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  1. #1
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    Default NBC pre-race Preakness coverage

    I'm pulling this out from the Preakness thread ...

    Joe Drape "Who Will Watch the Preakness? And Why?"

    Saturday, NBC will open its broadcast at 4:30 p.m EST. with a half-hour roundtable hosted by Bob Costas and featuring the Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens; Dr. Larry Bramlage; Alex Waldrop, president of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association; Eight Belles’s trainer, Larry Jones; and The New York Times’s own William Rhoden who, our readers know, has been unforgiving of an industry that he believes is out of touch.
    It is refreshing to see that rather then some lame "who is attending and wearing what" Inside Edition/Access Hollywood/TMZ et al red carpet stuff, the folks at NBC Sports have decided to try something that has been sorely missing - informed discussion.



  2. #2
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    yeah, but uh oh. This doesn't look like it's going to be a very good thing for the industry. It's like they're really their guts out to banish this sport....(afterall, Bob Costas has made it clear he thinks it's not a sport and that it's silly)
    "IT'S NOT THE MOUNTAIN WE CONQUER, BUT OURSELVES." SIR EDMUND HILLARYMember of the "Someone Special To Me Serves In The Military" Clique



  3. #3
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    Well, Gary Stevens isn't exactly tongue tied.

    And I can see their point in offering the panel discussion, why should they be putting up the big bucks telecasting something that ends up with a dead participant or career ending injury on a regular basis (I am thinking Breeders Cup here as well as the last three TC breakdowns). ANY effort to deal with it on a factual, matter of fact basis is going to help counteract the statements of the loonies we all heard flying around last week.

    I even admit to being tired of the "oh, too bad. It happens" explanation even though I know it does happen...seen too many-including both of them 2 weeks ago . Any attempt to reduce them needs to be publicized and any attempt to get real information out there is a plus. Admit to watching with hands ready to put over eyes...

    I am in hopes this will be a good thing even though the subject is a grim one.
    When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

    The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.



  4. #4
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    No objections to a rational dialogue

    All the people cited (save for the NYT's writer looking to score points) have experience that is credible with racing. I've met Bob Costas loooong ago when I was 17 and working at the Baseball Hall of Fame - nice guy, rather short, and at this point in his career not looking to score cheap points with dumb jabs. (We'd be in trouble if this was Bryant Gumble)

    I look forward to the discussion.



  5. #5
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    It's about time.

    I'll have to tape it, and the race too, but I am eagerly anticipating watching.



  6. #6
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    I'm just surprised Larry Jones jumped on board for this so soon after the fact. I really commend him for it. It can't be easy.
    Don't fall for a girl who fell for a horse just to be number two in her world... ~EFO



  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Texarkana View Post
    I'm just surprised Larry Jones jumped on board for this so soon after the fact. I really commend him for it. It can't be easy.
    Actually he's spoken a couple of times with the press in a Q&A fashion. ESPN aired snippets from one at Churchill Downs (done later that evening) and the another was held at Delaware Park.

    You can see that interview at DelPark with this URL and then doing the video search for "larry jones" at the right; I cannot directly get the link to that video alone.



  8. #8
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    I know, but an interview is very different than a roundtable discussion where he could potentially have people attacking him.

    Not that I think anyone on this panel is going to necessarily "blame" him, but I just can't imagine putting myself in a nationally broadcast debate so soon after the fact.

    Again, my hat is off to the man. It takes really class and serious cojones to step up to something like this so soon.
    Don't fall for a girl who fell for a horse just to be number two in her world... ~EFO



  9. #9
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    findeheight--
    Please elaborate. Last THREE TC breakdowns. I only remember Barabro and Eight Belles.



  10. #10
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    IMO, they are aiming for the wrong end of the industry.
    They need to address the breeding and selling practices.

    As soon as the stock market mentality took over, it ceased being a sport, and was treated as a commodity.

