Saturday, April 11, 2015

Kentucky Derby 2015: Gut Feeling

I'm basing the following thoughts on pure gut feeling - simply what my eyes have told me over the past couple of months watching the prep races leading up to this year's Kentucky Derby. I haven't computed speed figures, ratings, rankings, or compiled an assortment of trip notes. Overall, this is just the visual impression I have of this year's Derby contenders:
Mubtaahij (IRE) and American Pharaoh are the best of the crop.
Personally, it's really hard for me to type that sentence given the overall horrible performance record in the Kentucky Derby for colts traveling from Duabai (with regards to Mubtaahij), and the fact that it's hard to take the Derby gate-to-wire (with regards to American Pharaoh).

As is the case every single year during the three-year-old colt spring stakes season, we really don't have a good clue as to the level of talent these horses were facing. Typically, these races are short on actual bona fide stakes horses, at least when we look ahead to the summer and fall. But, really, that's not the most important thing when looking for a Derby winner (at least in my mind). What really matters are horses that are running at a high level while still possessing room for improvement. It's also nice to find a horse that's dealt with some trouble but when you deal with as chalky of a prep season as this one, sometimes you have to make exceptions.

With Mubtaahij and American Pharaoh, I think we have the two most talented three-year-old colts in the crop, as well as a couple of colts with room to grow. Additionally, I think Mubtaahij displayed a lot of professionalism during his romp in the UAE Derby.


Thursday, April 9, 2015

Good TV / Bad TV

The schedule for this summer's coverage of the Breeders' Cup "Win and You're In" races on NBCSN was announced today [Bloodhorse.com] with 18 races scheduled for national telecast beginning in early June. And while televising racing on a national scale is certainly good (at least I think it is), many of these broadcasts, including the Triple Crown broadcasts, are thin in actual racing. I mean reeeaaaalllly thin. By way of example:

On Saturday, August 2nd, there is a one-hour broadcast from 5:00 to 6:00pm in order to show a single race - the Haskell. 

On Saturday, June 13th, NBCSN will be on the air from 8:30 to 10:00pm Eastern time (yay, Prime Time) to televise the Stephen Foster and the Fleur De Lis. For those mathematically challenged in the group, that's an hour and a half broadcast with two races shown.

Races take 120 seconds (at the most) to run in this country so that 90 minute program will showcase somewhere around four minutes of actual racing. And that one hour program with just one race? A whole two minutes of action for your 60 minutes of airtime.

Gee, I don't understand why casual observers aren't breaking the Nielsen ratings to tune in to watch!