TDN Writers’ Room Podcast, Episode 28: March 18, 2020 Racing in the Age of the Coronavirus

good afternoon it’s 1:40 Wednesday March
18th this is the TDN Writers’ Room represented by Keeneland home of
world-class racing and industry leading sale my name is Joe Bianca I’m editor
the thoroughbred Daily News good afternoon everybody this is Bill Finley
along with John Green oh you’ll talk to in just a minute we are here in the
offices of the TD n Red Bank New Jersey and eerie feeling offices are all but
empty but we march on try to make the best of things absolutely and we need to
march on just like just like the world does we’re just a small portion of
what’s going on out there but needless to say I’ve been
implementing social distancing for almost my entire 50 years of my life
although the nights are that a date I was preparing for this is gonna be a
different kind of episode and I think it’s gonna be that way for a little bit
I’m calling into the studio it’s just it’s amazing how much the world can
change in a week because we recorded exactly a week ago and I remember coming
out of the studio they’re all amped up about the the show we did and we got the
news that March Madness would be conducted without fans which just seemed
crazy at that time like an incredibly extreme measure but a little I mean a
little did we know that that would be the least of it because later that night
the NBA was canceled or postponed and suspended hockey followed soon after and
then baseball and March Madness was eventually canceled these are kind of
the cultural touchstones that we have through sports and it’s such a reliable
backdrop for alive that when there are no sports to be seen and if that really
I think drives home for a lot of people how interrupted life is gonna be because
of this and it’s it’s just gotten even more dire and you know the predictions
have gone from two to three week interruption city was three-month
interruptions and I think that’s kind of what freaking everybody out right now
and rightfully so is the uncertainty of this and worst has not hit America for
the most part yet and it’s just we’re gonna have to you know buckle down for a
little bit here and you know as much as we can help in bringing the world the
sweet content that it needs we’ll do our best and hand it over to
you guys well thanks Joe and you know we’re gonna
talk about a lot of issues this week including the postponement I’m sure of
the Kentucky Derby and as I’ve been covering the story for the tdn and this
comes on the heels of what we thought was the biggest story of our lifetimes
in horse racing and then for the drug trainers etc and then four or five days
later it might even be eclipsed by what’s going on now so but I think it’s
it’s important to keep things in perspective about what we’re talking
about here and I’ll adhere now to two trainers that I talked to this week
Patrick being Kohn and Bob Baffert when I called them to find out what they
thought about the Kentucky Derby being postponed you know frankly horse
trainers are known not to really think or feel much about what goes on in the
world outside of them you know an insular world of horse racing and they
breathe sleep horse racing 24/7 and called Baffert and I called a Patrick
bein cone and both have a couple of Derby contenders and both of them pretty
much said the same thing and I’m paraphrasing is I really don’t care that
the Kentucky Derby has been postponed this year this is a sporting event it’s
a minor thing in the history of mankind and what’s going on in the human race
right now I’m concerned about my health I’m concerned about this country I’m
concerned about keeping my help safe and you know they really hit the
button there um of course we’re gonna talk about
horse racing and we’re gonna talk about the Derby and maybe the Louisiana Derby
though it will be run this weekend but we can’t lose our perspective horse
racing is just the most – thing in the world right now and we’re living through
probably the scariest thing that has happened to any of us in our lifetimes
yep you know you have to keep everything in perspective Bill you’re exactly right
and pandemic are not doing the right things making sure that you’re following
the CDC rules and and suggestions as of paramount importance and and you know
just to go back to what you’re saying before about we thought that we were
hitting on the biggest story of our respective careers and I was taking
notes all week and saying wow I can’t believe the 27 people were indicted and
all these things going on and then on top of it there were you know more
people indicted on money laundering which I think the FBI actually alluded
to in there in the initial press conference that’s – that was the the
reason why they looking into the industry and then you
get some sales that are canceled and you get some races that are canceled and and
all of a sudden it goes from being well it’s a kind of a flu to well you maybe
want to take some precautions and and if you’re not feeling well stay home all
the way to where it’s full blown into this almost police state that we’re
living in and I know sports and recreations are there to try to get
people they can take their minds off these things which i think is why we’re
all here right now talking about horse racing is just to give everyone a little
bit of a respite from all the all the stress that’s going on out there and I
just it kind of reminds me and I really I’ve ever seen anything like this in my
life I doubt you guys happy there the other thing that I thought of was 911
but that was for most of the country I think that was something that they
mostly saw on TV you know growing up in New York obviously was a difficult thing
but that’s the most of the country I don’t think there was a major
interruption of life as we know and I think you have to go all the way back to
World War two basically and when society changed and sports were canceled so this
is something that we haven’t seen in a long long time and like I said I think
the uncertainty of it is what’s really riling people up and we don’t know how
bad it’s gonna be but again like John said I think it’s really important to
listen to the scientists on this and listen to the doctors and and not
necessarily politicians listen to the people you know have studied and
prepared for this kind of event and I think that’s that’s the best way for it
but you know as far as far as we’re concerned it’s it’s gonna obviously
going to be a more subdued podcast going forward which is like I’m glad I got all
