Saturday, May 9, 2009

QUALITY ROAD OUT OF BELMONT

Friday, Spring Hill farm manager Chris Baker told us that Quality Road will not be ready to race in the Belmont, due to the continued healing of his quarter crack. The focus will now be on the Jim Dandy and the Travers during Saratoga's meet in August.

According to the Daily Racing Form:

Trainer Jimmy Jerkens said Friday that Quality Road was sore in his right front foot after training for three days, and has simply walked the shed since Wednesday. Jerkens said that an abscess, or pus pocket, popped out of the bulb of the colt's right front heel on Friday "to the inside of where the quarter crack is.''

Jerkens said that prior to the abscess popping, Quality Road had his shoes pulled to try and alleviate any soreness in his foot. Jerkens said the horse is getting treated with antibiotics.

Jerkens said Quality Road would not return to the track until next week and not until he gets new shoes and possibly a new patch on the quarter crack.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

NO MORE TWINKIE JOKES

Seems as Ralph “Fridge” Friedgen has figured out that opposing coaches are calling him “old” and "about to retire" quite often out on the recruiting trail, and we’re pretty sure there is a “fat, heart, gonna die” subtle or not-so-subtle message thrown in there as well.

So why, young gazelle like wide receiver, do you want to play for this man?


So, facing such “hypotheticals,” and, no doubt, some stern advice from his doctor(s), Fridge has shed 80 lbs. Yep, 80 big ones.

Yep, according to a story on CBSSports.com, Ralph has knocked off 80 lbs and is gunning for 20 more.

He fits into his clothes from the 1990’s…Is that a good thing?

“I'd like to lose 150 pounds, I don't know if I can. Right now I'm shooting for 100,” Friedgen said.

Nice, Coach, NICE!

VIRGINIA BASKETBALL: NOT A COMPLETE DISASTER

Well, for starters, they could hang out in their locker room on Tuesday night and listen to Bruce Springsteen.

And…according to the News & Observers, Dave Leitao’s recruits are going to stick around.

That’s a good thing or a bad thing depending on how you feel about Leitao…

Evidently, new coach, Tony “I Left My Heart on Rio Road” Bennett, has confirmed commitments to top recruits Tristan Spurlock and Jontel Evans (pictured).


One less thing for the loyal Hoos to sweat...

NO GREEN MONSTER FOR ACC

Talk about your screw ups.
The ACC baseball tournament was supposed to be at Fenway Park, but a scheduling snafu led to a late change and the boys of spring/summer will play instead at the ball park made famous by the movie Bull Durham.

We call that a "significant downgrade."

But that’s OK…to make up for it, the ACC re-scheduled the 2010 tournament back at hallowed Fenway Park – which is makes it all good, unless, of course, you are a senior this year…

But then earlier this week, ACC Commish John Swofford announced that the league was pulling the plug on the trek to the great Northeast since the league needs to cut travel costs.

So instead of going to Boston, ACC teams will travel all the way to Greensboro to play in NewBridge Bank Park, the home of the Class A Greensboro Grasshoppers.

Hey, we’ve been there, it’s perfectly nice, but it ain’t no Fenway…

However, all is not lost, NewBridge Bank Park was tabbed by Baseball America (whoever they are?) as the top stadium in the South Atlantic League and the No. 8 overall minor league stadium nationally. The stadium seats 7,499 and has 16 luxury suites.

So they got that going for them…

PICTURE(S) OF THE DA(L)Y

YES, THOSE ARE HIS REAL PANTS. John Daly of USA plays his approach shot on the eighth hole during the first round of the BMW Italian Open at Royal Park I Roveri on May 7, 2009 near Turin, Italy.

(Photos by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)

PICTURE OF THE DAY 2

CHIN MUSIC? England's Graeme Swann avoids being hit on the head from the bowling of West Indies Lionel Baker (not pictured) during the second day of the first npower Test between England and the West Indies at Lords cricket ground, London, on May 7, 2009.

