Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Larry Collmus named Tom Durkin's successor

The New York Racing Association announced on Wednesday that Larry Collmus has been named the successor to Tom Durkin, and will be calling the races for NYRA starting in April 2015.

The 47 year old Collmus was the regular race track announcer at Monmouth Park in New Jersey, calling the races there for 20 seasons from 1994-2013, and gained worldwide notoriety for calling the battle between "Mywifenosevrything" and "Thewifedoesntknow" in August 2010, as viewed below.


He also has called the races at Golden Gate Fields in California and also Suffolk Downs in Massachusetts.  In 2007, he succeeded Tom Durkin as track announcer for the winter meet at Gulfstream Park in Florida, and succeeded Durkin again as the principal announcer for NBC's coverage of the Triple Crown.

Collmus will continue calling the races during the winter meet at Gulfstream Park, and will continue his work for NBC Sports for their Triple Crown coverage, but his recently-acquired position at Churchill Downs will come to an end.

"I'd like to thank everyone at Churchill Downs who treated me very well during my brief time there," Collmus stated during a press conference at Saratoga Race Course.  "I am trading one dream job for another."  He also added that he is "so excited and honored to become the next voice of New York racing."

Larry Collmus will begin calling the races during the final month of racing at Aqueduct in April 2015, and will be the chief announcer for Belmont Park as well as Saratoga Race Course.

Tom Durkin, who had called the races for NYRA for 24 years, announced earlier this year that he is retiring from race calling on August 31st, the penultimate day of the Saratoga Race Course meet.

"I would like to congratulate Larry and wish him the very best," Durkin stated.

John Imbreale, who is NYRA's TV Producer for their on-track signal and other various NYRA programming that airs on MSG+, will take over as track announcer until Collmus's arrival.  Imbreale has served as NYRA's winter announcer and back-up to Tom Durkin.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Saratoga 2014: Travers Tables to go on sale.


UPDATE: THE NEW YORK RACING ASSOCIATION ANNOUNCES ON THEIR WEBSITE THAT RESERVATIONS HAVE SOLD OUT.  THE PHONE NUMBER AND E-MAIL ADDRESS BELOW CAN BE USED TO PLACE YOURSELF ON A WAIT LIST...

The New York Racing Association has announced that 130 picnic tables will be made available for advance reservation for Travers Day starting tomorrow (Wednesday, August 13th).

The tables can be reserved for $100 per table, with each table seating a maximum of six people.  The table reservation does not include the $10 General Admission for Travers Day.

Reservations can be made at the Reserved Seats Box Office on the race course grounds, over the phone at 1-844-NYRATIX, or by e-mail at boxoffice@nyrainc.com.

Travers Day will be on Saturday, August 23rd, with first post scheduled for 11:35AM.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Seek Again sets track record in Fourstardave

Seek Again, bottled up on the rail heading into the stretch, was able to break free and get past Grand Arch to win the Fourstardave in record time at Saratoga Race Course on Saturday.

The race started with a hot pace, as Silver Max and Sayaad set the early fractions.  The two started to give way, giving the lead to stalking Grand Arch.  Seek Again appeared as if he would be trapped behind the tiring horses, finally found an opening to burst through, squeezing by Grand Arch to win.

Seek Again stopped the timer in 1:33.25, shaving .17 off the mark L'Oiseau d'Argent set back in 2004.

Seek Again, third in the Manhattan on Belmont Stakes Day, will seek out middle distances for his next few starts, which could include the Breeders' Cup Mile at Santa Anita in November.


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Saratoga 2014: The John's Call Stakes - Day 17 of 40

Most years, the John's Call Stakes is the longest non-steeplechase stakes race offered at Saratoga Race Course.  This distinction has been taken away by tomorrow's Birdstone Stakes, which will be ran at an unusual 1 3/4 Miles.

