NTRA and BC Jedi Games

 I want to talk about National Thoroughbred Racing Association's summer of racing and how they have done PR wise.

Let's get down to it. The NTRA is setting out to try and rejuvinate the seemingly screeching slowdown the Thoroughbred industry is headed toward.

What is my verdict? I think its effort is okay, but not good enough, and here is why.

The summer of racing series highlighted many amazing races on prime time slots in prime locations. Big Brown definitely helped draw in the crowds and the graded stakes were pretty fun to watch throughout the season.

The NTRA has done a good job at opening discussions with advertising the brand to the masses. They have worked with ESPN and a few other major media outlets. These outlets were great to show the chosen races of the NTRA's summer of racing campaign, I am very appreciative of that.

Now where is this weak? The fact that there is so much work that has to go into 'convincing' large media to show huge races that matter is a problem. The prime example is this past weekend, with the onslaught of graded stakes and "Win and You're In" races...yet at last minute something was pushed out on ESPN News, previous to nothing being available? Where is that even at? Channel 552 or something? Curlin and Zenyatta deserve to be shown as top notch world class athletes.

I am easily pleased though, so I am glad that ESPN at least picked up the Jockey Club Gold Cup to show. I think many of us are a little upset with the rest of the sports world not giving more attention to this amazing sport, but money talks and college football is in.

So we the people have to apply the pressure. I was very proud of several of my readers and commenters. We discussed how and where to take action in giving our thoughts with covering racing events. I think everyone who was involved in that discussion, in the least, wrote ESPN and more wrote many other media leaders.

The most impressive accomplishment for racing on TV to me, is the fact the Breeders' Cup has two days devoted to it! The event is widely unknown to the common race fan or general public. Some think it is a one race shindig.

With Curlin, Big Brown, and Zenyatta I am excited. Plus a full out European Invasion...I mean Duke of Marmalade...really? That is awesome. This is going to be one of the most memorable and one of the largest advertising and promotion opportunities in years! It will be the biggest ever for the Breeders' Cup.

One would think there would be more advertising in non-horse industry outlets for the Breeders' Cup though. We in the industry KNOW the Breeders' Cup. The advertising needs to target non-racing general public. That is the key and I think the NTRA and BC can do a better job, but then again I don't know how much funding that takes.

But something is better than nothing, and it feels quite empty in the general public with BC advertising and air time promotion. The public needs to know WHO and WHY the event is such a big deal...compare Zenyatta to Phelps and the Olympics, or Zenyatta or something at least! Maybe the king of the racing world currently, Curlin. Let's relate to them and grip their curiosity.

One more point to comment on is the BC coverage plan, not just the BC's promotion.
Why are we dividing the days by sex? Shouldn't we divide races by popularity and competition? There can be a ladies day without purely filly and mare races. The Ladies Classic is also on a workday, Friday, and showing in the afternoon. The Ladies Classic is probably the best race of this meet! The gender division is sexist.  

I would rather see the Ladies Classic and the Classic back to back! THAT would be crazy awesome in a good way.

On the flip side, the NTRA does have plans to reach out more to general race fans and the public. I have read their plan and think they have some good concepts, many of which you can see here on BH.com already. I am okay with what has been done thus far, their media efforts have been effective. I am just not satisfied.

I will close with this thought, a quote from this week's BH magazine: "What an outrage for racing! Why do we pay all the fees to the National Thoroughbred Racing Association and Breeders' Cup? Isn't one of their main objectives to promote racing, get big races on TV, and bring racing to mainstream America?" from Bill in Floral Park, N. Y.

To read the rest of this letter and more letters/features ect... buy this week's issue, it is worth it.


BIG News in the work out world—one of my favorite horses is back in action after a long lay off (about 5 months to be exact) It's JEDI CODE!!!

Jedi Code is back!
Date: September 30, 2008
Distance: Five Furlongs
Time: 1.03:60 Breezing
Track Condition: Fast
Surface: All Weather Track
Rank: 6/8

Other horses I actively follow and am randomly throwing in here, who have worked recently are:

Frank the Barber
Date: September 29, 2008
Distance: Five Furlongs
Time: 59:40 Handily
Track Condition: Fast
Surface: All Weather Track
Rank: 4/20


Date: September 29, 2008
Distance: Four Furlongs
Time: 51:40 Breezing
Track Condition: Fast
Surface: Dirt
Rank: 17/23


Just for fun, the hunch bet of the day:

French Kiss and Gloria Goodbody
1st race at Keeneland on Saturday.


In other exciting news, one of "my" horses is entered in his second race! Can you guess why I like him?

Jedi Games
 Unraced 2-year old colt
 High Yield – Quick Connection

Remington Park - October 2nd, 2008 - Race 7
Estimated Local Post Time:     9:12 PM
Race Type: Maiden Special Weight
Breed: Thoroughbred
Age Restriction: Two Year Old
    Purse: $28,000
Distance: Six Furlongs
Surface: Dirt

9     Jedi Games (KY)
Ashton Fitzpatrick, Don Apodaca, Mark Buehrer and Lynn and Ronald Mock
    2     Colt     120
Mark W. Buehrer
Ronald Mock     30/1


We love Arrrrr and he raced over the past weekend as well. He did not finish in the money, but ran a pretty descent race.

To update you on the guy that claimed him a few races ago...

For the new fans, a claiming race is a race in which the horses are for sale at a price specified before the race. Claims are made before the race and the new owner assumes possession immediately following the race. source: NTRA: http://www.ntra.com/content.aspx?type=other&id=4797&section=ntrau

The guy that claimed Arrrrr is named Andrew Berg. He races in the name of Gumpster Stable. Gumpster Stable has campaigned stakes winners Ruth’s Revenge, Clever Electrician, and Dulce de Leche.
He claimed Clever Electrician, who went on to win three stakes and place in  four more. He also claimed Dulce de Leche, who won a stakes for him before being claimed again.
And guess what…he also claimed Ruth’s Revenge, and she became a multiple stakes winner for him before being claimed again.
 And, just because, I will tell you that the owner has used Bruce Levine as a trainer, I mentioned Bruce in a previous post.


Now that you are loaded with lots of topics, let me know how you feel the media could be approached to advertise the Breeders' Cup. How is the NTRA doing in the media?
Any new horses that you have latched onto or become a fan of recently?

Please think about your comments and replies, just to make sure I can post them =)

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