(Photo by Glyn Kirk/AFP/Getty Images)

PICTURE OF THE DAY 3

SLICK MOVE. Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers makes a pass around Yao Ming #11 of the Houston Rockets in Game Two of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2009 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center on May 6, 2009 in Los Angeles, California.

(Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

PHOTOS, AND WHY BLOGGERS HATE THEM

Loyal readers know that here at T.A.H. we occasionally share our reader’s comments. This series of comments was posted between 11:32 and 11:41 last night while T.A.H. was trucking home from the Bruce Springsteen show down at the University of Virginia.

11:41 you are using my copyright image. you do not have my permission to use. take it down now.

11:40 you are stealing my copyright image. Take it down.

11:34 YOU ARE USING MY COPYRIGHT PHOTO. COPYRIGHT G. CARVAJAL. YOU DO NOT HAVE MY PERMISSION TO USE THIS IMAGE. TAKE IT DOWN NOW.

11:33 YOU ARE USING MY COPYRIGHT PHOTO. TAKE IT DOWN. MEXICAN BEER AND LIME COPYRIGHT G. CARVAJAL

11:32 You are using a copyright photo by G Carvajal. You do not have permission to use my image. It is copyrighted and protected by US law. TAKE IT DOWN


Now, it would seem reasonably clear that Mr. Carvajal believes that the photo in question was his, and that T.A.H. doesn't have permission to use it. (The photo above isn't the photo in question, but you get the point.)

He’s correct on both counts. Here’s the explanation for you, the loyal reader, and Mr. Carvajal.

This situation is not unique to T.A.H., but a problem for all but the mega-blogs that make mega bucks.

We didn’t steal Mr. Carvajal’s photo, we borrowed it. Just like we do with lots of photos every day. Sorry, dude, we didn’t mean to get you all worked up. Our bad.

We “googled” Mexican beer and Carvajal's photo is what came up. We did not see a photo credit. Had we, we would have credited G. Carvajal. Look closely and you will see lots of photo credits on T.A.H. as we used to be a stickler about it since we’ve been know to take a snap or two ourselves.

We happily ask for permission (and we have on many occasions) if we can figure out how to contact the photographer, but most times that info is not available. And even when it is, it’s hard to get an answer in the 24-hour-news-cycle-gotta-have-it-now world of blogdom. It’s especially challenging, when the blog in question is a hobby and one doesn’t spend all of one’s time in pursuit of this info…

Now, lately we have used fewer photo credits and here’s why. Blogs like T.A.H. can’t afford to pay photographers. We’ve discussed this with U.S. Presswire and Getty Images. They are working on a solution that involves advertising and revenue sharing on a photo by photo basis. This is brilliant if they can get it to work.

To subscribe to a big photo service (like AP, Getty or U.S. Presswire) costs $500 a month or more. Obviously, us little guys can’t afford that. Knowing this and wanting to keep an eye on their content (whether or not it is copyrighted) individual photographers set up Google Alerts to search for their name so they know who is using their photos (and, for the record, we don’t blame them) in an attempt to be compensated. But, since we can’t afford any photos, our only other viable option is to simply not use any…and, that would suck. If we don’t use any photos, we give you, the loyal reader, an inferior product as you all know that the photos here at T.A.H. are half the fun.

So, it’s a conundrum. We would be happy to share our pathetic T.A.H. advertising revenue stream with any and all photographers if we could find them…To that end, yesterday we got an email from Yardbarker saying that T.A.H.’s Google AdSense revenue for the month of February was $3.35. We will gladly share a pro-rata share of the add revenue with all photographers from which we borrow based on the number of hits for the story their photo accompanies as a pro-rata share to all hits that month.

By our calculations, we owed Mr. Cavajal about 1.3 cents – and we aren’t kidding, that’s just how lousy it is...

