We had a compelling Kentucky Derby winner, Mage, who had only raced three times in his life before winning the Run for the Roses on Saturday. And that is just a fraction of the news that has come out of Churchill Downs in Lexington, Kentucky over the last week or so.
Pat 40 from Sports Illustrated at by Pat 40 on Twitter joins us on the Adam Gold Show. First, let's start with the race. Are you surprised that Dale Earnhardt Jr. picked the winner on NBC before the race? Look, anybody could pick the winner, basically, in most years in the Kentucky Derby, and this one's not too different. So maybe Dale had some special insight. I know he knows about turning left, which is what you do in a car and on a horse. But beyond that, it might have just been novice luck.
The whole thing was hysterical. All right, so first of all, the horse that won, very lightly raced, pretty much was like partially owned by the trainer, right? Well, the trainer, no, the ownership was interspersed amongst four different groups, with one guy who's a blood stock agent who helped pick out the horse and buy the horse as the primary owner.
So what is the backstory to this? Because I know the jockey had not won a Kentucky Derby in 15 previous starts. Right.
Yeah. Javier Castellano, 0 for 15. And he said he was watching NBC coverage the day of the race in the jockey's room, and they put the 0 for 15 up there. He said it was inspiration. He said, This year I'm going to do it.
Lo and behold, he did. It was a heck of a ride, really. The horse missed the break, was nearly last, and he found a nice, clean, patient trip to put Mage in position to make the stretch run. Yeah, sometimes all you need is just a quiet ride all the way around. And he got to the top of the back stretch, and there was a lane, and he was, what, six horses wide.
But at that point, it doesn't matter. He's in the middle of the track, and there's just a lot of room in front. I guess the trainer thought that as soon as he saw the horse at the top of the stretch, he knew he was going to win the race then.
Yeah. I mean, given this horse's style, his race, as you noted, he hasn't raced often. But in big races, he's had one big move. He had a big one in the Florida Derby. And Forte passed him up, but he's got that kind of triple crown race winning sort of one big acceleration in him. And he certainly showed it there when he got the opportunity and overhauled two fills who actually ran a heck of a race to finish second. Before I get to what happens at Churchill Downs, do you think that Mage will run the Preakness? Oh, yeah. Yeah, I expect that he will. And I expect Forte, who had beaten Mage twice and who was scratched somewhat controversially the day of the race, to be there and meet him and give us a little bit of a storyline.
All right. As you said, somewhat controversially, there were a lot of scratches. I think five horses were scratched. And at the beginning of the week, maybe even on the weekend, a horse that was supposed to run was put down because of a fracture in his hock. What had that week 10 days been like for Churchill Downs?
Yeah, it was terrible. Terrible run up. The worst run up to the Derby I've seen.
And this was my 36th of them. So, you know, there were, again, seven horse deaths in a 10 day span, starting with Wild on Ice, who was the Derby contender who had to be euthanized after an injury to his right hind leg. And then in the races or in the paddock on race day, there were other injuries that resulted in fatalities, including two on Derby Day. And then obviously the five scratches most since 1936 and a trainer suspended and basically told to take his horses and leave town. That's happy Joseph, who had two of the fatalities. So it was a pretty sobering reminder of what goes with horse racing.
There's some great parts to it and some that are pretty ugly. Pat Forti is joining us here at Santa Anita in California in the last couple of years. There's been a rash of deaths as well. What does the sport what does it say about the sport? What does it say about two tracks at Churchill Downs as well that these things seem to be happening in bunches?
Yeah, I don't know. I mean, honestly, and the thing with these at Churchill Downs, it was kind of a hodgepodge of circumstances. There were, I think, four on the dirt track, one on the grass track, two that were unrelated to racing service at all. Those were the horses for Saffy Joseph, the trainer who was suspended, who they just collapsed after the race.
And those are the most suspicious ones. There was a horse that reared up in the paddock. And so, you know, you can't point and say, it's this, it's that, you know, the dirt surface needs to be safer. The turf needs to be safer, that sort of thing.
