also concentrate on important little things that keep customers coming back, he added.

“Make sure the pizza is hot and the beer is cold,” Goodall said. 

 Goodall also made a plea to Congress to repeal the federal tax on winnings that pay more than 300-to-1 and total more than $600. He called the law outdated from the days when gambling was a sin. Then he argued that the extra money in people’s pockets would help boost the economy because people would use the cash to buy things like automobiles.

The following is the complete list of the 2008 Eclipse Award winners:

Horse of the Year: Curlin.
Two-Year-Old Male: Midshipman.
Two-Year-Old Filly: Stardom Bound.
Three-Year-Old Male: Big Brown.
Three-Year-Old Filly: Proud Spell.
Older Male: Curlin.
Older Female: Zenyatta.
Male Sprinter: Benny the Bull.
Female Sprinter: Indian Blessing.
Male Turf Horse: Conduit.
Female Turf Horse: Forever Together.
Steeplechase Horse: Good Night Shirt.
Owner: Stronach Stables.
Breeder: Adena Springs.
Trainer: Steve Asmussen.
Jockey: Garrett Gomez.
Apprentice Jockey: Pascacio Lopez.

The Eclipse Awards are presented by the NTRA, the National Turf Writers Association and Daily Racing Form in recognition of excellence in Thoroughbred racing.

“Jockeys” TV show to premier on Animal Planet Feb. 6

Jockeys,The

Series focuses on seven jockeys at Oak Tree

What is being called a doc-u-drama, a new television show called “Jockeys”  captures an inside look at the relationships, risks and rewards of thoroughbred race riding.

The Animal Planet television network will begin airing the series at 9 p.m. E/P on Friday, Feb. 6.

The show was filmed during the 2008 Oak Tree at Santa Anita meet and it focuses on seven jockeys: Aaron Gryder, Jon Court, Joe Talamo, Alex Solis, Mike Smith, Chantal Sutherland and Kayla Stra.

Others seen during a sneek preview on the Animal Planet website, are jockey Corey Nakatani, trainer Jeff Mullins and bettor Jimmy the Hat.

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