So you see the dilemma. It’s hard to figure out who took each photo, even harder to reach all of them in a timely manner in order to publish in “real time” and even harder to compensate them properly when revenues are minuscule.

Got an answer?

We’re listening, and so are millions of other bloggers.

JPJA FREEZE OUT

Like a spirit in the night…all night.

All the great ones love their work, and Bruce Springsteen clearly loves his. We had thought that only the magical Rolling Stones could flirt with sixty (and then pass it), and retain the energy of their youth to the swooning entertainment and delight of their loyal fans.

Last night, at John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville after a 33 year break, Mr. Springsteen reminded us that he still has the amazing energy of a world class rock star, the delivery of a revival tent roof-raising evangelist and a unique ability to connect with an audience both young and old. Ok, mostly old.

We’ve seen the Boss before – Constitution Hall in the spring of 1975 and Carter Barron Ampitheatre on July 29 or 30 (not sure which) that same year. The last time we saw Springsteen and his E Street homies was shortly after Born To Run made him a mega star at Burruss Hall at Virginia Tech on April 22, 1976 where he wowed the crowd of 3,000. Tickets cost all of $5.50.

Unfortunately, we haven’t paid much attention to a Springsteen album since Tunnel of Love. No doubt, we’ve missed plenty, but real life is time consuming. Having said that, even though we were unfamiliar with some of the songs, Springsteen’s delivery was no less amazing – he still has IT, and he still has it big time.

Mixed in with some songs from his new album and some more “modern” songs, the audience was treated to classic versions of the old school classics Spirt In The Night (lights down, big sing along), Thunder Road and Born to Run (lights up, big sing along). Thank you, Mr. Asbury Park for making a whole bunch of old people feel young again. Well done, fellow old guy (Springsteen in 59).

A few points to ponder: Nils Lofgren is great and unbelievably short. An odd looking cat, T.A.H. Pop Culture Editor Young A.T. (wowed by her first Bruce concert, by the way) used three words to describe the Hello It’s Me guitarist – SNL and Mr. Peepers. It’s hard to argue the point.

Springsteen’s E Street band, like most great rock and roll bands, is drum-driven and, to that end, Max Weinberg was brilliant. Hey, Charlie Watts, make room on the bench.

About two-thirds of the way through the show Max got up and walked off the stage…was Conan calling? Enter, a scrawny skinny kid with long hair, black tee shirt and jeans. Frankly, he looked like a roadie. Is it his job to keep Max’s seat warm while the famous drummer goes to pee?

Well…no. That skinny kid would be Jay Weinberg, Max’s son, and he was fabulous. He pushed the band through their paces driving the rhythm section like he learned his chops from some famous drummer…

On this tour, Bruce has been taking requests (both his songs and others) and has noted that “you can’t stump the E Street band.” Last night, he collected a dozen signs from fans requesting various songs before settling on the Kinks’ You Really Got Me. Needless to say, the version was “rousing.”

(Not to be cynical…Ok, to be cynical…we suspect this could be a set up. Really? Who knows all the words to a random Kinks’ hit song from 196? We noticed the large yellow sign and pointed it out when Bruce started making his rounds. After the Boss snagged it, we noticed there was a credentialed security guy in a bright yellow jacket standing next to the dude holding the winning sign. Hmmm.)

Finally, kudos JPJA. We have a history, you know. Our first visit netted a Wahoo upset of a highly ranked Duke team on a last second Sean Singletary fall away miracle shot in overtime. Now, that’s a first date that’s hard to top.

Since then, we’ve seen everything from Grave Digger at the Monster Jam truck festival to the 2009 NCAA Division 1 Men’s Basketball National Champions, the University of North Carolina Tar Heels in a easy win over the Hoos earlier this year. All very pleasant, albeit quite different, experiences.

