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Odds and Ends

  • There is an exceptional article over at DRF.com on the new whips currently being used by jockeys across the country and the evolution whip regulations over the past thirty years. Article requires registrations.
  • I'm working on a post reviewing each Breeders' Cup race. I'll hopefully have that up before the weekend.
  • As I was watching HRTV today I was struck at how awful some track announcers truly are. Whoever calls the races at the trotter track, The Meadows, sounds a lot like the guy that yells the entire time at Tampa Bay Downs. And the guy at Golden Gate Fields isn't a whole lot better. This got me thinking, how many good track announcers are there, really? Off the top of my head I can say that I enjoy listening to Durkin, Denman, and John G. Dooley, but after that there are a lot of guys that are either average or simply awful.
  • According to a track spokesman, Churchill Downs will be installing permanent lights following the conclusion of their fall meet. Given this new addition I think there is a great opportunity for racing to showcase its biggest day, the Breeders' Cup, in a prime time television slot. The last time the Breeders' Cup was at Churchill, the first race went off at something like 9am pacific time. Seems like you are missing out on a lot of potential "casual fans" by running championship races at the crack of dawn.

    I've thought for a few years now that moving to prime time would be a fantastic move for the sport and dramatically increase viewership. This year's Breeders' Cup Classic, showcasing the unbeaten Zenyatta, went off at something like 3:30 pacific (6:30 eastern). What if it was run a couple of hours later, or even three hours later? Prime time on the east coast and dinner time out west – could be a great combination.

    Certainly TV times are an issue with the networks as much as it is with the Breeders' Cup, but it seems to me that if the location has the ability to run night races why not take advantage of that to build up your TV audience?