I went up to cover the race for my Friday Buffalo News blog, so we'll leave the racing stories for tomorrow's column.
What was different about this year's luncheon was that the drawmaster was not someone you would see at your ordinary post position draw. Former NBA star and Hall of Fame forward Dennis Rodman served that role, assisting racecaller Dan Loiselle with the draw of Sunday's big race.
The selection of Rodman, while curious, in my opinion isn't a bad thing for racing. Much noise was being made about his being the selection. Look at it this way, people were talking about racing, and about a race that may as well have been off people's radar on a lazy Thursday afternoon. Rodman has had his difficulties off the court, but he has come a long way from a difficult youth. When asked what his career highlight was, he stated "Leaving the projects in Dallas." More than once he said if he hadn't, he'd probably either be dead or in jail.
The man could rebound, and as a former small school point guard who could only master the D3 level of competition, the fact that he came out of a small college in Oklahoma and has a bust in Springfield tells you the kind of player he was. Not to mention the hard work that went into him propelling himself from a small school into the pro ranks.
The more comical and entertaining portion of the program included a back and forth episode with the witty Loiselle. They played a little game of the "first thing that comes to mind" when throwing out a name.....here's my notes on that dialogue....
Loiselle: Phil Jackson
Rodman: Love him.
Loiselle: Madonna (generated some good yuks pre-answer)
Rodman: Used to love her.
Loiselle: Michael Jordan
Rodman: The Greatest
Loiselle: Donald Trump
Rodman: Great Man, I like the way he does business
Loiselle: Carmen Electra
Rodman: (long pause) Carmen who?
Loiselle: Howard Stern
Loiselle: Tiger Woods
Rodman: (speechless for a good minute) Golfer
Very entertaining indeed. Woodbine did it's usual fabulous job with the video presentation of the International, dialed up another fabulous luncheon and open bar, and put together a top notch media package. I'm looking forward to spending Sunday afternoon up in Toronto and look for my blog tomorrow in the News. I had some interesting conversations with trainers Steven Chircop and Mike DePaulo that I will be sharing in Friday's blog.
Here are some photos from the draw:
|The longest stretch of turf on the continent|
|The goods for the G1 E.P. Taylor|
|The goods for the Pattison International|
|Loiselle and Rodman center stage|