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])


  1. Good stuff, Malcer. Any reason why a photo of Belle Watling accompanies it?

  2. Geez, even you you have trouble with facts, could you at least attempt to be grammatically correct? This is just plain difficult to decipher.

  3. Joe, had he seen the Haskell Inv. screw-up – having a robust sense of humor, something that has largely vanished in today’s racing coverage aside from Jay Cronley’s posts – night [might] have quipped, “I’m rolling in my grave and I haven’t even gotten into it.”

    But – had he read what follows (from above, written in the proverbial white heat generated by a writer’s sense of superiority rarely proven by his ensuing prose):

    “I highly doubt that a gentleman who loved racing as much as Joe Hirsch did is rolling in his grave over someone who obviously doesn’t cover racing as a career writing something foolishly.”

    He’d be doing plenty of rolling, in uniquely inspired gyrations, at the same time that he would have been poetically grateful for being undead.

    Don Reed

  4. Is that an inside joke (caption for the image): "Image of Secretariat winning the 1974 Breeders Cup Classic"[sic]?

  5. That's just the way it is today. When Joe Hirsch left the DRF horse racing hasn't had a great writer for the sport.
    Louisville Ky. hasn't been the same since Mike Berry died and Billy Reed got fired. We have no one that knows anything about horse racing in Louisville. They just don't care.

  6. Buddy summed my feelings perfectly

  7. Buddy & Jerry, Jennie Rees has forgotten more about racing than Reed or Berry ever knew, and I imagine those boys would be more than willing to admit that. She may not get the space they did as the newspaper and racing industries die before her, but she knows about everything from a fetlock to a furlong, as well as any other aspect of the game.

  8. Changed "can't help thinking" to "can't help but think" but left the rest unchanged.

  9. Sid, Glimmerglass:

    Of course it's supposed to be a joke, a photo of a filly running a clockwise turf race obviously later than 1974, a year in which Secretariat was retired and the first BC was still a decade away. Tried to get as many wrong facts into one line without being too obvious.


    Point taken; Have corrected the worst grammatical blunder without changing anything but grammar. Please let me know the other mistakes that you feel make this post 'difficult to decipher'. Thanks.

  10. Just to play devil's advocate:
    Why not? Sure it's an invitational for 3yos, but why not amend the rules-it's not like an amendment to the Constitution for #*!ksake- at least this year. It is a handicap after all, and it would catch those two mares arguably near the top of their game. Monmouth is having that 50 million dollar meet, this could have the added draw of meeting a freshened Ky Derby winner(spoiler?!) or other top 3yo.
    Think outside the box.