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Thursday, August 7, 2008

Who Loves Ya Baby?

As Saratoga rolls into week three, I've taken a break from handicapping during this week of maiden races before the big trip for Alabama weekend. After seeing the big crowd show up at Monmouth to see racing's current most famous circus act, it dawned on me that people will show up to see a star and the MSM loves playing on this angle. Right now there are not a lot of visible owners with star power. I went on a search mission to find some star power linked to race horses and found my man, Kojak.

Back in 1974, actor Telly Savalas bought into a horse named Telly's Pop, named after his father, with movie and television producer, Howard Koch. At the time of purchase, Telly didn't know the horse was gelded due to his bad temper when he purchased the horse. When he found out this was his reaction:

"What do I know from horses? I bet five dollars on a horse and if it loses I curse the breed for two days. But I went in. I named him after my father, who took me to my first race as a youngster. When I got to see Telly's Pop for the first time they told me he was a gelding. I thought gelding was a color like chestnut or bay. I was furious. The only horse Telly Savalas had was a gelding'? What would that do for my image?"

Telly's Pop actually won the western juvenile triple crown (Del Mar Futurity, Norfolk Stakes and California Juvenile Championship) in 1975, and was on the Kentucky Derby trail until he failed miserably in the Santa Anita Derby and fell off the trail with a career ending leg injury. He finished with 6 wins in 17 starts, which also included the G2 California Derby, earning $353K. For a while, the nation had Pop Fever, while he was on the Derby trail and fans flocked to see Telly's horse on the left coast whenever he ran.

Our sport needs characters like Telly to get us back into the spotlight. When is the last time an owner or trainer (or a horse for that matter) was on the cover of People Magazine or Sports Illustrated? People love stars and will come out to see them (see Big Brown - MTH) or history in the making.

And the guy puts Tom Cruise to shame....

1 Comment:

Winston...not really said...

The other thing I don't understand is why the NTRA runs its ads during racing telecasts?

You're preaching to the proverbial choir at that point. Try running an ad or two during primetime, the superbowl or whatever else draws a sizeable audience.

I think the reason Tom Cruise sang so poorly is that he is was/is possessed by aliens.


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