Two of the last three John's Call Stakes winners have gone on to win graded stakes races.  Last year's winner, Hyper, went on to win the Bowling Green (G2) at Belmont Park in his next start.  Sanagras (2011) came away from a win in the John's Call to finish fourth in the Bowling Green, but bounced back to win the Sycamore (G3) and the Hollywood Turf Cup Stakes (G1) after.

In the 2014 edition, Winning Cause will have an easier go without the stable-mate Micromanage running in the race.  But that doesn't mean he'll be guaranteed a win - just keep in mind what happened with Palace Malice on Saturday.

So let's find out who, if any, could take away Winning Cause's trip to the winner's circle this afternoon.

Race 9: The John's Call Stakes - 3YO+ - 1 5/8M (T) - Purse: $100,000 - Post: 4:49PM
TRICKY HAT: When the person(s) who compile the comments for Equibase only report "no factor" for a horse's run, then you can tell that the horse had no interest whatsoever in the race.  That was the case for Tricky Hat, who finished last in the Monmouth Stakes (G2) back in June.  When he's on his game, as he was in the Laurel Turf Cup Stakes back in September, he hovers mid-pack and strikes in the far turn.

HORVAT CLAN: He dueled and faltered in his first stakes race, the Bowling Green Handicap (G2) at Belmont Park last month.  If he can escape with the pace, he can be a dangerous horse at a long distance, exhibited in his Allowance win at 1 1/2 Miles back in June.  Under new connections since getting claimed out of a claiming race at Belmont in early June, they have tried to develop him into a front runner.

BOHEMIAN DANCE: Bohemian Dance pushed the pace in the Justakiss Stakes at Delaware Park, but tired and finished 5th out of 6 horses.  He won an Allowance race at Gulfstream Park in May, but there he stayed behind the pace and passed tiring horses on his way to the winner's circle.  So it's not a sure thing what you're going to get with this horse. 

ALPHA: Scratched - but if that name looks familiar, it's because this is the horse that last year won the Woodward Stakes (G1), and two years ago was your Travers (G1) and Jim Dandy (G2) winner.  He's a horse that is suffering through some hard times, and needs a boost after a few rough finishes.  We'll see him again this meet, I'm sure.

MICROMANAGE: Scratched - He's been running dirt stakes lately, not turf stakes.  So he'd be a question mark had he run this race.  He's entered in tomorrow's Birdstone.

SETON HALL: Scratched - He last made it to the winner's circle in an Allowance race on the turf at Churchill Downs back in June 2013.  He's also entered in tomorrow's Birdstone.

MANCHURIAN HALL: After his 1/2 length win at 20-1 in an Allowance race at Pimlico, his connections thought big things.  But they thought too high, as he was a last place finisher in the United Nations (G1) at Monmouth Park.  The positive was that he was within 6 lengths in a tightly-packed finish.  

WINNING CAUSE: After four straight graded stakes races, the connections drop Winning Cause down to this level.  But his races haven't been bad - 4th in the United Nations (G1), 3rd in the Monmouth Stakes (G2) and 2nd in the Red Bank (G3).  His fourth, a 7th in the Ben Ali (G3), only came six days after running 2nd in an Allowance race.  Winning Cause is a horse that will stick around the mid-pack, important if there is a lot of front-end speed in this marathon.  And he might be a horse that will appreciate the quarter-mile between his last in the United Nations and this race.  

GRAND RAPPORT: Scratched - Could have been a come-from-behind threat in this race.

HOLIDAY STAR: He's going to need the pace to collapse if he's going to scoop up a win in the John's Call.  In fact, the outside post might help his running style.  He has distance experience on the turf, finishing third in the Cape Henlopen Stakes at Delaware Park.  
***
ANALYSIS: Pace makes everything in a race of this distance.  Go too fast, and you're going to have nothing left for the end.  Go too slow, and you could see a wire-to-wire in front of you.

Horvan Clan will be expected to be a early pace factor, but the question is how much will Bohemian Dance push things.  The first quarter's time will be key towards figuring out how this race will go.  Then there's the resume - which horses have the class and experience running a race like this?