But this was our first concert appearance at the C’ville arena. We had great seats – lower level on the side about the even with the top of the key, with the basket being the stage. Ironically, just one section toward mid-court from where we are hosted to hoops by Dr. A.G. Wahoo. JPJA is not a huge stadium, and any lower level seat is very, very good. File that away for future use.

In spite of a sold out crowd, there was little traffic getting to the paid parking lots and the walk from the car to the beer concession (yes, they sell beer in a college arena [for concerts]) took under five minutes. Properly timed, one could leave one’s seat at the beginning of a song, unbeer, grab a new beer and get back to said seat before the first chorus. The beer vendors allow you a max of four, which is plenty.

Nice, JPJA, NICE!

The only minor disappointment of the night is that Springsteen simply can’t play all the songs everybody likes. This explains why so many of his serious fans go to multiple shows each tour as the set list is fairly diverse from one night to the next.

We aren’t a big enough Springsteen aficionado beyond his early years – give us Asbury Park, the E Street Shuffle and Born to Run, and we’re good to go – to complain about the set list, but we would have preferred to have been sent home with “Rosalita” as opposed to the occasionally used “Detroit Medley.” Oddly enough, the 1976 concert at Virginia Tech also ended with the same "Detroit Medley" according to various sources on the Internet.

Oh well, the devil may have had a blue dress on, but (as usual) Bruce Springsteen and the E Street band were the ones on fire.

Now, do we have to quarantine ourselves since we bought our tix in an internet café in Mexico?

For Backstreets.com view of the JPJA show click here.

QUALITY ROAD UPDATE

We got this update via email from Edward P. Evans' Spring Hill Farm manager Chris Baker on Tuesday evening:

QR is galloping daily and should have the crack patched late this week or early next week.

With luck we might make the Belmont. Ten weeks between races going a mile and a half, I guess we’ll find out how good our horse is. We’ve got to get back into a normal training pattern before any of this is realistic, I’ll let you know.

In hindsight, we may have been fortunate to miss the Derby.

We believe Baker is referring to the fact that so many Derby starters got beat up in a crowded race over a very difficult wet racetrack. Seems as Mine That Bird found the only spot (the rail) with decent traction while those in the middle of the track struggled and got nicked up doing so…

PICTURE OF THE DAY

THAT’S CRAZY TALK. Mark Bushnell holds a cigar while watching former Spokane Valley, Wash. mayor Michael DeVleming putt at Esmeralda Golf Course in Spokane, Wash.

The city of Spokane recently tried to ban smoking on its four public golf courses, only to be stymied by an outcry from players and smoking rights advocates.

We realize that ACC country is tobacco country so we may be a little prejudice about this, but isn't banning smoking on an outdoor wide open golf course ridiculous?

PICTURE OF THE DAY 2

HORSE RACING IN KENYA. Didn’t see that coming. We wonder if they use lions as a training aid?

Here, Kenyan jockeys racing past the finish line during a meet at the Ngong race-course in Nairobi. Started in 1904 in Kenya as an elite sport for wealthy settlers, horse racing has since shed its image as a white-man's hobby and has seen an influx of Kenyans into its ranks as jockeys and trainers whose careers, however are now in jeopardy due to a lack of interest in the sport among the Kenyan public fascinated by soccer and rugby.

Hmmm, sounds all too disturbingly familiar to us hoss racin' folks…

(Photo Tony Karumba/AFP/Getty Images)

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

BENCHWARMING J.J. REDICK ICES NBA PLAYOFF GAME

Say what?

Yes, J.J. Redick has spent most of his NBA with the Orlando Magic career sitting on the bench. By all accounts, he’s a long way from coach Jeff Van Gundy’s favorite and in spite of his ability to shoot the rock, Redick has only averaged 14.4 minutes and 5.5 points per game.

Courtney Lee's injury in the first round of the NBA Playoffs has given Redick, Duke's career-leading scorer, a chance to play meaningful minutes. He started Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals and helped the Magic beat the Boston Celtics, 95-90.

