Sports Outside the Beltway

Bahrain Grand Prix called off

The Middle East car race was canceled by the country. From AP-

The season-opening Formula One race in Bahrain was called off Monday because of anti-government protests sweeping the Gulf kingdom.

The race is the country’s biggest international sports event and has been on the F1 calendar every year since 2004.

“We felt it was important for the country to focus on immediate issues of national interest and leave the hosting of Bahrain’s Formula One race to a later date,” Bahrain’s crown prince said in a statement.

Eight people have been killed since the unrest began last week and demonstrators planned to use the March 13 race to highlight demands for the ruling monarchy to give up its near-absolute control.

The race could be rescheduled for later in the year. IMHO I think the canceling of the race was the right decision.


Temple Of Doom sets 1:52.4 world trotting mark at Tioga Down

The previous record was 153 flat set in 2009. From

Temple Of Doom (above) set a world record at Tioga Downs on Sunday. Some of the best sophomore trotters in the world were gathered at Tioga for the 36th edition of The Harry M. Zweig Memorial Trot.

Lucky Chucky was the horse collecting the headlines heading into the race, but in the first $134,965 division of the Zweig Memorial, Temple Of Doom and David Miller stole the show with a world record performance of 1:52.4 for 3-year old colt trotters on a five-eighths mile track.

The duo left from post position number five and trotted through fractions of :27.1, :57.2 and 1:25.1 before sprinting away from the field with long powerful strides with a final panel in :27.3. The mile eclipsed the world record set exactly one week ago by Lucky Chucky and John Campbell at Harrah’s Chester of 1:53, which was shared with Explosive Matter (Ron Pierce) from 2009.

Temple Of Doom posted only the second win of the career. The 3-year-old son of Yankee Glide-Armbro Temple is trained by Jonas Czernyson for Robert Rosenheim Stable.

“He had a bad post in the final of the Hambletonian and still raced good, and last week he raced really good at Chester. We have never put him on the front end but I decided to today and he raced as good as he ever has,” said winning driver David Miller. “I was a little surprised with the world record because we didn’t go that much in the second quarter, but he was sharp today and trotted right through the wire.”

Until Temple of Doom produces again, you have to wonder if he is a one race wonder. Much like Land Grant in a 1980′s edition of the Woodrow Wilson Pace.


Mark Webber wins the British Grand Prix

It was his third Formula One triumph for 2010. From AP-

Mark Webber cruised to his third Formula One victory of the season Sunday after overtaking Red Bull teammate Sebastian Vettel on the opening lap of the British Grand Prix.Britain F1 GP Auto Racing

The Australian finished 1.36 seconds ahead of championship leader Lewis Hamilton of McLaren, turning in an immaculate drive at Silverstone after being angered by having to hand over a key car part to Vettel.

“Not bad for a No. 2 driver,” Webber quipped over his radio during his victory lap.

Nico Rosberg of Mercedes was third.

With nine races to go, Hamilton leads the overall standings with 145 points, 12 ahead of McLaren teammate Jenson Button. Webber is third with 128 after becoming the first driver this season to win three races. Vettel is fourth with 121.

Webber’s car has been equipped with the old version of Red Bull’s front wing since qualifying Saturday after the new design was stripped and handed to Vettel, who subsequently took the pole.

But Webber led throughout Sunday after pushing Vettel wide on the opening lap, when Vettel also punctured a tire.

So they raced 80 laps without a lead change. This is almost standard operating procedure for Formula One races. I watched the Monaco Grand Prix two months ago, and the driver who got the lead on the first lap led all the way.

So why does anyone watch these races? For the crashes or to party?


Lookin At Lucky Wins Preakness, Triple Crown To Remain Vacant For Another Year

16preakness04-articleLargeIt was a perfect day for horse racing in Baltimore yesterday, and a great day to be Lookin At Lucky:

BALTIMORE — He is a kid. Martin Garcia has been in this country for less than seven years and looks at the United States with a sense of wonder, whether from behind the counter of a Northern California delicatessen or now, through his racing goggles atop a thundering racehorse. On Saturday, as he led Lookin at Lucky onto the track for the Preakness Stakes, Garcia let loose a smile that would have been blinding atop a lighthouse.

