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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Friday Night Fights

I wasn't totally off board when I warned in Sunday's post not to make your reservations to the Apple Blossom just yet, because if you did, you'll be at Oaklawn Park a week early (six days to be exact). As most of you already know, the race has been moved back to April 9th, a Friday night. This immediately set off a firestorm of naysayers bemoaning the Friday date and the moving back of the race. My take? I say, hurray. You couldn't ask for a better lead in on ESPN (assuming they will televise it) with Masters Friday wrapping up around 7.30pm EST, especially if Tiger is playing. Most of my partners in crime typically take that Friday afternoon off and head to a local watering hole to watch the golf action and throw back a few Labatts. Most of us on the East Coast will be out of work by race time and it will be around 4pm on the West Coast (happy hour!). If they promoted this race of the ages during the Masters telecast, it could do wonders to boost the awareness of this race and generate huge TV numbers.

If you are looking to make the trip to the Hot Springs, Arkansas track for the big weekend (the Arkansas Derby is on Saturday - Oaklawn's closing day), it appears you most likely have to fly into Little Rock to get to Hot Springs. Since I am an East Coaster, I had no sense of geography or any idea how far Little Rock is from Hot Springs. A quick google search told me that the cities are 53.1 miles apart and if you decide to hoof it from Little Rock, it'll take around 17 hours to make the same trek.

I think it's a good thing to change things up by racing early Friday evening; the track owner is putting up big dough ($5M), so he too deserves to make a few sheckles with back-t0-back big racing days. Plus it should boost the economy whereby a lot of folks will make a weekend out of it. It's ironic after the uproar that occurred when the Breeders' Cup moved all the filly & mare races to the so-called Filly Friday, that the two best horses of 2009 will be part of a spectacular Filly Friday Night Fight at Oaklawn in April.

That is, of course, if all goes according to Hoyle. Fingers crossed.

1 Comment:

The Turk said...

I've been planning an Ark Derby April 10th visit and I'll be coming in a day early now. I only hope I get in!


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