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Friday Four-Pack 5.5.23
The Derby is here! More radio drama? Special guest!
How important is the Kentucky Derby to horse racing, the state of Kentucky and Churchill Downs?
So important that Churchill Downs just scratched a horse out of this year’s race because his trainer has had two horses drop dead this week in Louisville.
Sorry to be so graphic to start the Four-Pack but that’s the truth.
Churchill Downs has banned the trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. for an “indefinite period,” citing the sudden deaths of two of his horses over the past five days at the track.
The announcement of the decision to ban Joseph came 30 minutes after Kentucky stewards said that Joseph had agreed to scratch all of the horses he had entered at Churchill, including Lord Miles, who was entered in Saturday’s Kentucky Derby.
The Churchill ban will last “until details [of the deaths] are analyzed and understood,” said Bill Mudd, the chief operating officer of the company, in a statement. The suspension will prevent Joseph “or any trainer directly or indirectly employed by Joseph” from entering horses at CDI-owned tracks or applying for stalls at those tracks, Churchill said.
“The safety of our equine and human athletes and integrity of our sport is our highest priority,” Mudd said in the statement. “We feel these measures are our duty and responsibility.”
Fair? Doesn’t really matter. As a private company CDI (Churchill Downs Incorporated) has a lot of leeway to do what they want. The Kentucky Racing Commission also has power to “exclude undesirables.”
And rather than risk Joseph’s horse Lord Miles just dropping dead in front of millions of people Saturday, they went ahead and banned his trainer without any (at least public) evidence he did anything wrong or had a hand in the death of his two horses.
Hell, they’ve kept Bob Baffert off the grounds for two years! They will stop at nothing to “protect” The Derby.
It’s a shitty part of the sport. Again, no evidence of this yet, but if Joseph was juicing his horses get him out of the game for good. Get all the cheaters out. There is no defense of the mistreatment of these animals.
It will be interesting to see how NBC covers this Friday and Saturday. They’ll have to talk about it, right? Jerry Bailey and Randy Moss have been good in these spots before.
More Kentucky Derby thoughts below, including my pick to win the race…for now.
Onto the Four-Pack.
Toucher and Rich Toucher vs. Rich???
Yeah I thought it was all a goof.
Quick backstory - 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher and Rich Show is coming off a record winter ratings period. A 25.6 in morning drive. Insane numbers. Massive.
During parts of that book, co-host Fred Toucher was out dealing with a throat/voice issue.
He’s been in and out of the show dealing with it. Fred and his co-host Rich Shertenlieb recently had some on-air tension before Fred had a throat surgery he says might have saved his life.
Fast forward to this weekend when Fred took to Twitter suggesting no one from his show would talk to him while he was out dealing with this. Crazy if true.
Then Wednesday it was IG Live for more of “no one from the show has reached out.” Because of the Substack/Twitter beef - you can no longer embed tweets here on MutStack - but this link below has the five-minute clip. You should watch it. There’s a lot going on.
And finally Wednesday night this tweet.
Again the suggestion - he still has not talked to his partner in massive ratings Rich Shertenlieb.
And until that tweet from Wednesday night … I kinda thought it was all a goof. A good way to poke fun at the on-air tension they had a few weeks back and promote his return. Hell, Fred admitted in the IG Live clip above that an on-air “fight” with a producer recently on his show was actually a goof.
But now…I have no clue.
But I do know if they broke up it would be the biggest media story in Boston. By a large margin. And no one in Boston is writing about it. Weird.
So since we would have talked about it anyway, MutStack was able to track down Kirk Minihane of “The Kirk Minihane Show” on Barstool Sports to talk thru what the hell is going on.
I asked him for five minutes. He gave me 20-plus. Sort of would not shut up.
We also get into the news and reaction of Barstool Sports firing Ben “Mintzy” Mintz… a pretty big story in itself. Full audio below.
Explicit language warning
And a quick h/t to my former WEEI colleague and “Kirk and Callahan” third-chair buddy Alex Reimer. He’s at Awful Announcing and actually writing about this and other big media stories.