Garcia drank in the pretty hats and the sports coats that dotted the grandstand at historic Pimlico. He took in the raucous infield, with its bleary-eyed revelers lifting their plastic mugs.

Behind him, Calvin Borel was stone-faced, crouched over Super Saver, the winner of the Kentucky Derby, and looking as if the weight of his Triple Crown aspirations had caved him in.

Not Garcia, 25. He was as happy as he was the night last week when the trainer Bob Baffert told him he would replace Garrett Gomez on Lookin at Lucky for this race. Garcia stayed up all night tickled by the possibilities.

Garcia had loved Lookin at Lucky ever since the first time he sat on the colt’s back for a workout last year.

For months, he worked Lookin at Lucky, last year’s 2-year-old champion, in the mornings only to hand him over to Gomez in the afternoons. Unfortunately for Baffert, Gomez had anything but luck with the colt in one troubled trip after another.

After Gomez and the colt were bounced around in the Derby and staggered in a hard-used sixth place, Baffert decided to make a change for the Preakness. Lookin at Lucky became Garcia’s mount.

When Garcia showed up in the paddock before the race and rattled off one “thank you” after another, Baffert wondered if his rider was perhaps unfocused and not ready to race.

“I think he’s so young, he doesn’t understand the magnitude of this race,” said Baffert, a Hall of Famer.

As Garcia loped Lookin at Lucky down the backstretch, however, Baffert’s doubts began to ease. His young jockey had listened to his instructions.

“I told him once you make the turn, you can’t be more than three paths off the rail,” Baffert said.

Garcia did as he was told. Now, he had the colt rolling like a riverboat, and Baffert was starting to feel pretty smart.

“I could see he had the horse in a nice rhythm,” Baffert said

Borel and Super Saver, on the other hand, were working hard and not looking all that comfortable chasing the long shot, First Dude, through a fast half-mile of 46.47 seconds, and a withering six furlongs of 1 minute 11.22 seconds.

And yes, First Dude was, at least in part,  named after Todd Palin. First Dude’s mother ? Run Sarah Run.

On a more serious note, yesterday’s result means that, once again, there will be no Triple Crown winner this year. The last time it happened was in 1978 when Affirmed completed the task only a year after Seattle Slew had done it. This is already the longest gap between Triple Crown winners in history, the previous record being the twenty-five years between Citation and Secretariat.

It’s not surprising, really, winning three of the toughest races in horse racing is a difficult enough task in itself, and it’s become even harder as horse breeding has become a more exact science. There are a lot of good, fast horses out there, and it’s harder for just one of them to dominate the sport the way that others did in the past. There will probably be a Triple Crown winner someday, but its going to have to be one heck of a horse that accomplishes the task.

Bill Jempty Update- Lookin at Lucky’s Trainer Bob Baffert has announced that Lucky won’t race in the Belmont Stakes. Baffert said if Lucky was going for the Triple Crown, he’d enter the horse. Instead he will give a colt a rest. Last year’s Preakness winner, Rachel Alexandra, didn’t race in the Belmont either.

I understand the decision made by Baffert. Lookin at Lucky has little to gain from running in the Belmont(The endurance race of the Triple Crown. It is a mile and a half in length) and there is always the element of risk. Race horses are very fragile animals. Case in point, 2006 Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro. One bad step can lead to them needing to be destroyed. Maybe these races should be more spread out to encourage horses to race in all three. The Harness and Trotting Triple Crowns aren’t raced in just five weeks.


NASCAR Driver Brian Vickers hospitalized with blood clots

He has two career wins. From AP-

NASCAR driver Brian Vickers was hospitalized with blood clots in his legs and around his lungs.

Red Bull Racing general manager Jay Frye says Vickers is on medication and was hopeful of being released from the hospital on Friday.

Frye says Vickers complained of discomfort on his chest and went to the hospital. He says the team is not sure what caused the clots.

Frye says there is “no timetable” for Vickers’ return.

The 26-year-old is in his seventh full season racing in NASCAR’s elite Sprint Cup Series. He has two career Cup wins and made the 12-driver Chase for the championship last season.

It sounds like Vickers suffered a pulmonary embolism which is very serious. I know about it from personal, a PE almost killed me in 2005. The medication Vickers will take is coumadin. It is a blood thinner and I’m still taking it today.

Vickers could be back racing very quickly. I hope he gets well soon.