    And how best to market and manage this commodity?
    Why, glitzy advertising and fast turnover. Which isn't compatible with racing.



  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by horselips View Post
    IMO, they are aiming for the wrong end of the industry.
    They need to address the breeding and selling practices.
    The roundtable is to deal with the here and now of racing today - not the "we wish we could" discussions of breeding. You cannot regulate the breeding of TBs overnight and even then it is a freemarket so banning selections, restricting output, and other nice to have rules just aren't feasible.

    The goal one can assume is to somewhat counter why racing isn't bad and likely explain that breakdowns will occur in some capacity no matter how much reasonable protection is put into place.

    If there is no racing then no need for breeding.



  12. #12
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    There's an interesting article about Curlin's owner in the Wall Street Journal this morning in which he advocates among other things a national association that regulates horse racing, akin to the NFL for football and MLB for baseball. I honestly didn't realize or think about the fact that there wasn't one. It sounds to me like a good idea.

    I would really like to watch the Preakness but don't think I could handle another breakdown. I realize that is unlikely to happen, but I think I may be better off watching replays of last year's Belmont on Youtube. I love the way the race was called at the end. In fact I think I may have to watch it right now.



  13. #13
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    Default The Downside Of Publicity

    A more-than-possible case scenario:

    The media will start reporting and focusing on every race-track injury. Because that's how they operate.
    Racing will lose those who were newly attracted to the sport. There are those who will push to ban racing.

    An example some of the drastic change public opinion and pushing to ban something can do?

    There was a time, several decades ago, that a person wasn't treated like a horrible, worse-than-a-rapist, sleazeball if said person drank and drove. It was considered bad judgment if you drove s***-faced drunk, and no problem at all to have a few before driving off somewhere.
    Hell, it was even legal in the state of Florida to have an open container in your car in 1974.

    Then came the brigade of MADD mothers, and now a DUI has a worse stigma than B&E, assault, or a minor drug bust.


    When racing loses favor with the people who attend the tracks regularly, the tracks will go belly-up. No tracks = no racing, of course.
    Then all these wall street non-horseman owners will realize the bottom fell out of their precious commodity.

    People are going to find out really fast that racing cannot be shoved into an American Idolt frame.


    I am happy NBC is going to get serious about the coverage. I was pissed-off enough to hurt someone, with their asinine coverage of the Derby.



  14. #14
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    A friend told me that Larry Jones was suspended for a time for drugging race horses. Does anyone know any information about this or his background?



  15. #15
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    When racing loses favor with the people who attend the tracks regularly, the tracks will go belly-up. No tracks = no racing, of course.
    Not many people attend tracks regularly.
    Those that do attend to be 'cappers.
    Those guys tend to not be as interested in the horse welfare thing (gross generalisation, I know).

    Some of you guys seem to be under the impression that there are legions of fans that go to the track regularly, like baseball or football, just to watch the pretty ponies run. Except for some steeplechase meets, where it's more of a social thing, there are really not that many, and they contribute very little to the financing of everyday racing. Racing, in the US, is financed almost exclusively by parimutuel takeout, so if you are not putting money through the betting windows, you are not supporting racing.

    On the subject of a national body... sounds like a lovely idea. Once again, racing is not like baseball, football etc. It is regulated by government at the state level, by state racing commissions. So can someone explain to me how a national governing body would work? Congress pass a law taking away control from the state commissions and giving it to a federal one? Is that even constitutional in a Federal Republic? So they create another branch of government at the Federal level? What about the fact then that some states don't allow betting and have no real racing as such?



  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drvmb1ggl3 View Post

    Some of you guys seem to be under the impression that there are legions of fans that go to the track regularly, like baseball or football, just to watch the pretty ponies run.
    Hardly.

    I may not be 'a hardened racetracker', but I have been following the sport since 1967, and am not that naive.

