Thursday, November 02, 2006

Breeders' Cup Hoopla

If you are a horse racing enthusiast, this Saturday is the event that you have been anticipating all year long: The 2006 Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships. If you are, however, like my brother, Chuck, who pays little attention to horse racing, let me be the first to inform you that neither Funny Cide nor Barbaro will be racing. And by the way, Chuck, happy birthday. I shall wager a cheap Pick 4 in your honor and any winnings on that Pick 4 will be split in some kind of pseudo-equitable way according to the laws of sibling rivalry (read: If I win $1,340, I'll send you a couple of bucks).

Anyway, every card-carrying member of the NTWA and all of their drinking buddies have descended on Churchill Downs for the weeklong preparations leading up to the biggest day in horse racing. Handicappers are looking at every potential angle from post selection to the color of Mike Bataglia's tie. Even the TBA's average horseplayer, David Ruben Jerry Ringling Brothers Barnum And Bailey, is mixing it up with movers and shakers, making sound observations such as "I should have brought a coat! It's cold out here!" The media swarms around top trainers, hoping to get a scoop:

MediaGuy: "Hey Claude McGaughey! Or can I call you Shug?"
Trainer: "Most people call me Nick Zito."
MediaGuy: "Oh. Would you still like to comment on Pine Island anyway?"
Trainer: "No."
MediaGuy: "Well, then can you tell me what exactly are NetJets?"

And that reminds me that I, as a horse racing fan, have a few concerns that I feel should be brought up to the Breeders' Cup BrainTrust. And since I am not a member of the media nor a potential member of the NTWA nor genetically related to any member of the Breeders' Cup Committee, I shall have to express these views here, in this blog, where I know they shall remain unread except by maybe a handful of faithful readers, and perhaps, maybe one alert reader who knows the second cousin of the cleaning lady of the nanny for the children of one of the members of the Breeders' Cup committee, will pass my concerns along where they will be addressed appropriately or ignored completely.

1. The $2 Million Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies appears to lack a corporate sponsor. All the other races are brought to you by Bessemer Trust, Emirates Airlines, TVG, NetJets (whatever those are), John Deere, and of course Dodge. Recently, the Kentucky Derby was brought to us by Yum! Brands thus I'm under the impression that obtaining a corporate sponsor and their corresponding check book should not be a difficult task.

2. Purple. It's pretty. It's uniform. And I'm sure that someone had a good reason to make all of the saddle clothes a uniform color for the Breeders' Cup. However, it makes it difficult to discern how the race is unfolding. And I think of this now especially with the development of the Trakus. Watching 14 purple chicklets on the simulcast screen would be somewhat unnerving.

3. Rumors are abounding that Chuchill Downs, Belmont, and Santa Anita will be rotating sites for the Breeders' Cup. Okay. This is where I hoist the Texas flag and cry out, "Remember the Alamo! Remember the 2004 Breeders' Cup!" ... if I actually had audio on my blog you would be listening to "The Eyes of Texas" in the background...

And to wrap-up all the hoopla surrounding the Breeders' Cup Preview, a member of the TBA has thrown down the gauntelet and challenged us to list our winners. So here's my simple winners. (Follow along, Chuck. It includes our cheap Pick 4!)

Juvenile Fillies brought to you by Home Depot*: Dreaming of Anna

Bessemer Trust Juvenile: Great Hunter

Emirates Airline Filly & Mare Turf: Ouija Board

TVG Sprint: Pomeroy

NetJets Mile: Gorella

Emirate Airlines Distaff: Pine Island

John Deere Turf: Scorpion

Classic - Powered by Dodge: Invasor

*Not really a corporate sponsor but it sounds pretty good