Winning Cause is one of those horses, and should be bet heavily with the scratch of Micromanage.  But this can easily be a race that is upset.

My Picks: 2-8-1
Edit: Yeah, goofed up and put down the 7 here.  I meant the #8, Winning Cause.
***
Mythical Bankroll
Bankroll Entering Today: $65.07
Bets
$2 WIN, PLACE, SHOW - 2 ($6)
$1 EXA BOX - 2-8 ($2)
$1 TRI - 2/8-2/8-1 ($2)
Total Bets: $10.00
Remaining Bankroll: $55.07
Reminder: Please gamble responsibly.  Picks and Mythical Bets are provided for entertainment purposes only. WMML FOX Sports Radio 1230, its sponsors or management is not responsible for any damages caused by use of our material for gambling purposes

Monday, August 4, 2014

Takeaways: Bills vs. Giants

It was just a preseason game.  The first of five for the Buffalo Bills.

But there are lessons learned and things that the Bills will have to get corrected before their next preseason game against the Carolina Panthers this Friday (5:30PM Pre/7:30PM Kick on WENU-1410).


  1. SAMMY WATKINS AND EJ MANUEL NEED TIME: 
    Look, the two have only had a little time together at camp.  They can work on game plans all they want during the drills, but game-time execution is a different story.  Yesterday was the first game execution for both of these guys, and it's going to take a few games before the two are in-sync with each other.

    Keep in mind, as well, they only played a few series together.

    If by the time we reach August 28th and the two are still having communication issues, then we can start worrying.  Until then, let them develop their chemistry.  Leave them in longer for Friday's game so that they can better partner up and become the passer-receiver tandem that Bills fans are expecting them to be.
  2. EJ MANUEL DEFLECTIONS:
    As EJ Manuel grows in the NFL, so too will the amount of game film on him.  Other teams will get to notice the quirks and other things Manuel does, so it's best if the Bills mix it up a little here and there so that Manuel doesn't become predictable.

    With that being said, yesterday's three deflected passes that he suffered early in the game shouldn't be a concern.  What should be concerning is...
  3. END ZONE INTERCEPTIONS:
    The New York Giants defense for the most part ate up the Bills passing attack, snuffing two drives dead via interceptions in the end zone.  You can debate if the one thrown from Jeff Tuel was considered pass interference, but the issue at heart here is that the Bills as the season draws near cannot be throwing their chances away.

    Those two end zone interceptions very well could have been the difference between them winning and losing last night.
In the long run, we have to remember that this is the preseason.  What happens here has very little, if any, bearing on how the regular season goes.  It'd be nice to go 5-0 in the preseason, but what good does that do if you end up going 4-12 and missing the playoffs for the 15th straight year?

Sunday, August 3, 2014

LIVE BLOG: BUFFALO BILLS vs. NEW YORK GIANTS

Let's enjoy the return of football together.

The Buffalo Bills and the New York Giants play in the annual Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio.  Radio coverage will be found on FOX Sports Radio 1230 tonight, with John Murphy and Mark Kelso on the call.

We'll be providing updates here and on Twitter (@WMML1230), so refresh for the latest updates.

Bills reporter Chris Brown has which Giants who will not be suiting up tonight.

8:10PM: The New York Giants win the toss and the we're under way.  The Giants go 3-and-out and the Bills will get the ball on the 18 yard line.  BUF 0  NYG  0  1st Q
- E.J. Manuel's first play is a run for C.J. Spiller.

8:20PM: E.J. attempted a deep pass to Sammy Watkins, but came up incomplete.  The Bills picked up a first down but lost all steam afterwards to bring about a punt.  Giants with the ball now.
- Giants fumble on a sack, Bills recover at the NYG 22 yard line.
Edit: Kyle Williams with the strip-sack for the Buffalo Bills.  