the yelling out of my system last week so I think I should be properly sedated
now I will say that four to five CDC members recommend listening to the tdn
podcast all right we got to work on that fifth one yeah exactly that that’s a
little-known fact oh good that’ll be coming out in one of the CDC tweets soon
it’ll be like buried at the bottom of a press release take two tea tin writers
rooms and call us in the morning no but yeah so it’s it’s obviously gonna be
gonna be different for all of us going forward and I think this is definitely a
time where you know you people gotta watch out for each other and take care
of each especially the more vulnerable people in
our society including like that the elderly and the immunosuppressed I think
this is you know honestly that I was I I have to admit that I was out Friday
night I had to meet somebody but and I went to bar for a couple drinks and I
was shocked I was shocked at how many people were out and I think that again
like forth like that changed very very quickly I think they were there was
sufficient shame for people and they were going out and getting together in
clusters on Friday and Saturday and you know eventually here in New Jersey
Hoboken and Jersey City of close the bars down New York is doing the same
thing so I it’s one of the things where I think you know especially local
governments have to intervene because otherwise people are gonna treat this as
a usual thing and it’s just it’s not that I think would be appropriate to now
talk about how this is affected horse-racing and you know there’s so
many different answers to that but you know one of the things based on what you
were just talking about Joe about how you know all these sporting events are
canceled you can’t go to a bar anymore you can’t go to a restaurant etc horse
racing is extremely unique in American society right now is that some not all
but some including some very prominent race tracks like Gulfstream Park
aqueduct Fairgrounds are going to try to continue to race through this
coronavirus crisis and you know we sit around all these years and joke about
how nobody goes to the track anymore and there’s 15 people at Aqueduct on a
Thursday well you know what right now that’s a darn good thing because this is
an enterprise at least from the racing standpoint that will suffer but not to
the point of you know losing you know terrible numbers and handle or or just
you know being really in a mess can handle operating through a crisis
like this because virtually you know what’s the figure 90% 92% whatever it is
of the gambling and wagering on racing takes effect outside the racetracks and
most of us now you know don’t think of me ever making a bet if it’s not on our
computer so you know I guess I won’t even say it’s good news I think there’s
I don’t wanna say anything is good news with what’s going on right now but it
does position horse racing rather uniquely
and you know there I guess there is that to be to be happy for no I think you’re
spot on a you know right now when when the majority of gambling is going on
outside of the racetracks outside of the four walls
it hasn’t based on the numbers that hasn’t impacted the sport yet and I know
I was talking to to a trainer the other day and he was jokingly saying well and
I’m really glad that the owners aren’t allowed to come to the paddock this is
gonna make things a lot easier for us and and and for the jockeys as well but
I think you know one of the important things that that I think the Kentucky
Derby picked up on is the fact that you have to have something on the calendar
you have to have some of these major races that are that are initially being
postponed at least have another deadline on or a date on the calendar so that way
people can plan and look forward to the future and look for something now that
is going to be get a whole bunch of other issues that I’m sure we’ll get
into later on today as far as the dates and what’s going to happen with the the
Preakness and the Belmont and and you know we’ll talk about that a little bit
later on but I think it’s imperative just in
living through some of these other you know crises that we’ve talked about that
you need to have something in the calendar to look forward to and and
prepare for otherwise we’re just kind of like banging our heads against the wall
and I think this is I agree with go to your points I think this is an
interesting time for racing and I think it shows kind of what a middle class
game racing is at its heart because these there are a ton of people who
aren’t making money if the horses don’t run who don’t have a reserve for a rainy
day and they need to make a living at these tracks and it’s interesting how a
lot you know there’s a lot of companies most companies I would say are including
ours are instituting a work-from-home policy well these are these guys working
from home like the backstretch workers they live with the horses they take care
of the horses day-in day-out and this is I think a unique opportunity where
people would people wouldn’t think of this as a work from home industry but it
it is then they if somebody has to be there to take care of the horses and you
know I’m glad that it’s least going on for now like I wouldn’t I wouldn’t count
any chickens or you know think that this is going to be a permanent situation you
never know especially in New York if the governor and the mayor will step
in and say look you can’t even do this much so far supposedly New York has
gotten the OK from the New York state Gaming Commission that their gatherings
aren’t 50-plus people at the moment but I just I wouldn’t bank on that being the
case for this entire period however long this lasts and I mean it’s already
affected us with the Derby being pushed back but I it is nice to see racing
being able to carry on in the meantime and this would be a great time if we had
it in the business to educate people on how to get racing I think that you know
there’s so little competition I mean we had that case for a while where we were
the only game in town in terms of online wagering but now we’re the only game in
town period and I think this would be a good time to have broadcast like I’ve
got it NBC News simulcast no TV to broadcast but this would be a great time
to have easy links for free pts like basic very basic kind of performances
that can walk you through how to place of that because I think there will be
people that’ll be open to playing the horses that wouldn’t normally and this
is where having free data and very easily accessible data and you know easy
interfaces I think would be a big boon for the for the industry but you raise
