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I made a call to Mike Ziegler, Vice President of Hollywood Park, today for a brief Q & A session. I wanted to find out exactly what happened with Sunday’s 9th race debacle, as well as find out why the Show Me The Money contest was delayed, and why field sizes have been smaller than expected during the past week and half. Ziegler was very forthcoming and helpful, so here’s the scoop:

Vic Stauffer took off the last race as he has a few times over the past couple of years. I didn’t ask why (I should have) but I have heard from reliable sources that he left early to catch a flight to Las Vegas (something about an Elton John concert, who did play at Caesar’s Palace on Sunday night). George Ortuzar “called” the race. I mistakenly wrote in my last posting that Ortuzar had no race calling experience that I was aware of but Ziegler corrected me. George O. has called the races, mostly in Spanish, at the Fresno Fair for the past couple of seasons. The call did not go out over the track PA system because a switch was not flipped on but it did go out to TV land and simulcast locations. The reason for the long pause, according to Ziegler, was because Ortuzar became distracted by the stewards/placing judges who were yelling at him about the lack of sound. I wasn’t on track that day but a few people have told me that the first words they heard when the PA was finally switched on were, “Oh, F***!” All in all, an unmitigated disaster.

The Show Me The Money contest will be restarted on Sunday, May 20. There was a computer glitch whereby many potential contestants were timed out at Saturday midnight instead of 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, the cut-off time for signing up on the original starting day. The good news is that the problem has been fixed and no one was eliminated, so it’s a clean start for everyone on Sunday. I will be putting up a “show” selection each day on the Free Picks section of the website.

As for field sizes, Ziegler said the average through Sunday was 8.4, which is up from last year’s spring/summer meet and about even with the numbers from the successful fall meet. For me, the problem has been with the woefully small fields in the early races over the last week or so.

On Thursday: A nasty spill in the 4th race marred an otherwise pretty good day of racing. ROYAL CHANGE (Alex Bisono up) broke down on the lead, with NO TIP FOR YOU and MUDDER OF PEARL tripping over the fallen horse and losing riders Martin Garcia and Martin Pedroza. Bisono (sprained right ankle) and Garcia (sprained left wrist) were released from Centinela Hospital. Pedroza was treated at track first aid and rode the last race…there is a Pick Six carryover of more than $81,000 into the Friday night card…SOUL CITY SLEW came with his “A game” today to win the 7th, defeating HE’S THE RAGE (reclaimed by Ted West for $80,000) and comebacker ONE UNION, who ran like he was fit to go five furlongs, not seven and a half. DECLAN’S MOON put up no fight in the final 100 yards to finish third while again looking like just a shell of his old self…’SLEW gave trainer Art Sherman the second of his two wins, to go along with a double on Wednesday…two-year-old filly NOOK AND GRANNY broke the 4 1/2-furlong track record when winning the 2nd in very impressive style for trainer David LaCroix.

To View Free Samples of Wednesday and Thursday Premium Plays, click on the links below: Premium Plays for May 16Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Premium Plays for May 17

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