Whereas out in California was, I think, a little probably pointed a little bit more towards surface than than these injuries. But still, you know, it is a problem for horse racing because plenty of people are turned off when death of the competitors is part of the equation. So that's, that's a reality that you are turning off a large segment of your audience. There is a, you know, it's a complete hodgepodge of regulations nationally. They're making big strides actually towards a kind of a homogenous medication set of guidelines, but they haven't gotten there yet. And there's a lack of central leadership in horse racing until those things kind of come together.
I'm not sure how much farther forward the industry can come. There are fewer fatalities now, Adam, per horse per 100 horses or whatever than there used to be. The sport is safer. But when high profile things like this happen at Churchill Downs, we get the Kentucky Derby.
It's a very bad look. You know, it's interesting. We talked to longtime horse racing writer Dick Girardi last week, and he pointed out that Bob Baffert, who has been banned, is now finishing up, I guess, a two year ban from Churchill Downs, that the medication that his horses were on, which has gotten him banned, is perfectly legal in other places. So it almost seems like like for this sport specifically, there does need to be one set of rules. There does. There absolutely does. And that's the thing. You know, in the like a suspension in one place doesn't carry over to another. So a jockey or a trainer to get suspended just moves his operation for a couple of weeks, months, years, whatever the case may be.
There's nobody in charge, basically. And so you do have this kind of this, you know, this lack of uniformity that really, I think, puzzles and confuses the average fan and leads to some pretty strange situations out there, for sure. Pat 40 is joining us from Sports Illustrated at by Pat 40 on Twitter. You can also check him out on the College Football Enquirer with Dan Wetzel and Ross Dellinger.
So I have to ask you this. I saw where ESPN basically told the sports media world that we're not interested in the Pac 12 media rights at this point. Not sure if they will become interested down the road, but is the Pac 12 just not going to be on TV eventually?
I mean, we're just never going to see him. As we joked on our podcast, we think like Cheddar TV and gas station TV is going to be the way to go. Pull into pump six and catch as much of Washington State against Stanford as you can get while you're filling up and move on from there. They have to really speed the game up, though, to get the to get the full game. I know they're trying to, but they really have to speed it up. Yeah, for sure. Uh, I don't know. I mean, look, they're gonna end up with what they're gonna end up with a contract. What?
It's what it is who's involved, what the distribution is, how much is streaming versus how much is more readily available on TV. I don't know. Um, I'm not sure anyone knows yet. I think we're getting gradually more information really within the next six weeks or so. We will hopefully be getting, you know, an announcement. I think it's it's time and everybody needs to know where the Pac 12 stands and especially the members of the Pac 12 need to know where the Pac 12 stands. What? Who's going to be left in the Pac 12 if they don't get anything that even approaches what the ACC or the Big 12 earns per year in terms of media?
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Free at ziprecruiter.com slash post that ziprecruiter.com slash post ziprecruiter.com slash post. Well, I mean, this is going to be the big question is, is if there's, if they have a true disparity compared to the Big 12, do they lose schools there? You know, I, I'm not sure you're going to lose them to anywhere else. Cause I don't know what the big 10 wants Oregon and Washington per se and who else is really actually marketable. Stanford has a massive academic cache, but limited athletic appeal. So you're dealing with college presidents who might like to be in a conference with Stanford, but you know, it's, it's, it's, it's fraught with peril for the PAC 12 for sure. Um, you know, could they, cause the big 12 is just sitting there waiting. They would love those four corner schools. They're called Colorado, Utah, Arizona, Arizona state. Uh, and so that's who the PAC 12, I think most needs to worry about then Washington, Oregon as well.
Northwest. Well, what's stopping the big 12 right now from getting the four corner schools? Well, because I'm not sure the, uh, I mean the schools, I think in the PAC 12 feel like they, they want to wait and see what the PAC 12 deal is.
It's good enough. They prefer to stay. I, you know, I don't think Arizona is Arizona state or just chomping at the bit as being the same conference with West Virginia and central Florida, but we'll see how it all works out. You know, they would rather have a more local, uh, presence and be able to recruit in California more easily.