the right question so we’re talking now about this upcoming weekend with
Louisiana Derby with several major racetracks running right now in horse
racing we haven’t heard at least I haven’t heard of anybody getting this
virus be it a trainer a backstretch worker or jockey but it seems inevitable
that’s going to happen I mean if you listen to what the experts are telling
us it’s very scary stuff and it would be hard to believe that an entire industry
would somehow escape this now I know everybody in racing is being very
careful and you know not letting people like the owners congregate around the
trainers etc but you know geez I sure hope I’m wrong about this but I think
that you know in two weeks from now would be my guess there’s no horse
racing in this country I mean it’sit’s again I I hope I’m wrong for everybody’s
sake but it just seems to be that’s where this is headed yeah that that’s
the inevitable ending to all this is if they can’t they keep using the term
flattening out the curve if they can’t you know slow down this pandemic then
you have to assume that our industry is not going to be immune to it we’re
dealing with people that that are living in close quarters for the most part on
the backstretch albeit there is a lot of outdoor and fresh air and everything
like that just odds are it’s going to hit somebody within our organization in
their industry excuse me and then spread from there so I think a couple of weeks
is probably the right you know rule of thumb right now you know from a selfish
standpoint I’m glad they’re gonna be racing this weekend because we’re
actually gonna be running a couple of horses and steak races at Gulfstream and
to have it on NBC is really cool especially in light of all the bad news
that we’ve been getting out of the industry for you know in recent times
but Billy I think if you gave me an over/under of ten days I think that’s
probably you know it would take me under at this point yeah and I just to go back
to the to the Derby because I feel like that’s you know we’ll probably have more
to talk about or maybe less to talk about in the coming weeks but I think
for now the big news related to the coronavirus and racing is the Derby
being pushed back for months which was that’s I mean that’s that’s a that’s a
good chunk of the calendar and it just we’re gonna go on the assumption that
it’s gonna run that date obviously as developments change and things may be
worse and that will become less feasible but for now we’ll go on the assumption
that you know we’ll be in a place where you know it’s it’s it’s more stable and
they can run the Derby on the rescheduled date and in which case that
creates a pretty big I don’t know it’s a little bit of a mess for the schedule I
guess and in racing wise you know all the perhaps it seems like we’ll be able
to be completed except for the Keeneland race at the bluegrass I think New York
and Gulfstream and Fair Grounds will most likely be able to complete their
Derby prep schedule so that stuff will be done but I don’t know like that it
seemed like Churchill made this decision pretty you know unilaterally and I don’t
think there’s a ton of people that are surprised by that because it seemed as
if the Preakness of the Belmont do not have similar contingency plans in place
right now but you know if they were able to finagle a schedule
you know with the Derby being September 5th and then the Preakness being a
couple weeks later and a lot being a couple weeks later and then leading into
the Breeders Cup I think that wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world I think
you would have a lot of three-year-olds who maybe you are on the Shelf now or
maybe you’re you know developing who will be much stronger and more mature
animals you might get an even better field if that day comes to pass but then
you have to talk about the Travers and Saratoga has to adjust I think Bob
Baffert is probably pretty happy with charlatan horse like that that you know
if we try to like I say rush but you know push into the Derby a lot justify
that horse gets more more time to develop I think there’s gonna be a lot
of horses like that and hopefully on the other side of this if we do get to run
the Derby on this rescheduled date you might have an even better event than it
would have been in May Churchill Downs it does look like they went off on their
own without consulting really with historic group for Pimlico and IRA for
Belmont yeah you know that’s kind of what you hear behind the scenes but they
got it right in terms of if you look at all the the moving parts and you say
okay you know what’s the right date for this I think the date they pick
September 5th is virtually perfect for one thing there’s it’s before college
football really gets going there are games then but the early season college
football games are not a real big deal that’s number one number two obviously
NBC told them they could get the race on TV that day number three is it’s still
summer it’s still Labor Day is the end of summer and people still are eager to
be outdoors to do things and be at big events and also the fact that you know
we don’t know but you know if they had scheduled it for say a month later well
you could look I’d say you know you really want to do that is is the virus
going to be contained at that point so that you can hold the event well that’s
anybody’s guess but yeah conventional wisdom and say you know June no not
going to happen but September may not happen but September is better than June
and certainly better than the first Saturday in May when it comes to trying
to pull this thing off it won’t be quite the
same like you said you know from a racing standpoint I mean there might be
a horse I named run yet and might win the Kentucky Derby now so far as the
race being in September but it’s gonna it’s gonna hurt the bottom line I don’t
think they’re gonna have a you know crowd that is quite equal to what
normally happens you know betting might be off a little bit but that said you
know Churchill I think did find the best solution at least for Churchill for a
very difficult problem no you’re spot-on I mean they had to juggle a lot of
things and consider a lot of variables in order to pick the date part of which
was you know there’s two major race meets coming on sandwiched around the
September fifth weekend you have the you know the Keeneland meet in October and
then you have the Kentucky Downs meet prior to that you know for the
summertime which is always you know a big kind of fair meet down there
