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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

It's Good to be King

Sometimes it's good to be King (see burger dude) and sometimes it's good to be the Queen (see Rachel Alexandra). Unfortunately the only one wearing a crown this year, will be the burger guy in the picture. While I was glad to see some history with the filly winning the Preakness for the first time in a coon's age (85 years is a damn long time), I still long to see a Triple Crown winner. If the filly skips the Belmont, we're looking at a half empty grandstand in Elmont in three weeks and a boatload of lost revenue. NYRA was openly rooting for the Bird in Baltimore (would've been the best Bird in Baltimore since Cal Ripken, I know being a life-long Oriole fan) to keep their Triple Crown hopes and big attendance figures alive. Makes one think how close to a TC winner we really were in Brownie last year.

The Preakness was an exciting race and hopefully it generated some interest from the casual fan. I was at a party with about 13 non-racing fans, some of which actually ran out to the neighborhood OTB to make a few wagers before the race. I conveniently loaned them the rolled up PP's in my back pocket. The party-goers were inquisitive about the filly, the Jackson purchase, Borel's decision and the historical significance of the event. The girls all were rooting for Rachel, the guys just wanted to cash tickets. I think a new fan or two was generated within our ranks, but I think the Derby upset, the SI cover and the big payouts had a lot to do with the excitement in the room. Anyways, everyone seemed to enjoy the race and the NBC coverage, which is geared toward the casual fan, not the racing fan or purist (we already have them hooked).

At least if I go to New York, it'll be easy to get around and most likely the plumbing will be in working order. Typical New York luck though, they just can't catch a break, and the filly will probably ditch em too. Even if she shows up for the rematch, I wonder if they'll generate more than the 50,000 or so that usually shows up when a TC is not at stake. We'll see what real drawing power she has if that occurs, both attendance wise and ratings wise. Selfishly, I hope she ends up in the Travers for a huge matchup with Quality Road, who I think will give her a decent test. That, my friends, could end up being the best race of the year.

Speaking of ratings, which have been discussed ad nauseum, I thought I'd blow my town's horn a little. We've been in the news enough lately, as the circus arrived in town on Sunday night. Anyways, here are the city rankings for the Preakness (courtesy: Art Wilson, Pasadena Star-News) and Buffalo was ranked #6 for viewership during the race portion. Talkin' Proud, baby.

An interesting side note to the chart above is that none of the Top 10 television markets (NYC, Chicago, etc.) cracked the top 1o for either the Derby or the Preakness. The largest market cracking the top 10 was Tampa, Florida.

“All that is gold does not glitter, not all those who wander are lost; the old that is strong does not wither, deep roots are not reached by the frost. From the ashes a fire shall be woken, a light from the shadows shall spring; renenwed shall be blade that was broken, the crownless again shall be king.” ~ JRR Tolkien



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