Thursday, February 10, 2011

Debacles, Investigations, and Restitution

The Super Bowl Seating Debacle has garnered much attention in the past few days. Hundreds of valid ticket-holders were turned away because their temporary seats were deemed unsafe by the fire marshall a couple hours before kick-off. And as more facts come to light, the NFL was well aware of the problems plaguing the installation of the seats long before Super Bowl Sunday. So now the NFL is offering these ticket-holders restitution of sorts, like cash refunds, tickets to next year's Super Bowl, canned hams, and so forth.

And now, as I turn my attention back to horse racing, I read this headline from yesterday's Daily Racing Form,

Inquiry into Life At Ten's Breeders' Cup performance continues

A probe by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission into the circumstances surrounding the poor performance of Life At Ten in the Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic at Churchill Downs on Nov. 5 remains ongoing,[DRF]

There's still an investigation?

Okay, apparently there was some sort of debacle, whether it be the trainer and/or track veterinarian failing to scratch Life At Ten before the race or Johnny V voicing his comments for all the world to hear. Regardless, she came in last, the "Official" sign was posted on the board after the race, and millions of dollars worth of losing tickets were shredded, mine included.

Furthermore, if and when this "probe" is concluded, what could the racing industry possibly do for restitution? Losing wagers are long gone and Todd Pletcher already has his Eclipse.

And one more thing: Who won that race anyway? The focus has been so much at Life At Ten losing that I can't remember who even won anymore ... and that's unwanted "restitution".

Sunday, February 06, 2011

The Road to the Super Bowl Goes Through Lone Star Park

Generally, the exciting happenings at Lone Star Park this time of year is the $5 Grilled Turkey Melt special offered on Wednesdays in February. However, today - Super Bowl Sunday - tens of thousands of people streamed into the racetrack grandstand. The crowd was loud and boisterous; giddy with anticipation. The excitement! Yes! They were at Lone Star Park ... to pick up their credentials, board buses and head over to Cowboy Stadium in Arlington to work the Super Bowl.

I felt a great need to capture this bit of the Super Bowl hoopla being held at the racetrack. So I enlisted my good friend and neighbor, Gimpy, to record all the action.

Gimpy is a professional ticket-taker at Cowboy Stadium. And he's an usher at Rangers Ballpark. And he does lighting for a small local theater troupe. And he's a part-time actor, most recently earning rave reviews as Vinnie in The Odd Couple where he famously voiced the line, "Oscar, it's your deal," and then accidentally knocked all the poker chips off the table.

However, today I learned that Gimpy is not a photojournalist.

I was rather amazed by the first image that he sent: J Lo and Randy Jackson! I can't believe they were there at Lone Star Park before the Super Bowl! Wow!

Hey, wait a minute ... that's American Idol!

Apparently, Gimpy needed to test his cell phone photography skills.

Okay, here's a photo of the Game Day briefing on the third floor of the grandstand. Clearly, Gimpy is indicating that this was the only space available in the grandstand.

And finally, here's some kind of "crowd" shot. Too bad they couldn't incorporate some kind of handicapping seminar for these folks.

Sadly, this exciting February action of Lone Star Park was not fully realized in this photo essay. But the National Anthem auditions are coming up on February 22nd. Maybe another chance for Christina Aguilera to get the song right.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Groundhogs, Gaga, and Other Ramblings

Last month, my microwave broke. I have had to cook. Real food. Gone is the luxury of quickly heating up some kind of frozen pre-made concoction that my children happily devour. Instead I find myself perusing cookbooks and writing shopping lists; preparing an adequate menu that will satisfy my children and my no-carb-heart-healthy husband.

Naturally, there is fallout from this lifestyle change: (1) increased martini consumption, and (2) less time for the ponies.

So today, in honor of Groundhog Day - because we all know Punxsutawney Phil emerged from his hole, pretended he didn't see his shadow and said, "Screw this winter crap!" and took off to Florida to hang out at Gulfstream with Andy Beyer - I would like to share with you the tidbits of horse racing news/rumors/gossip/completely-unrelated-items.

Lone Star Park Wire Report. No news of ownership transfer to Global Gaming but apparently optimism is running rampant with what's left of track management. A recent email blast announced the line-up for the upcoming Lone Star Music Series,
Lone Star Music Series line-up includes seven concerts during the 2011 Spring Thoroughbred Season, featuring debut appearances by Ted Nugent on opening weekend, Saturday, April 16 and Dwight Yoakam on closing weekend, Saturday, July 9.

It's noteworthy that the series consists of two known acts and The Five Mystery Acts. For all we know, it could include Stryper. Or Scandal.

However, our illustrious local racetrack is getting a piece of Super Bowl action this weekend. It will be a staging area for the employees working the Super Bowl. And Post Parade will have our "Man on the Inside" to place you right there in the action! It promises to be as big as Troy Polamalu's hair.

Triple Crown Contenders. My list is brief:
    1. Uncle Mo
    2. Broken Microwave

Fortunately, here in Dallas/Fort Worth, not only do we have the Super Bowl, but we also have turf writer extraordinaire, Gary West of the Star-Telegram (motto: "We have officially put 'Roethlisberger' on spell-check"). The Professor recently published his list of 100 "Triple Crown Noisemakers." He once told me that he fills up 72 spiral notebooks with news and observations of 1,334,275 Derby prospects. Or something to that effect. His exact number is in an email somewhere in my Inbox, along with 36,000 other messages so I'm not looking for it any time soon because I don't have time to clean out my Inbox. I have to cook. Or buy a new microwave.

Anyway, I'm glad the Professor is doing all this work for me. I read his list. I recognized four horses. At this writing, I can bet my Derby Superfecta with confidence.

The Horse Racing Information Superhighway. In this fast-paced, hectic world of being a pseudo-quasi-homemaker, obtaining relevant albeit brief information has become a necessity for me. DRF and Paulick Report have spruced up their websites and I still haven't found the time to go clicking through the myriad of tabs and pages and links and whatnot to get my relevant albeit brief information. On that note, one can argue of the virtues of Twitter ... OMG! Everybody seems to be on Twitter! And here I sit; I'm still trying to figure out how to even use my cell phone. And now I have to figure out how to obtain my relevant albeit brief information on it? I'd rather cook. Or clean out my Inbox.

Odds and Ends, with Emphasis on Odds. Recently, I discovered an artist with too much time on her hands and a closet full of My Little Pony. It's the closest thing to horse racing I've seen in a month.

Here's Lady Gaga,

And here's one that Brian and other Trekkies can appreciate,

And finally it should be noted that only a few days ago, the only thing frozen around here was the margarita I was drinking on the patio at Rio Mambo. And now it's like The Day After Tomorrow. Minus Jake Gyllenhaal. And the wolves on the Russian ship. Because, after all, that's kind of silly.