ironically enough in doing some research and reading one of the reasons why they
picked a date and Bill you alluded to this before is that it could be on
national television but it’s only because Notre Dame doesn’t have a game
being televised that day so it was like either September 5th or sometime in
mid-october which really would have you know screwed up the whole timing with
the Breeders Cup my biggest concern right now and you guys are talking about
this a little bit before is you know there are horses right now that are
earning points in all of these preps and you know unlike the Breeders Cup where
the Breeders Cup has it set up there’s a point system half the field gets into
their respective race based on points and the other half is voted in well
there’s no such mechanism on the Kentucky Derby so how are they going to
handle this now where you have all these courses that are earning points right
now and then as you guys mentioned there could be a horse coming out of the
clouds that maybe just broke his maiden or hasn’t even run yet or broken its
maiden yet that may be the superstar surging in August into September you
know winning the Haskell or winning you know a race of that caliber and not
being eligible to run in the BRIT in the Kentucky Derby if there’s 20 other
horses ahead of them in points they’re gonna have to account for that somehow
yeah I mean it seems like they’re gonna have to add points races to the schedule
and I don’t know how that’s gonna break down kind of feeding frenzy
that gonna be all of a sudden now with with the racetrack saying I think our
race needs to be a hundred points John I don’t think that’s gonna be that
difficult I mean you know you know the kind of races and if these races are
even gonna be held but you know the Haskell is obviously if it stays where
it is now is obviously going to be a points race for the Kentucky Derby it’s
gonna be a prep for the Kentucky Derby and you know that’s that’s a race worthy
of the highest amount of points you know if they stick the Iowa Derby somewhere
in there maybe that’s a 20 point race or something like that I think that’s the
least of their problems they’ll figure that all out and you know I think we’ll
hear from Churchill within a week or two about you know how what kind of point
schedule they’re going to put forward and you know in additionally you know
horses you know tend to go by the wayside we’re also gonna see you know
probably of the top ten everybody’s top ten I bet you five or six I morning be
racing now in September so it’s gonna be the whole picture I mean it’s right now
to impossible it’s impossible to predict or even speculate who’s gonna be in the
Kentucky Derby who gonna be the main horse I mean we assume Baffert’s gonna
be there with some good horses etc but you know absolutely anything is possible
at this point and horses that have recently just gone on the shelf for
various and sundry you know minor surgeries or minor issues all of a
sudden could be peaking by that’s by the time the summer and and and fall comes
around Joe I don’t I don’t know if you know the answer to this question but if
people were betting the futures and they ended up picking you know the field at
this point do they have the field all the way through to September or like how
is that hand how was that handled right now for people who’ve been on the
futures wager yeah about that I know that they’re still honoring future
wagers but I’m not a hundred percent sure on how they’re going to handle the
field cuz yeah that might be the value of the century right now drying the
future bet on the field but yeah Joe let me let me jump in on that um there has
been no official word from Churchill Downs about the future wager they have
to refund to haul bats I was thinking right I mean that would be criminal if
they didn’t you know you know if you could be sitting there with uh you know
if you’re sitting there with Nadal at a hundred to one sorry pal just the whole
thing is wiped out and I’m a little bit surprised you know I shouldn’t say I’m
surprised they’ve had more important things to deal with but I would be
shocked if they didn’t within the next week or two say you know the future
rager is suspended and all bets are refunded I mean they have to that would
be really unfair to it to anybody that bet on it you would think would be
refunded or at least a future credit you know towards future you know like you
know everyone well you know they canceled the seventh race the storm
comes in and they can’t run the eighth and ninth races you bet on advance you
get your money back you know I mean that’s a no-brainer so that would be
terrible if they didn’t take care of that right but then does that all of a
sudden open up just to argue for a second so all of a sudden open up a
slippery slope where let’s say if we didn’t talk about this yet but let’s say
one of the horses that that ran fun you know suddenly becomes disqualified for
you know for a drug issue or anything like that they’re not refunding the
money on those you know bets as well right well this is a unique thing no
slippery slope no questions no debate close it give everybody their money back
it’s very slippery slope yeah I’m off behind the slippery slope don’t open up
Pandora’s box yes all right all right we’re getting out of control here take
charge pal well I just I wanted to mention just in particularly horse-like
tis the law because he had a little bit of a minor foot issue earlier in the
month and it seemed like he had to miss a couple weeks of training and then he
got back on the work to have now he was scheduled to run in the Florida Derby I
just wonder if maybe with a horse like him now ii saw guys and that barkley tag
will put him on the shelf for a little bit i just think there’s gonna be a lot
of shuffling when it comes to horses schedules because as time goes on
there’s gonna be fewer and fewer races to run in i wonder how it affects that
and you know i wonder if you know even if racing does go on in limited capacity
I wonder if most of the big horses will be will be on the farm somewhere as we
wait to see this thing sort out I hope not but that is a possibility but the
problem isn’t I mean nobody knows there’s no no blueprint for this this is
unprecedented in the history of horse racing you know you’re in march or
gearing your horse up to race six weeks later in the kentucky derby and get him
to peak that day and now it’s a hopes never mind you got to wait four more
months we have no idea what kind of prep race casual is going to be out for the