    However, I certainly was under the impression that tracks also got a lot of revenue from the fans via concession, programs, admittance fees, etc. And that they were always trying to attract new people to the sport, and to come to the track.
    I guess I was mistaken.

    I wonder why then, did all the tracks fight tooth and nail against OTB, casinos and other forms of gambling so many years ago, wailing that "it would destroy them"?



  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by jolise View Post
    findeheight--
    Please elaborate. Last THREE TC breakdowns. I only remember Barabro and Eight Belles.
    Charismatic finishing third in the Belmont (after winning the first two TC races) and being abruptly pulled up to stand right in front of the grandstand (where Go For Wand died) and cameras on an obviously fractured foreleg. He did survive. The jock had a complicated and troubled life he ended not too long after that.

    Could also include Union City (not a serious contender) who was pulled up in the Derby just after the first turn and manged to avoid any close ups and live long enough to get out of the public view.

    Could also go back to Prairie Bayou breaking down on the backstretch in the Belmont...Colonial Affair won that one with the first-and only-female jock to win a TC race.

    Not so uncommon.
    Last edited by findeight; May. 17, 2008 at 09:01 AM.
    When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

    The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.



  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Texarkana View Post
    Again, my hat is off to the man. It takes really class and serious cojones to step up to something like this so soon.
    A nice article on Jones from this afternoon - BloodHorse 5-16 "Larry Jones Clings to Support, Faith"

    He's a down home, honest guy, and is not running some mega 80+ horse operation likely by choice, but rather has done very well with the talent that's come to his barn and by being so hands on. In the interest of full disclosure if you look at the Derby thread from last year I like others on this BB were a bit critical of him when he pulled Pino off of Hard Spun because he went too fast. The two made up and Pino got back on Hard Spun for some great efforts later that year.

    I suspect tomorrow his genuine compassion and level headed nature will come through during the NBC discussion.



  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by horselips View Post
    Hardly.

    I may not be 'a hardened racetracker', but I have been following the sport since 1967, and am not that naive.

    However, I certainly was under the impression that tracks also got a lot of revenue from the fans via concession, programs, admittance fees, etc. And that they were always trying to attract new people to the sport, and to come to the track.
    I guess I was mistaken.

    I wonder why then, did all the tracks fight tooth and nail against OTB, casinos and other forms of gambling so many years ago, wailing that "it would destroy them"?
    The total purses for todays card at Belmont adds up to around $340,000. That's a Friday card, not a major race day, no stakes races, all claiming allowance, and maiden races.
    Now, admission to Belmont is $2 for general and a whopping $5 for clubhouse. You would need tens of thousands of people there every day eating a butt load of hot dogs to cover those purses.
    The overwhelmingly majority of purses are paid for by takeout. Admissions and concessions are miniscule in the grand scheme of things. There are only a small handful of racedays, Derby Day, Breeders Cup etc where they can charge serious money to get in and people will actually pay it.

    Of course tracks resisted OTBs etc, as they did not want to share handle, though in the long run it has opened them up to more bettors and they sell their signal so they get their cut.
    Obviously other forms of gambling are seen as threat, as they are all competing for the same gambling dollars, and racing has been losing steadliy over the last several decades. Of course tracks want people to come to the track, but they want them placing bets, lots of bets.

    But the way US racing is structured and chosen to finance itself means they need people gambling, not people showing up and hanging out.
    It's different in other parts of the world were tracks can't rely on takeout, (in Europe it coulf cost you from $20-50 to go see a midweek race card) and most of the races are sponsored. So they appeal to a different demographic and sell a different product (a bit more upscale).



  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Horsepower View Post
    A friend told me that Larry Jones was suspended for a time for drugging race horses. Does anyone know any information about this or his background?
    Have never heard of Jones having drug trouble. Dutrow (Big Brown) and Asmussen (of Curlin fame) certainly have.
    Congratulate me! My CANTER cutie is an honor student at Goofball University!



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