Redick outscored Boston's shooting guard, Ray Allen (12 to nine). Redick's four free throws in the final 25 seconds iced the game for the Magic, which had led by as many as 28 points.

Redick played 29 minutes last night.

SO YOU WANT ME TO KILL ALL THE GOPHERS?

The NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Committee has selected the teams and individuals to participate in the 2009 NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championships.

Six 54-hole regional tournaments will be conducted May 14-16. The low five teams and the low individual not on those teams from each regional will advance to the finals.

The championships will be conducted May 26-30 at the Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio, hosted by the University of Toledo.

The ACC is well-represented with eight teams and one individual participating in four of the six NCAA Regionals.

The league has three teams in two different regionals. Clemson earned the top seed in Galloway, N.J. Regional and will be joined by Wake Forest (5) and Virginia (9) as well as North Carolina individual Kevin O’Connell. Three more teams are in the Bowling Green, Ky. Regional: Georgia Tech (2), NC State (3) and Duke (7). Florida State is the No. 5 seed in the Sorrento, Fla. Regional, while Virginia Tech (10) is in the Austin, Texas Regional.

Georgia Tech (pictured) won the ACC tournament back in April.

MEMBER OF 2009 NCAA D1 MEN’S BASKETBALL NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP TEAM SIGNS WITH CALIFORNIA AGENCY

Former 2009 NCAA Division 1 Men’s Basketball National Champions University of North Carolina Tar Heels guard Wayne Ellington has signed with agent Arn Tellem in preparation for the NBA draft, Ellington’s father confirmed Tuesday.

Wayne Ellington, Sr., said the younger Ellington was on his way to Los Angeles – where Tellem's agency is located – on Tuesday.

Ellington was named the most outstanding player as a junior at the Final Four last month after North Carolina defeated Michigan State to become the 2009 NCAA Division 1 Men’s Basketball National Champions.

Tellem's extensive NBA client list includes former North Carolina players Antawn Jamison of the Wiz and oft-injured Sean May.

HOCKEY PROPS

Yep, that’s what we said – hockey props.

You know T.A.H. doesn’t care about hockey, but we are savvy enough about the burned burger (hockey puck) sport to appreciate good playoff hockey when we see it.

Last night in the Caps 4-3 victory over the Penguins, we saw it.

Washington’s Alex Ovechkin scored his first playoff hat trick and not to be outdone the Pens Sidney Crosby did the same. Only four times in NHL playoff hockey have opposing players each scored a hat trick.

It was only the second time in Capitals franchise history that two players recorded hat tricks in a game. Washington's Al Iafrate and the New York Islanders' Ray Ferraro did it in a 6-4 Capitals win on April 26, 1993.

It was a historic night for the NHL. Its two biggest stars – rivals who don't care for each other – had their biggest playoff performances head-to-head. Ovechkin claimed the winning hand, breaking a tie with a pair of goals less than three minutes apart in the third period.

The Capitals lead the series 2-0.

Redskin’s head coach Jimmy Zorn was at the game.

The rest of the fans were fired up and all in red. Check out the scoop at D.C. Sports Blog.

(Photos by Len Redkoles/Getty Images)

PICTURE OF THE DAY

THAT’S A LOT OF HORSE PEE. This photo, supplied by the University of Florida, shows Shiro Curtis, left, and Erin Funk, lab technicians at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine Racing Lab in Gainesville, Fla., perform on Monday, May 4, 2009, a solid phase extraction of urine samples from horses that ran Saturday in the Kentucky Derby.

The UF Racing Lab, under contract for the first time this year from the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, will test multiple samples for the presence of performance-enhancing drugs.

Monday, May 4, 2009

MOVE OVER FOOTBALL, THERE’S A NEW JOHN WALL IN TOWN

According to the Raleigh News & Observer, super recruit John Wall has been charged with breaking and entering…

John Wall, one of the country's most prized college basketball prospects, was charged last week with misdemeanor breaking and entering at a southeast Raleigh residence.