new Kentucky Derby or even if there is going to be a new Kentucky Derby on
September 5th so everybody’s just playing it by ear I
mean I would think if people want to put the horses on shell on the shelf that
would be crazy I mean you know keep them racing just you know keep them on the
kind of schedule they keep on now once a month there’ll be hopefully there’ll be
some races to run in and you know we’ll figure it out as it goes along you know
but you know everybody’s just scratching their heads we don’t have the answer
named Bob Baffert the greatest Kentucky Derby trainer in history ask him what
he’s gonna do I’m sure he has the faintest idea how could he it’s
unprecedented no blueprint nobody’s ever written a book how to get to the Derby
four months later than you ever thought for dummies you know yeah it’s uncharted
waters but the thing that that is very intriguing for me is you know just build
what you were saying what blueprint to you do utilize you know where do you run
at this point it used to be where you you know peak for the Kentucky Derby now
it’s really gonna be interesting because the Kentucky Derby may be the 3rd jewel
of the Triple Crown depending on on ultimately what you know Stronach and
and Nara decide to do and is it going to be you know that way
going forward I don’t think so but it’s a really unique kind of situation right
now where do people hold their horses out of the Preakness and the Belmont in
order to run in the Kentucky Derby do they run them in the Haskell and give
them down time and and then you know pick them up again for the Kentucky
Derby there’s gonna be all kinds of asterisks I think when you look at the
the 20 20 year when it comes to racing and it’s gonna be really really
interesting for that fourth quarter of the year third and fourth quarter of the
year for racing because there’s gonna be great ones that are becoming fast and
furious and the Eclipse Award votes are going to be really intriguing this year
you know we’ve been talking so much about the Kentucky Derby we’ve failed to
mention what’s gonna happen with the Preakness and Belmont now Joe mentioned
a little bit earlier on the show that you know there is one obvious path you
keep the same order of the races and you keep the same spacing with the two weeks
three weeks and then it would be four weeks from there from the end of the
Triple Crown of the Belmont to the Breeders Cup Classic now in this modern
day and age that’s stuff in a lot of races in to a fairly short period of
time but it does seem doable and we have not heard yet from the Stronach group
from pemko or an IRA from Belmont and that leads me to believe and
this is just speculation but I think it’s a fairly safe conclusion at the
very least they’re not ready to immediately sign off on putting their
races in those spots now there’s you know again so many moving parts what
does NBC doing with college football I will tell you that on the that date the
proposed dates with the two three weeks normal scheduling they don’t have to
worry about Notre Dame on the date that would be the Preakness Notre Dame plays
Western Michigan at 2:30 so that game would be over and plenty of time to
broadcast the Preakness on a day of the Belmont Notre Dame play Stanford at 7:30
so you can get the Belmont done with before the Stanford Notre Dame game
comes on so that’s doable but if I’m from the Stronach group were for the New
York Racing Association right now I got to take a long hard look at this and
really think about whether or not running these races in September and
October is the right thing to do I can tell you this much with certainty if
they run those races at those days there’s gonna be twenty thousand people
at the track and handles gonna be off huge it the Preakness and Belmont will
not work as far as comparing them to the Preakness and Belmont that we know
racing in September in October it’s a totally different animal and they’re
gonna get killed at the box office handle television ratings everything do
they want to do it do they want to gamble and move the races you know back
a couple weeks we still try to run them in June and July a big problem with that
if you do that what if you know you’re told by the CDC or the the you know the
president’s office or Governor Cuomo or Governor Hogan in Maryland you can’t run
it’s it’s a huge conundrum and it’ll be very interesting to see how they decide
to do this I think that that naira is in a more precarious position right now
than the Stronach group with regard to the the Preakness versus the Belmont and
the reason being is you know if I had a three-year-old that was of that caliber
grade one caliber and my end game was to run in you know in in one of the big
races like the Haskell where the the Nuge are be in September you know or one
of the races later on I would not want to start him off going a mile and a half
right now whether whether it’s you know May or June or even even October at that
point because there’s no mile and a half race
John easy solution that they just change the distance there’s no reason why the
race has to be a mile and half if it’s not the third leg of the Triple Crown I
guarantee you it will not be running on a mile and a half B mile a quarter
that’s easiest change in the world I mean they were in the race at Aqueduct
for a couple years these things are fluid they can change
it it doesn’t know where a set in stone you have to be a mile and a half that’s
an easy fix well they would have to I mean I think
we’re saying they would absolutely have to change it otherwise I don’t know who
else that we get in the race because why would you want to do that right but if
they change the distance you know what that would be Bo a slippery slope okay
okay all right full circle okay anyway but the reason why I think the cyrillic
group can can kind of buy their time a little bit right now is they have to let
everything develop from the CDC standpoint and also from the pandemic
standpoint and they don’t have to make any changes yet on on the date and
really if you’re gonna run in it let’s say they decide that they’re gonna keep
it as is well there’s a lot of people that I know that key for the Preakness
versus keen for the Kentucky Derby maybe the horse just isn’t quite one of the
top 20 horses in the country and they’re afraid you know if shipping them out
there and having a run sixteenth and then not being able to come back two
weeks later there’s also a lot of people regionally that really prefer chucks
acnes one from cash is king that prefers to run sources in the Preakness because
it’s his home track basically or at least it’s it’s close in proximity to to
