Dearest Trickski kicks up her heels as she schools in the paddock (Sarah K. Andrew)
If racing teaches us anything, it’s that anything can happen. Last week I was attending to some much overdue Self Appointed Fan Committee business (August and Septembers reports are posted!) when I had the good fortune to cross paths with Peter Rotondo Jr., VP of Media and Entertainment at the Breeders’ Cup.
I emailed him a SAFC submission specific to the BC TV production and was somewhat surprised that literally within 2 minutes of sending the email that not only had he responded, but he was friendly and wanted to follow up with a phone conversation! As the person in charge of the BC broadcast (from the BC perspective) you can imagine that this is a pretty busy time of the year for him, so his prompt and proactive response was extra surprising.
We played phone tag for a few days and finally got to speak over the weekend. I had no idea if he knew my ongoing position on various aspects of the Breeders’ Cup or my active involvement in the petition against the BC so I was curious, to say the least, to see how the conversation would unfold.
He’s a nice guy, very easy to talk to & we hit it off immediately. As it turns out, he’s an avid blog reader, so it was no coincidence that he wanted to talk to me! We talked for almost an hour about everything from the petition, the name change, the 2 day format, reaching out to fans, his dad (who is regular on the OTB channel in NYC and all around fun TV personality), handicapping in general (he grew up at the track and is a life long player), some new stuff they’re doing with the this year’s production (odds will be persistent on HD broadcasts) and getting celebs to the track among many other things.
I found his unbridled enthusiasm for the game endearing and infectious. It’s also always refreshing when one can have a productive and fun conversation with someone who represents what could be construed as “the opposition”. Much of the interviews coming out of the BC as of the last two weeks have made it seem as though they’re not interested in the “existing customers” / the fan’s point of view. He assures me this is not the case.
He listened and considered the points I made about the name Ladies Classic (distinguishing between the “traditionalist” point of the view and the “they’re not Ladies” point of view) and he even laughed when I mentioned that I’m calling all other F&M races ladies races (e.g., The Little Ladies) until the name is changed. He was also well aware of the fact that the NTRA, his former employer, has done a lot of good work to bring fans/players to the table and it’s paying off for them (and all of us as it turns out… funny how that works).
Not only was this initial conversation enjoyable and, in my opinion, a good sign, after the dust settles post-BC, we’ll be having some follow-up face to face conversations chez Breeders’ Cup. Given this radical and unforeseen turn of events, I’m softening my previous zero BC stance to include some watching and very small wagering on Saturday.
As mentioned before, I’m previously committed to not watch and wager on Friday (go Zenyatta!) and have already donated my bankroll (more on that to come!) so what little I do play will be only on my dime, literally!