Tuesday, October 31, 2006

5:00 PM "Win and You're In"

Thanks to Patrick, the eight fabulous Halloween themed sugar cookies, a cup of coffee and a new seat (see below), I can finally concentrate and actually put something down in writing. Some people might even call it an update.

By now, I'm sure all of you have already heard of the NTRA's new "Breeders' Cup Challenge." The NTRA, Breeders' Cup Ltd. and ESPN hosted a very nice lunch today at the Muhammad Ali Center in downtown Louisville to make the surprise announcement. All the big wig-wigs were there: Avioli, Farish, DeLuca and even Wayne "4-quote" Lukas (more on the nickname later).

(Greg Avioli, NTRA & Breeders' Cup Ltd.)

(Len LeDuca, ESPN)

(Randy Moss, MC, ESPN)

So the horse racing world is finally making strides to incorporate some sort of comprehendable "points" system - or so the theory goes. Bloodhorse has their story HERE - you don't need me to break anything down for you

I will however list some items from the notes that I took. As you can see above, all the big-wigs involved were there decked out in full suits and ties.

NTRA/BC Ltd. CEO Greg Avioli made comparisons to the changes MLB made (Wild Cards), NFL (four divisions in each conference), and PGA (moving to a points system and shifting 1/3 of their tour dates around)

The NTRA/ESPN is looking at the 24 races at six of the "best venues in racing" as "playoffs or automatic qualifiers (herego, "Win and You're In") which will "give context to racing fans".

It was also mentioned that in the past, these 24 races "have provided 40%-50% of BC starters" (interesting stat).

The NTRA/BC will be kicking back 2% of BC purses each of these races to be given out to 6th - last in order to encourage owners and trainers to enter and start horses who may be going against a strong favorite.

Mr. "four quote" (see above if you forgot the reference) was extremely outspoken and amusing when questioned by MC Randy Moss (D. Wayne was seated at the dais with the big wig execs). HIs best quote, "It's unfair to have five guys make the decisions they have to make" (of course referring to the current BC system). D. Wayne is now "four quote" b/c a few journos who have been here all week have surmised that D. Wayne has his speaking points down to the same four quotes: two of which we have on tape from yesterday LINKLINK!!!!!

Unfortunately, due to transportation issues, I was unable to stick around and drill deeper down into the ramifications, etc. with Mr. Avioli. There is a teleconference that I will participate in tomorrow where I hope to broach said subject. The conference call is supposed to be with all of ESPN's personalities and I've been told I can steal Mr. Avioli for a few minutes following the call.

-MAJOR kudos to Evan and Claire for helping Bloodhorse make a strong entry into the blogging world. Good work, Mr. Paulick and nice job guys on your work so far. Sure, your well-done blog is below the fold, but know that in this bloggers opinion - you're kickin' my ass in the writing department! (visual/multi-media content is another story. Maybe Mr. Paulick and I can strike a deal at some point this week?)

-It rained for about 2 hours earlier today, and the weather is much cooler. The track should certainly be fast/firm for Saturday as the "forecast" doesn't call for any more rain leading up to BC Day. It should be about 50-55 degrees with some clouds and sun. (here are some late day photos)

BTW, Thanks to Tim Layden of Sports Illustrated for letting me use his seat (until I went outside for the change of perspective)

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