Sebastian Vettel wins the Malaysian Grand Prix

It was his 6th lifetime Formula One triumph.

Sebastian Vettel took victory in the Malaysian Grand Prix on Sunday ahead of team-mate Mark Webber as Red Bull Racing finally realised the potential it had shown in the opening two races.Malaysian GP

Vettel took the lead from team-mate Mark Webber at the start and then headed the pack pretty much throughout. It was a welcome result for the Milton Keynes-based outfit after reliability woes cost the team victories in Bahrain and Australia.

Nico Rosberg took the final spot on the podium for Mercedes followed by Robert Kubica’s Renault and Adrian Sutil, who held of Lewis Hamilton, to take sixth.

Wet weather in Kuala Lumpar did affect the race but ultimately little was changed. As often happens in GP racing, the race result is decided in the qualifying session. Vettel, who started from the pole, led from start to finish. How do fans find a race like this or the season opener in Bahrain exciting is beyond me.


Horse racing wager pays $4.94M in Puerto Rico

It was not the biggest payout in Puerto Rico history. From the Daily Racing Form-It was

Camarero Race Track in Puerto Rico paid out $4.94 million to a single winner of its Poolpote, a pick six-type bet, on Monday, an amount that exceeds the record payout for a pick six in the U.S. but is only one-third of the record for the Poolpote in Puerto Rico.

Like the U.S. pick six, the Poolpote requires a bettor to pick the winner of six consecutive races. However, the Poolpote only pays out its full jackpot if a single bettor holds the winning ticket. If multiple bettors have winning tickets, a consolation payout is made, and the pool carries over.

According to Camarero, the winning ticket on Monday cost $10.30. The minimum wager for the bet is 35 cents.

The all-time record for a Poolpote payout was $14.2 million, distributed on March 7, 2007, which is believed to be a Western Hemisphere record for a horseracing payout. The winning bettor in that case purchased a $270 ticket. Later that year, a single winner won $6.2 million.

Some people bet hundreds or even thousands on Pick 6 tickets. Pete Rose got into tax evasion trouble when he had someone claim a Pick 6 for him when it was he and his associates who were the owners.


Fernando Alonso wins Bahrain Grand Prix

He also won the 2005 and 2006 editions of the race. From AFP-

Two-times former champion Fernando Alonso marked his debut with Ferrari by leading home team-mate Brazilian Felipe Massa in a resounding one-two triumph at Sunday’s season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix.Fernando Alonso

In a keenly-anticipated race including four champions, three new teams, five rookie drivers and new rules that banned mid-race refuelling, returning 41-year-old ‘red baron’ Michael Schumacher was left among the chasing pack and finished sixth.

It was the German legend’s first Formula One race after three years in retirement, having won a record seven drivers world titles, and he was beaten by his Mercedes team-mate and fellow-German Nico Rosberg, who came home fifth.

Defending Formula One Champion Jenson Button finished 7th. Button who didn’t have that spectacular a career(Only one ever Formula One win) before before 2009, could be just another ordinary driver again.


Formula One adding India to 2011 schedule

The 2010 racing season opens in Bahrain this Sunday. From AP-

India is set to host a Formula One race starting in 2011.

The decision was announced by governing body FIA on Thursday after a World Motor Sports Council meeting in Bahrain.

Can ladies professional golf be long for the Asian sub continent? I expect the LPGA to be playing in India and Dubai within five years.


No more live horse racing at Rockingham Park

The last track in New Hampshire will now only host poker, bingo(!), and other events. From AP-

The age of live horse racing at New Hampshire’s Rockingham Park is over.Rockingham-Park

Rockingham Park President Edward M. Callahan says the decision to limit the location to simulcast thoroughbred, harness and greyhound racing came because of increased fees imposed by the state.

Timothy “Ted” Connors of the New Hampshire Racing and Charitable Gaming Commission calls it a sad, dark day for the state.

Callahan says the decision had to be made now to give 850 horsemen and seasonal employees time to make other arrangements for the summer.

My prediction for 2010 that a horse track would closing its doors has sadly come true. In light of the financial condition of the industry, I expect this won’t be the last.

Personal note- I went to Rockingham Park once with my father during the 1980′s. It was during one of my only two ever visits to New Hampshire.


Visitors Since Feb. 4, 2003

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