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Monday, September 27, 2010

Days Gone By

With the passing of George Blanda today at the ripe old age of 83, it immediately brought me back to my youth. Standing in the back yard in Cayuga, NY with my childhood pal, Jay, throwing touchdown passes around the big tree in Mr. Knierem's back yard (and hoping he wouldn't yell at us being in his yard) pretending to be John Brodie, Johnny Unitas and the grand ole' man Blanda. If the pretend Blanda happened to throw the TD, he would be kicking that extra point over our neighbor's tree. When's the last time a QB in today's game also doubled as the field goal kicker? Classic stuff. I know I digress, but when someone passes away that was someone you imitated as a kid, then you take notice.....ok back to racing (P.S. Blanda did play at the University of Kentucky...)

Well not yet...I took the weekend off from the ponies to make the annual pilgrimage to Happy Valley for the Nittany Lion-Temple Owls game, sans tickets. I sent the Space Gal into her favorite tee-shirt joint and the hunt was on. I negotiated a pretty good deal for 8th row tickets on the 40 with your friendly neighborhood scalper guy. I turned the tables on him when he said he was going to only make $20 on the deal, saying "man that's 20%...where you gonna get that in this market." I walked away saying No Deal and he called me back immediately and the deal was done. They ended up being excellent seats and Temple gave PSU all they could handle. A good time was had by all. On a side note, we ran into a gent in front of the PSU Bookstore who was selling signed pictures of various horses and I purchased a photo of Super Saver's Derby win, signed by Calvin Borel. Sweetness.

My month long wagering hiatus will end on Super Saturday, where Belmont will feature 5 (count em, five) Grade I's headlined by the Jockey Club Gold Cup. There are several handicapping contests this weekend also, so it's prime time to start prepping for the Breeders' Cup, just like the ponies. I'm feeling refreshed and pumped for Saturday's ack-shun.

As a relatively new fan to the sport, I just don't get race conditions that provide weight breaks to horses. Yeah, I get they are trying to even up the race in most situations, but why do mares get a 3 lb weight break in the Classic? Northern Hemi 3 yos get 4 lbs in the Classic? Fillies get 5 lbs in the Preakness? Aren't we trying to find out who the fastest horse is? It's not like amateur golf where handicaps are determined based on your best 10 of your last 20 rounds, to even out betting between competitors. Professional golfers don't give strokes to one another, so why should professional race horses spot each other a few lbs? I don't know if I'll ever get it. Maybe I'm just ignorant, but I sure would love to understand the logic...

RIP George


The_Knight_Sky said...

Weight breaks are another one of the antiquated items still in use in the modern condition books. I'm not sure that will ever change.

Quite frankly, I don't pay attention to the weight spreads, simply because the other variables are far too important when it comes to deciding the races.

BTW, the horse who wins the race isn't necessarily the "fastest", it's the most "efficient" one who crosses the wire.

As for Mr. Blanda...
All the great men are dying.
And I don't feel so well myself.

EquiSpace said...

Norm: I can always count on you to set me straight and I appreciate the words of wisdom.

The broke the mold on old George...that's for sure.

Thanks as always, for reading (and for the lyrical magic)


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