Wall, 18, a senior at Raleigh Word of God, was detained about 12:30 p.m. April 27 by a Raleigh police officer responding to a report of a breaking and entering in progress at an unoccupied dwelling Raleigh police spokesman Jim Sughrue said in a statement.

The officer saw Wall leaving from the rear door of the residence and detained him without incident, Sughrue said. A few minutes later, a second and third teenager were detained.


Each of the three was issued a citation on a misdemeanor charge of breaking and entering, said Wake County chief magistrate Gary Wills. The citation is similar to one issued for a traffic violation, Wills said.

There was no indication of forced entry at the residence and no indication that anything was taken from it, Sughrue said.

Wall's recruitment is being followed closely by college basketball fans across the country. The 6-foot-4 point guard still has eight schools on his list, including Duke and N.C. State, and says there is no favorite.

Duke associate sports information director Matt Plizga and N.C. State assistant athletics director for media relations Annabelle Myers said the schools would have no comment on the Wall report. They said NCAA rules prevent school officials from commenting on prospective student-athletes.

Wall has said he is also considering Kentucky, Kansas, Florida, Baylor, Miami and Memphis.
Sounds like Wall was mostly guilty of not using the ol' noggin and allowing himself to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

For additional info on the latest on the O.J. Mayoesque recruiting of Wall click here and here.

MIAMI’S GRAHAM TO TRY FOOTBALL

Move over Greg Paulus, Miami’s Jimmy Graham is going to give football a shot as well…

Graham will try in follow in the footsteps of Jeremy Shockey and Kellen Winslow. The Miami basketball player will play tight end this fall for the Hurricanes.

Like Greg Paulus, Graham has a year of eligibility remaining in football after playing basketball for the previous four years. Unlike Paulus, Graham will stay at his current school.

A 6-8 and 255 pounds, Graham has the size to do some damage on the gridiron, but he only played one year of high school football.

Graham averaged 4.0 points and 5.9 rebounds per game as a senior. He started nine games.

ALL FOUR ACC TEAMS GOING TO BOTH NCAA LAX DANCES

All four ACC teams were among the 16 selected to compete in the 2009 NCAA Division I Men’s Lacrosse Championship as announced Sunday. Virginia, Duke, North Carolina and Maryland will compete for national championship beginning with first-round games on Saturday and Sunday, May 9 & 10.

For the men’s bracket, click here.

Not to be outdone, all four women’s lax teams from the same schools will compete in the women’s tournament as well. For the women’s bracket, click here.

No. 1 Virginia will play Villanova on Sunday, May 10 at 2:30 p.m. ACC champion Duke earned the No. 3 seed and will face Navy on Saturday, May 9 at 7:30 p.m. North Carolina claimed the No. 3 seed and will play host to UMBC on Saturday, May 9 at 2:30 p.m. Maryland travels to No. 7 Notre Dame for a Sunday, May 10 game at noon. Each of the four games will be televised on ESPNU.

The Division I semifinal and championship games, and the Division II and III championship games, will be held at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts, May 23-25. The Division I semifinals will be televised live on ESPN2 starting at noon Eastern time, May 23. The championship game will be televised live on ESPN starting at 1 p.m. Eastern time, May 25.

The championship hosts are Harvard University and the Eastern College Athletic Conference. This is one of only two NCAA team sports, along with women's rowing, that holds the championships of all three divisions at a common site.

MINE THAT BIRD HEADING NORTH TO BALTIMORE

BALTIMORE (AP) — Mine That Bird is headed to the Preakness.

The trainer of the gelding who won the Kentucky Derby at 50-1 odds said his horse will run in the May 16 Preakness at Pimlico, the second leg of the Triple Crown.

"I've never been to Baltimore, but it looks like I won't be able to say that in a few days," trainer Bennie Woolley Jr. said Monday.