his house and he likes to have you know a lot of people there and and and come
and run the Belmont is such a unique animal no pun intended because it’s
always been the third race in the Triple Crown and either it’s feast or famine
either you’re having a horse that’s running for the Triple Crown you know
mantle or not and their numbers show that if there’s a horse that’s coming in
that’s won the Preakness and and the Kentucky Derby or they have the two
individual horses that have both won those respective races handle this up
when they have just a bunch of kind of okay horses that are that need to run a
mile and a half their handle is not nearly as good so I think that that the
Belmont is going to half the retire is gonna have to change the distance of the
Belmont if not and or the date of the of the race to make it more competitive
with with some of these other oncoming grade-one
races are in around the third quarter of the year I was gonna I’m gonna piggyback
on that point to that I think the Belmont in a normal year is extremely
dependent more so than any other race in the country upon who shows up and
whether or not there’s a Triple Crown on the line you know I think most people
make a kind of spur-of-the-moment decision about whether or not to go to
the Belmont I think there’s there’s a couple probably a couple ten thousand
people twenty thousand people that will buy tickets ahead of time I think the
vast majority of the crowd decides to show up whether or not there’s a Triple
Crown online or whether or not like John said there’s to the Derby and the
Preakness whenever going at it so I think that’s gonna be dependent upon
that no matter what if it does remain the last leg of the Triple Crown the
other thing I would say is that I just think in a general sense if things are
able to return to normal this summer slash into the fall I think
people are going to be really really needing a release and needing these
kinds of big events I understand there’s gonna be a lot of trepidation because of
the the protocols but I think that people are gonna really need to just
party and have some drinks and go out and see their friends again and it’s
just it’s been it’s gonna be such an interruption to American social life
more than anything that I think while the business of the Triple Crown will
suffer a little bit and if it’s run at later dates I think in general there
might be a counter balance of people who wouldn’t normally go if there’s a Triple
Crown on the line and now they’re going to because they need something to do to
release all of this tension that’s been building up for months well that goes
back to the original point I made now you’re obviously the Belmont if there’s
a horse going for the Triple Crown becomes a much bigger event than if it’s
just horses running in the Belmont but one thing Nayar has done has done a
really good job of turning this into an event day even when a Triple Crown is
not on the line got this fantastic card with all these grade one races in the
Met Mile and whatnot and you know now they’ve got concerts out there and you
know they’re now pulling in a very nice chunk of change between the box office
the handle etc on Belmont days that do not include a horse going for the Triple
Crown it’s a very very big day for the New
York Racing Association and I’m sure you know basically that in Saratoga are
probably the only two things they make any money off of and everything else is
probably a drain on them imagine if you have a Belmont run on October 10th and
no one is going for the Triple Crown I’m telling you there have 10,000 people at
the racetrack no one will care no one will care whatsoever the handle
will be you know down 75% over a normal Belmont do they want to take that chance
now you know it’s I don’t know I mean it’s an unenviable position to be in
because so much of this involves guesswork but I would say this much I do
think they’re thinking it over I do think they’re they’re looking at all
options and I do think they’re not immediately ready to sign on for oh yes
we’ll run the Belmont on October 10th and just you know be prepared to have
you know a real bla day out at the racetrack yeah I mean this is wild
speculation and guesswork on our part but it’s gonna be a lot of that there’s
gonna be a lot of that going forward because there’s gonna be little concrete
evidence to go on so we’re gonna do our best to kind of project forward I wanted
to talk about last week’s three year old perhaps because there were a couple
interesting horses that ran namely the two the two Baffert horses and Nadal and
charlatan I thought they were both extremely impressive in very different
ways charlatans I mean yeah you wanted the instant comparisons to justify makes
sense and we’ll see how good he ends up being but for horse to start his career
in 2020 with buyers of 105 and 106 I mean that’s like basically unheard of at
this point and you know he’s got everything his own way on Saturday he
didn’t didn’t face any real pressure on the lead so there really wasn’t there
wasn’t the the nose to nose acid test that you want to see for a lightly
racehorse before you figure out how good they are but man and the stretchy look
pretty damn powerful to me and he looks like a really interesting person but Dow
you know he didn’t get as big of a figure he got a 96 in the rebel but
talking about a horse that had to work hard every step of the way you know from
that rail draw they had to be aggressive with him and American Theorem went after
him and basically is suicide to old 22 and changed 46 and he opened up in
the stretch and just held on from a long shot 80221 shot Steve as percent to hold
on for the win I just I’d love to see that kind of tenacity in young horses
and it’s it’s it brings up an interesting thought I mean we’ll see if
the three of them will stay around until the reschedule Derby date but to have a
threesome of authentic Nadal and Charlotte said but all three have
similar running styles they’re all want to be on the lead I think they’ll be
interesting to learn if any of them can rate and if they do meet up somewhere
down the line that one of them is gonna have to otherwise you can have the three
best horses in the world but they’re all if they’re all speed horses they’re
going to cancel each other out so that’s an interesting dynamic for those three a
couple thoughts here and it definitely I mean Baffert if this was gonna be a
traditional Kentucky Derby would be holding a strong a hand as anybody has
seen in recent years number one charlatan if you could point