But I think they're waiting to see what, uh, what's on the table. That 40 from sports illustrated is joining us. Uh, we, we used to have ACC coastal and Atlantic. Maybe we could have, uh, ACC Atlantic and Pacific. Well, you know, the ACC needs to find ways to conjure up, uh, more revenue. And if you want, if you want to try to get ESPN to break that contract, to remake the contract, you know, take a swing like that. I mean, it would be truly bizarre Syracuse, Boston college, Arizona, Arizona state. Sure.
I mean, you could not, could not get further apart in America, but you know, all things are still on the table at this point. Alaska Anchorage will be joining the Atlantic coast conference pad 40. Um, look, I think here's what I would do if I were the commissioner of the ACC, I would allow encourage demand advertising on the uniforms.
Who would stop me? Yeah. You know what? That's, that's an interesting thought. Uh, if, if, if you're looking ways for ways to make money, there's a, there's an easy way I would think right there. Um, and we talked about the lack of centralized leadership in horse racing.
Well, college sports has that too, since the NCAA seems to have very little power. So, uh, that would be a fascinating, um, avenue for them to explore. Let me ask you this question. I had, I don't think you and I have talked about it, Pat 40.
I don't want to keep it too much longer. The, um, do you think NIL has been good for the two majors? I'm not, I'm not trying to diminish all of the other sports and we've seen it. Uh, you know, there's a lot of athletes that are taking advantage of NIL, maybe in the ways it was supposed to be, uh, implemented, but do you think ultimately NIL has been good or bad for college sports? I think it's been good. Um, I think athletes have been able to get some of the, uh, profits of their labor that they have long sought. Um, I don't think it has ruined anything. It certainly hasn't ruined the economy.
You know, for people that said, I'm not going to watch because this isn't amateur sports. Well, check the ratings they're watching for schools that say it's going to absolutely break our budgets. Well, how many coaches have been given $10 million contracts in the last two years in football?
Uh, how many places are still building new facilities? So, you know, I just think there's been a lot of alarm without a lot of substance behind it. Has it all been perfect? Absolutely not. Is the NIL that's turned into recruiting inducement something the NCAA did not want and the schools did not want? Yes, but A, is that the worst thing? Probably not.
Secondly, B, can you rein that in? Maybe. You can at least get closer to it. I think there's going to be, you know, this two or three year, four year period of almost wild chaos and then it's going to settle down. People get their arms around it and it's going to work a little bit closer to the way it was intended to work.
That's what I think, too. I think that we just, it's so new for people. And look, I said this when the NCAA came out and said we don't want it being used as a recruiting inducement. I said, well, I figured you would say that. I don't know how you're going to stop it, but they hadn't been able to stop it before. Well, exactly.
Right. You know, I mean, yes, I think it was at best naive to think that they could stop it. But to your point, Adam, it's the underground economy has been rolling for decades. You know, players were coming and going based on inducements that were offered to them. They just weren't public. Yeah, there was plenty of guys that you could go through the parking lots at major schools and look at the cars and say, yeah, well, those were probably NIL inducements before NIL. You know, the old now it's legal aphorism for acronym for NIL.
That's where we are, but it's always kind of been the case. Pat 40 at or by at by Pat 40. Too many things to remember here from Sports Illustrated. Also, the College Football Inquirer podcast with Dan Wetzlin, Ross Dellinger. Thank you, man. I'll talk to you very soon. I appreciate it. All right. My pleasure, Adam. You got it.
Pat 40 from Sports Illustrated. So was a tough week for Churchill Downs and College Sports, still adjusting to everything. Honestly, I don't know what the Pac 12 is going to look like in two years. Don't know.
I don't know how much money that they can get from a network. You're hamstrung by the time zone, completely hamstrung by the time zone. Yes, you should dominate everything that happens after, oh, 10 o'clock Eastern Time, theoretically. But you're really choking off half of your. You know, half of the country in terms that you can't get huge numbers. So I don't know how it's going to work. It is a difficult spot.
It really is. And there might not be that much money left over with as much money as the Big Ten and the SEC is getting. And honestly, the Pac 12 and the ACC makes pretty good money, too. I just don't know how much there is left for the Pac 12.
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