Woolley said the horse will remain at Churchill Downs in Louisville at least until May 12 before shipping to Baltimore. He jogged a mile at Churchill on Monday morning and will have light jogs each of the next two days.

Woolley said there are no plans for the horse to have a full workout before the Preakness.
Mine That Bird, ridden by Calvin Borel, won the Derby by 6¾ lengths over Pioneerof the Nile -- the largest margin of victory since Assault in 1946.

On Sunday, a day after the big upset, Woolley said there's "no obligation" to go to the Preakness and added: "You've got to do what's best for the horse and the horse has got to come first."
And the horse has given every indication he came out of the race in good order.

"The Triple Crown is good for racing, and without the Derby winner, there is no chance to have one," he said.

The last Derby winner to skip the Preakness was an injured Grindstone in 1996. The last healthy Derby winner to miss it was Spend A Buck in 1985.

Other Derby horses expected to take on Mine That Bird are fourth-place finisher Papa Clem and possibly Pioneerof the Nile, third-place Musket Man, Join in the Dance (seventh) and General Quarters (10th).

WEAK FIELD IN DERBY?

The Daily Racing Form’s Steven Crist makes some good points about the field for the 135th Kentucky Derby won by longshot Mine That Bird.

Note, he said this prior to the race. To read the entire story click here.

This Derby is now missing all of last fall's top 2-year-olds (Midshipman, Vineyard Haven, Old Fashioned)and both of this spring's top 3-year-olds (I Want Revenge and Quality Road), and lacks the winner of every single Grade 1 dirt race to date for this crop.

Maybe it turns out that the best 3-year-old was none of the above, and maybe we'll see a Derby winner so impressive that it wouldn't have mattered who else lined up against him. Whoever wins it will have beaten 18 opponents including some nice 3-year-olds, but the race suddenly feels like far from the definitive test for this class.

On the bright side, maybe it makes this a more interesting season, through the Triple Crown and beyond…

QUALITY ROAD RETURNS TO TRACK, TRAINER MULLS DERBY RESULTS

Florida Derby Gr. 1 and Fountain of Youth S. Gr. 2 winner, Virginia-bred Quality Road galloped 1 1/4 miles under exercise rider Juan Moreno on Sunday at Belmont Park for trainer Jimmy Jerkens.

Brisnet.com called his performance “eager.”

Along with 153,563 fans at Churchill Downs and millions of television viewers, Quality Road’s trainer Jimmy Jerkens was as confounded as everyone else when 50-1 shot Mine That Bird (Birdstone) dominated 18 rivals in Saturday's Derby.


"It was...weird," said Jerkens, "I can't imagine Quality Road would back up like the rest of them did. But I'm sure Larry Jones and Todd Pletcher couldn't imagine their horses wouldn't pick up their feet, either. I can't understand so many horses backing up like that.


"That horse who won is no slouch, don't get me wrong," he added. "I saw him in California when I was there for the Breeders' Cup (Juvenile [G1]) with Zaftig. They sent him to (Hall of Fame trainer Richard) Mandella and I remember him being really small."

IS KY DERBY WINNER’S CO-OWNER A CROOK?

...or just an NCAA football recruit?

As if horse racing needs more controversy, now a newspaper in Alaska is pointing out that Mine That Bird’s co-owner Mark Allen was involved in the corruption case that led to the resignation of Alaska Sen.Ted Stevens.

According to the Anchorage Daily News:

If it weren't for the plea deal that his dad, former Veco chief executive Bill Allen, made with federal prosecutors, Mark Allen might not have been in the winner's circle Saturday at the Kentucky Derby, celebrating the victory of his thoroughbred Mine That Bird and a $2 million purse.

To read the entire story, click here.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

From yesterday's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette via the Washington Post:

After introducing legislation to prohibit the NCAA from advertising its national champion in football UNLESS that champion was produced via a playoff:

"It's interesting that people of good will keep trying to tinker with the current system, and to my mind it's a little bit like – and I don't mean this directly - but it's like communism. You can't fix it. It will not be flexible. Sooner or later you're going to have to try a new model." – Rep Joe L. Barton (R-TX).

