Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Joe Hirsch Must Be Rotating By Now

The frequently insightful and entertaining Paulick Report is chuckling about a rather bad factual error in racing's paper of note, the Desert Valley Times of Southern Utah. Apparently, the DVT's racing columnist Duke Hunt has suggested the Haskell Invitational as a possible tete-a-tete for Zenyatta and Rachel Alexandra in his latest column, leading Mr. Paulick to suspect that Joe Hirsch must be rolling in his grave.

Now, I can't help but think that Joe Hirsch would be more disappointed that with all the factual errors (to say nothing about leaps of logic) you'll find in an average edition of the DRF or Blood-Horse, the one turf writer Mr. Paulick slams is some retired former USAF sergeant who writes for a minor provincial paper on a hobby basis. Or the fact that Mr. Paulick ridicules this guy on a large racing website without even leaving a comment at the article itself.

For perspective, not to ridicule (no, really), I had already dug up some old fact-checking error from the Paulick Report's archives, remembering that one edition of Mr. Paulick's helpful "Saturday Stakes, Where to Watch" posts had listed the Florida Oaks, Tampa Bay Derby and Honeybee Stakes as turf races, one of them at the wrong time too. Happens to everybody, unless you have an excellent fact-checking department.

And then I decided to google the esteemed Desert Valley Times of Southern Utah (both for info and because it struck me as odd), and wouldn't you know: the Desert Valley Times is a twice-weekly paper from Mesquite, Nevada, right on the Nevada/ Arizona border. To be fair, the DVT is owned and distributed by St. George, Utah daily newspaper The Spectrum, but Mr. Hunt's column, which deals with racing topics and his local race book, is very obviously DVT-produced content.

Yes, sloppy fact-checking is a bitch.

I guess you just have to be lucky that no one notices such easily avoidable mistakes, or that they at least aren't such a dick to write about it on the net, be it on a well-visited aggregator/ news site or some obscure blog from Germany that has made its own share of factual blunders.

(Image of Secretariat winning the 1974 Breeders Cup Classic [source])

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Stand Up and Hide

We know that controversial Southern California trainer Jeff Mullins is not always aware of the rules, but apparently he still doesn't break them, as this wonderful website seeks to convince us. Seems Ole' Jeff is the victim of a conspiracy led by the California Horse Racing Board, an institution not often accused of taking no-tolerance policy a step too far.

I admire the courage of those alleged "horse owners, trainers and friends in support of Jeff Mullins" who so bravely stand up to "do everything in [their] power" to help and "lend [their] voices", well... anonymously.

I agree. Justice for Jeff Mullins by all means. I also agree that it won't come from the CHRB. My choice would be the FBI.

(Image from Cafepress.com)

Apartheid Ended? Check! Now Get Rid of those Vuvuzelas!

With the World's greatest excuse for public chanting having started in South Africa, there is still one local racing fixture on the agenda today: Dresden Racecourse's main raceday of the year, the remains of the traditional two-day meet.

Surprisingly unfazed by Berlin's big day last weekend, a one-off event that included the G2 Preis der Hauptstadtregion and the G3 Benazet-Rennen (replacement races for the cancelled Baden-Baden spring meet), the Sachsen-Preis (Listed) field is just as outstanding as last year's. I don't think I've seen such an assortment of horses known for both potential and inconsistency before. Of 11 starters, 8 have won or placed in Class A races over their last 6 starts, almost all of them have also ended up up the track in the same class several times.

Best of all: no vuvuzelas (two World Cup games in the books and I already hate those things)

This marks the first time in more than a month that I'll watch a German race live and place a bet on it. Not coincidentally also the first time since all of my ADWs decided not to renew their license for the German simulcast stream. The reason they didn't is quite simple: the German stream costs about five times as much as one of the two British ones, shows roughly 10% of the number of races and - even according to the projections of German Racing, the sport's own promoter - creates far less handle.*

I could of course open an account with one of the ADWs that still keep the German stream. I'll do that at some point in the future, but quite frankly this might be the drop that breaks the camel's water, or somesuch. I'm fed up with running after the providers for the privilege of betting into their pools, which – considering the 30% takeout – I do out of pity more than anything else. On a related subject, I also didn't spend the 10 minutes or so it would have taken to find a P2P stream for ABC on Belmont Day. If NYRA doesn't think it should provide overseas customers with any opportunity to see the main races, it obviously doesn't want overseas business. Must be glorious if you can afford yourself that luxury. I've never said that about a Triple Crown race before, but the 2010 Belmont definitely wasn't a must-see.

* (numbers from memory; German Racing's business concept, which I got them from, doesn't seem to be online anymore)