to any one horse where it may be good news that the Derby is being put off
till September it probably would be for charlatans now he might be so good that
he could come in and pull off the justify and win the Kentucky Derby and
what would be what his fourth lifetime start and not having started as a
two-year-old but you know just because just if I did it it doesn’t mean it’s
not incredibly hard to do and then we’ve kind of lost sight of that you know now
oh no big deal this horse just if I did it after nobody had done it since 1918
with Apollo and all that was in 1918 also the last serious serious pandemic
in this country with the something-or-other right yeah okay there
you go so there’s a connection to pandemics and Apollo and look at you
pulling the full circle but it it would be a very hard thing to pull off and
you’ve got to think that if you know racing sticks around and Baffert can
manage this horse get a few more races under his belt he’s gonna be that much
tougher in the Kentucky Derby in September and you know for all we know
weight backwards been rolling these horses out and we’ve talked about this
before for all we know he’s got some horse named glowworm in his barn that is
gonna debut on you know May first in an allowance or in a maiden special rate at
Churchill Downs excuse me it’s an Anita and he will
become the new flavor of the month and you know be welcome glowworm win the
Kentucky Derby after not starting his career till May knowing Baffert that’s
entirely possible yep and it would be a new chapter in the
history of horse racing but Nadal you know and Joe you mentioned before what
an impressive race I mean he was pinned to the rail American Theorem you know
really pushed him hard in 22 and 4 and 46 and then they got to six firlock’s
and all of a sudden it was like whoa what happened they’d all found you know
another gear and American Theorem didn’t and then just coasted them down down the
stretch and was just super impressive and did it the right way in the rebel
against some some legitimate horses in there a three technique and basin you
know we’re both contenders you know shameless plug Nadal was a Keeneland
grad you know they bought it for $65,000 as a yearling and Charlton was also a
Keeneland grad it’s a little bit more $700,000 purchase but what it shows you
is just that that Baffert just has an unlimited number of horses to basically
take off the bench and and throw them in there and whether it’s glowworm or I’m
really hoping for a horse named Topsy Turvey just so that way Gio can get some
credibility on Ahnold on his nun his term here a lot of backstretch whispers
about glow about glow yeah you know I didn’t see him on the on the future so
that’s why I want the futures that’s why that’s really what the slippery slope
you know analogy is involved because you want to bet on a horse like glowworm
that’s not that’s not shown there yet but you know Nadal was just super
impressive and Charlton was also even more impressive especially from a figure
standpoint obviously didn’t run against the same kind of competition that an
adult did in in the rebel but should be noted that he posted you know
back-to-back really impressive races and you know who knows if any of those three
or all those three are gonna be you know standing for the you know for the
Kentucky Derby but all three right now absolute contenders and one thing I
wanted to mention about the doll just to underscore how impressive his race was
the two horses that were closest to him through the first half mile in the race
and they’re not bumps American Theorem had a really nice debut win last year
and then was second in the American Pharoah and then no-parole who seemed
like a Louisiana bred terror stepping into open company
those are the two courses that we’re closest in the dial
on that pace American theorem was beaten twenty seven and a quarter lengths and
no parole was beaten forty nine links and the DA won the race so that’s the
kind of stuff that really really puts into context how strong of an effort it
was that the only horses who could run with him early we’re basically Easley
and he still had something else in the tank so I mean it’s gonna be interesting
to see what they do with these horses like I said you know if racing is able
to go on there’s gonna be spots for them to run in but do you want to risk
running a horse three or four more times before the Derby and that you know
assuming we have that Derby day my horse might be out of gas my guess is that
even if there are races to run and most of these will go on the shelf at least
for some period of time I wanted to segue from that into this week’s race
this week’s three-year-old racing in the Louisiana Derby a million dollar
Louisiana Derby Saturday at the fairgrounds and a huge field 14 horses
including modernist one one division of the Risen Star II drew the outside
fourteen post and Mister Monomoy obviously who won the other division of
risen stars is on the shelf but he’s he’s one of those horses that might be
able to take advantage if he’s able to get back in time for a September derby
and make it when he otherwise wouldn’t have been able to but so obviously a big
race at fairgrounds I wanted her I mean it’s right it’s probably a little a
little too recent for trainers to really change their training methods in terms
of how they were getting these horses ready for this race but I wonder if they
might want to have them a little extra cranked right now with the future so
uncertain for racing and in general I wonder if this is more of an end goal
for a lot of these guys now than a prep we also the race before that we had we
have the fairgrounds oaks which a little bit disappointing we’re not going to see
British idiom in the race finite is there and drew the outside six posts and
she kind of just looks to lay over the field now so it’s not as much trauma is
if we would have seen a rematch with British idiom but still a couple a
couple of pretty nice races Saturday at fairgrounds well I think you have to
look at there’s a couple of horses in here you know they’re coming in from
both divisions of the Risen Star but one horse that that I thought really piqued
my interest was Chestertown who is in a very expensive way is owned
by one of our sponsors West Point right John that’s I’m full-service if not
anything else but he was a two million dollar you know two-year-old you know
impeccably bred and ironically Nevers in New York bread that has you know that
that broke is made in an aqueduct but just the last race that he ran I know it