MORE QUOTES OF THE DAY

“A lot of people thought he'd be in over his head in a Grade 1 race – including us." – Dr. Leonard Blach, co-owner of Mine That Bird the winner of the Grade 1 $2.1 million Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands.

"The Kentucky Derby seemed out of reach. I'm just a small guy. I don't know why this happened." – Chip Woolley, trainer, Mine That Bird.

For a chart of the Kentucky Derby, click here.

PICTURE(S) OF THE DAY

FROM LAST TO FIRST. The field starts the 135th running of the Kentucky Derby on May 2, 2009 at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky.

The winner, Mine That Bird, in the #8 hole (black silks with white triangle) gets pinched between the the #7 horse Papa Clem and the #9 Join in the Dance.

Jockey Calvin Borel took his horse back and trailed the field the first time under the finish line.

Here Borel and Mine That Bird, round turn one in last place.

(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images and Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

PICTURE OF THE DAY 2

LOOK FAMILIAR? Jockey Calvin Borel rides Rachel Alexander to victory during the 135th running of the $500,000 Kentucky Oaks Gr. 1 on May 1, 2009 at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky.

As a sign of things to come in the Derby, Borel guided the filly to an impressive 20 length victory.

(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

PICTURE OF THE DAY

TURNING FOR HOME. The field turns for home during the 135th running of the Kentucky Derby on May 2, 2009 at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky.

(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

PICTURE OF THE DAY 4

FIELD TRIP. Three FSU football players enjoy the Kentucky Derby with their tutors.

(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Sunday, May 3, 2009

LONGSHOT WINS DERBY, PREVIOUS WINNER TAKES GOLD CUP

Trainer Bennie Woolley Jr. hitched Mine That Bird to the back of his pickup and drove to the Kentucky Derby from New Mexico. With an inspired ride on the rail from Calvin Borel, it all added up to one of the greatest upsets in 135 years of America’s most famous horse race.

“Those cowboys,” Bob Baffert trainer of runner-up Pioneerof The Nile said, “they came with a good horse.”

Mine That Bird went off at 50-1 odds Saturday, but that was only one measure of how little attention he garnered before pulling away in the stretch to score a 6 3/4 -length victory at Churchill Downs, the second-biggest stunner in Derby history. The margin was the largest since Assault won by eight lengths in 1946.

Just a few days ago, we said Mine That Bird didn't belong in the race as the road to the Kentucky Derby does not go through New Mexico...Doh!

For complete results, click here.

Meanwhile, back in ACC country in Ol’ Virginny…

On paper, yesterday's $75,000 84th Virginia Gold Cup looked to be between two horses -- the 2007 winner Salmo and the 2008 winner Bubble Economy.

Out on the Great Meadow race course, the timber classic played out as anticipated as Salmo jumped beautifully and had enough left to hold off defending champion Bubble Economy down the stretch.

Salmo also won the race in 2007 when trained by Jack Fisher and ridden by Chip Miller. The 13-year-old son of Northern Baby gave owner Irv Naylor his third victory in the timber stakes. Erin Go Bragh was third.

Salmo was bred in Virginia by Sara and Bruce Collette of Pageland Farm in Casanova, VA. Coincidentally, the Collette's farm is next door to Spring Hill Farm where top three-year-old and injury Kentucky Derby contender Quality Road was born.

Irv Naylor owns the Gold Cup winner who is trained by Desmond Fogarty and who was ridden to victory by Darren Nagle.

For complete results of all the Gold Cup races, click here.

(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images and Douglas Lees)

PICTURE OF THE DAY

NICE HAT. A race fan wears a hat before the 135th running of the Kentucky Derby on May 2, 2009 at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky.

(Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

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