8:26PM: Three deflected passes later, Manuel and the Bills have to settle for three points.  Carpenter's Field Goal is good.  BUF  3  NYG  0  7:03 1Q

8:40PM: Long seven minute drive for the New York Giants results in a touchdown by Andre Williams.  BUF  3  NYG  7  0:49 1Q

8:56PM: Jeff Tuel throws a strike on 4th and Goal from the NYG 3 for the touchdown for Buffalo.  BUF  10   NYG  7  9:00 2Q

9:10PM: Giants field goal ties it.  10-10.

10:49PM: A pair of interceptions in the end zone for the Buffalo Bills, and the Giants will come away winners in the Hall of Fame game, 17-13.  Quick game, only 2 1/2 hours in a professional football game.

Graveyard of Favorites Claims Another Victim

Marylou Whitney waves to the clubhouse crowd prior to the
running of the Whitney Handicap Saturday | WMML Photo
SARATOGA SPRINGS - The Graveyard of Favorites claims another victim, this time in the name of Palace Malice.

Moreno, the horse who got nipped at the wire by Will Take Charge in the 2013 Travers Stakes went wire-to-wire to win the $1.5 Million Whitney Handicap, the richest race in the history of Saratoga Race Course.

Junior Alvarado, the rider on Moreno, said to media he felt the race was his as his horse turned for home.

Itsmyluckyday angled outside after Alvarado angled inside, but couldn't get the kick he needed to get past Moreno.

Moreno would win by better than a length.  Will Take Charge finished third.
Moreno hits the wire first in the Grade 1 Whitney Handicap
WMML Photo

The Whitney score was the first Grade 1 for the four year old horse by Ghostzapper, and only his third career trip to the winner's circle.  He faded in the stretch to finish three lengths back of Zivo in the Suburban Handicap at Belmont Park.  The win boosted his career earnings to over $1.7 Million Dollars.

Palace Malice, the 3/5 favorite, never fired in the stretch and faded to an uncharacteristic sixth place finish in the Whitney Handicap, the richest race in the history of Saratoga Race Course.

"I don't know what went wrong," jockey John Velazquez told media after the race.  "He didn't run at all."

The favorite entered the race fresh off a length victory in the Grade 1 Met Mile at Belmont Park, rattling off four straight victories.  He hung in third behind Moreno and Golden Ticket, however, had nothing for the stretch run.

And They're Off!  Horses spring from the gate in the
Grade 1 Whitney Handicap | WMML Photo
The win was trainer Eric Guillot's second career Grade 1 win at Saratoga.  In 2010, he trained Champagne d'Oro's path to the winner's circle in the Test.

However, it was bittersweet for Gulliot, who saw his two year old colt, Sir William Bruce, fatally fall following his run in the fifth race.

At this time there's no word where Moreno will race next, though the Woodward on closing weekend is a possibility.

However, one thing will be on Guillot's mind.  Moreno now has an expense-paid trip to Santa Anita in the fall, as the Whitney is a "Win And You're In" for the Breeders' Cup Classic.

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Moreno before receiving making his way to the winner's circle
WMML Photo
Over 36,000 attended the races on Saturday, which is approximately 10% better than last year's Whitney card.  However, the 36,000 figure is questionable as NYRA released a statement to the media that their 2014 daily attendance figures have counted the nearly 6,000 season pass holders.  

$3.75 Million Dollars was wagered on the Whitney through mutuals and single-race exotics, which is 10% better than the money that was wagered last year when Cross Traffic went wire-to-wire.

NYRA boosted the purse of the Whitney Handicap this year, doubling the purse from $750,000 to $1.5 Million, effectively making it the richest race at Saratoga Race Course.  The attempt was to persuade owners and trainers to keep their horses out east.  

In addition, NYRA added three stakes races to the Whitney card, the Test and the Vanderbilt as well as the overnight Lure Stakes.  They also boosted overnight conditional races, resulting in Allowances being worth over $100,000.