My mom is a HUGE Alex fan. We are #TeamReim here.
On Joe Mazzulla’s EPIC MIC DROP…
I mean.. this is the guy who played Blake Griffin over Malcolm Brogdon in a big spot against the Hawks right?
And got testy over bringing Robert Williams off the bench?
Scoreboard is scoreboard and when you win Game 2 of a playoff series by a million points I guess you can say what you want…but I’d wait a round or two before the clap backs on the media.
On a college baseball coach trying to be Pete Rose…
How about THIS guy?
Alabama baseball coach Brad Bohannon was fired Thursday amid a widespread investigation into suspicious betting activity on the Crimson Tide's game against LSU six days ago.
Sportsbook surveillance video indicated that the person who placed the bets was communicating with Bohannon at the time, multiple sources with direct information about the investigation told ESPN.
Bolded above for effect.
Betting on Alabama baseball was halted in multiple states this week after a pair of suspicious bets on a game last Friday.
In the game in question - Alabama vs. LSU - reports have the starting pitcher for Alabama being scratched the day of the game and the guy who replaced him not being told until an hour before he was going to pitch.
Alabama's scheduled starting pitcher, ace Luke Holman, was scratched before the LSU game because of back tightness and was replaced by sophomore Hagan Banks, who hadn't started since March 16. LSU won the game 8-6.
So the head coach knows his ace is going to be out. Is forced to pitch a guy who has not pitched in almost two months.
So what does he do? Calls his buddy in Cincinnati and apparently hands the info off to get some action down against his own team.
What an idiot. College baseball is not a game where you can “hide your bets.” FanDuel says they took ZERO bets on the game. So of course a pair of big bets was going to stand out.
Score one for regulated betting!
The OCCC was alerted to the alleged activity Friday by independent Las Vegas-based integrity firm U.S. Integrity, which works with the OCCC and the SEC to monitor the betting market. U.S. Integrity alerted to its clients Friday, and the OCCC halted betting on college baseball games involving Alabama. The SEC has contracted with U.S. Integrity since 2018 and has used the firm to monitor all conference events, including baseball.
Because these were legal bets the watch dogs involved were able to sniff it out.
Here’s the question - how many games has this guy bet on? You think Friday was the first time he bet against his team? Doubtful. Doesn’t sound like the players were in on it. Just the Pete Rose wannabe coach.
On my Kentucky Derby Selection…
I’m on record … I like the #14 Angel of Empire (8-1) in the Derby.
Liked him in the Arkansas Derby. Liked his workout at Churchill. Like what I’m hearing from my clocker friends in Kentucky. Hate betting against his
trainer SuperTrainer Brad Cox because he wins everything.
BUT…the whole world likes him. There is a chance he’s closer to 4-1 than 8-1 when betting on the Derby starts later Friday morning.
And the race is a mess all of a sudden with three scratches and rumors of maybe more to come Friday.
So I’m going to see what today brings and post a Derby Final Thoughts here Saturday morning. My top four in in the Derby. Detailed breakdown. Bomber Brad’s Debry Bomb.
And I’ll post all our podcast picks. Oh yeah we did a two-hour Derby Podcast for you this week.
You should listen. The Substack Pod player is sweet.
That makes a live broadcast Monday. Live Derby chat on Wednesday. Both of those on Twitter. Two-hour podcast Thursday. Four-Pack Friday. Derby content Saturday.
I mean…how the hell haven’t you subscribed yet?
Maybe we’ll even do a live Derby chat here on Substack. I am posting more on the Substack Notes so that’s another reason to be subscribed.
Headed to the FanDuel Sportsbook at Mohegan Sun for the best Derby Party in area. Co-hosting all day with NYRA’s “Big A” Anthony Stabile. He likes Forte in the Derby.
Seats are long-gone but you can of course come hang and bet the race.
Good luck wherever you’re playing. Back Saturday for Derby 149.
Thanks for reading and listening.