was an allowance race and I know that it wasn’t the same field as the Risen Star
divisions but man was at an impressive race and and you know came home very
quickly had a couple of excuses and right now is posted at fifteen the one
so I was a little surprised based on his odds you know and I’m assuming it’s
because he ran just an ad buyer compared to some of the horses that that ran a
little bit higher but you talk about a horse that’s kind of peaking right now
you have to look at that type of son owning a multiple graded stakes winning
racehorses like hard not to love is attainable with a racing partnership
like West Point thoroughbreds partnerships enable you to spread your
ownership across several horses for less than it cost to own one horse alone this
increases your racetrack action and chances for a good course check out why
West Point thoroughbreds is the gold standard and racing partnerships visit
our website West Point little West Point News’s Chestertown Hill we’ve
mentioned earlier coming up in the Louisiana Derby two million dollar
topper at Opie as Marge OBS marchons going on this week that was a year ago
that he was bought there and fifteen one one in the morning line but probably has
a little bit better chance than that by will be bet down from there especially
with the way the west point guys like the bed and then also next weekend
decorated invader a very good two-year-old chair force for them one of
the summer snakes gonna make his three-year-old debut in the Cutler Bay
stakes on Florida Derby day at Gulfstream for Christophe Coleman we
wish the best of luck to West Point in the big horses they kind of running this
weekend and also a good second by hardeneth 11 the older my last week
joining a West Point thoroughbreds partnership can vault you into the world
of instant camaraderie among people surrounding high class horses and take
action for a fraction of the cost we’re trying to do it on your own land more at
West Point so we wanted to touch on the big story
from last week as well obviously it got it got knocked off of the front pages
with everything that’s going on in the world but the the doping scandal is
obviously still gonna be a major story in racing going forward we talked about
Orie Navarro and Jason service to a large extent last week but I mean –
there’s the there was an additional charge this week of money laundering to
Alfredo lechero is a trainer at Gulfstream Park in Florida and my guess
is there’s gonna be some more indictments trickling in as well I mean
I’m not gonna say that they’re happy about the corona virus being on the
front page but I got to think there’s a lot of people breathing a sigh of relief
that there are no longer national news for being busted for drug enforces but
that’s why I think it’s even more important for us to keep the pressure up
during these weeks because it is it even regardless of what happens with the
virus it’s it’s going to be a big big deal for racing and the implications are
going to be long-standing so I’ll open it up to you guys and last week
well this answered a question that everybody was sort of asking when this
thing came down which now seems like about 35 years ago or something like
that if you remember when the they had the press conference in the the people
from the government spoke up for the first time they said we weren’t looking
at horse-racing this fell into our lap as we were investigating something
Ellison nobody quite understood what they meant that and they haven’t said as
much anybody from the FBI or the US Attorney’s Office but it’s pretty easy
to connect the dots now they were looking at money laundering which is you
know serious stuff compared to horse-racing and it involved this
Alfredo liqueur guy I don’t even add but I never heard of the guy and he was a
trainer in Florida and then he was involved with a guy who at one point in
time owned some horses and as the president Trump would say there were
some bad hombres they got involved with some money launderers out of South
America and were telling them that you know we can launder your money through
Loco as lekawa I don’t know his his Horseman’s account
so you know that connected the dots I don’t know if there’s gonna be more
money laundering to come out I don’t know if there’s gonna be more names to
come out in the horse-racing part of it but we did learn something out of that
and I think we now understand that you know I imagine as if they were tapping
lakotas phone and I pronounce if I’m not pronouncing that
right dammit I don’t care but you know maybe they heard us oh yeah you know you
think I’m good at this juice and stuff you oughta see what this Jorge Navarro
and Jason service guy does I mean something of that ilk or maybe you know
that’s a crazy scenario maybe it’s not and and then they you know turn rotten
hmm let’s see what’s up with mr. Navarro mr. service I think that makes a lot
more sense than just one day the FBI decided to look into doping and horse
racing something that they probably don’t give to to two cents about ironic
the irony of irony on this whole LaToya thing is that you know they said let’s
give let’s give him horses because he’s such a top you know trainer and he was
what would you say was one for ya that he could win all this purse money right
off and that would help them launder the money you know nothing any of the stuff
is funny but I mean who was scamming whom in this thing because the LaCava
and some of these other guys on the US side were telling the bad hombres in
Brazil and and whatnot in Venezuela that we can launder their money because this
guy’s such a great horse trainer and juice and his horses guy was the worst
trainer that ever lived he was one for 51 on the year if he’s Juicin and he’s
still one for 51 bet he’s doing it the wrong way
juicy would’ve been over 51 you know oh my gosh you can’t make it up so that’s
gonna be it for this week’s episode of the CDN writers room presented by qilin
i want to thank everybody for listening I want to thank Bill Finley and John
Green in the studio for hold down the forages though a programming note going
forward I’m going to be a set up with a mobile podcast units able to broadcast
from home going forward and we’re just we’re gonna try to pump out content in
the same way that we usually do to keep you guys entertained we want everybody
to stay safe and at the end of the day take precaution you know take
responsibility for everybody in your community especially the most vulnerable
and we will talk to you next week

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