Sep 242017

That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history.
Aldous Huxley

NY Times –  Jake LaMotta, ‘Raging Bull’ in and Out of the Ring, Dies at 95

The gradual decline of boxing to the status of niche sport has pushed that era almost beyond our ability to recover it. As a result, we have lost contact with much of the knowledge about bodies, force and work that went along with being good with your hands in the golden age of boxing.

LaMotta fought an epochal six-bout series with Sugar Ray Robinson, who is generally regarded by those even slightly informed about boxing as the greatest of all time.

Robinson’s record was 175-19, with 6 draws; Mayweather’s, amassed against well-chosen opponents in an era when stars fight much less often and for a lot more money, is 50-0. For the purposes of comparison, you can set aside Robinson’s other 194 fights and simply recognize that going 5-1 against LaMotta was a herculean labor far more impressive than all of Mayweather’s victories put together.

Not long after I talked to Mayweather, I called LaMotta, who gave him credit for being smart enough to make more money while absorbing less damage. LaMotta said: “I fought 13 years, 106 fights, and I made $750,000, total. Fighting all the time keeps you strong, makes you able to take a shot better, but I would have fought less if I made more money.” He said he would have fake-wrestled or done anything else anybody had asked him to, as long as the work involved getting paid and not getting punched.

Mayweather is the greatest money fighter of all time, without peer in exploiting the conditions of the boxing business in his moment to maximize the ratio of reward to risk. But he can’t enjoy that distinction and also come even remotely close to being the greatest fighter of all time. To reach that simple truth, find your way past the movie back to what the midcentury fight world knew, back to what Robinson knew in his sinews and bones, ingrained there by 200 professional fights, including six monumentally tough shifts on the shop floor of the ring with the flesh-and-blood Jake LaMotta.

NY Times – OpEd – Jake LaMotta and the Art of Taking a Punch

NY Times – Rotella – Jake LaMotta Was More Than Just a ‘Raging Bull’

Esquire – Jake LaMotta: What I’ve Learned

The wind is old, but it keeps blowing.

Roberto Duran

Sal says that Rotella’s paragraphs produced above succinctly summarize why boxing and horse racing are in gradual decline to niche sports status. Substitute Pletcher, Casse, Brown, Baffert or any other modern trainer for Mayweather and horse racing for boxing and as much as everyone blames the changes in society for the decline in popularity of boxing and horse racing, both boxing and horse racing need to ask themselves if it’s the change in society or the changes in the way that the product is presented that is more to blame for the decline in popularity of the sports.

Robinson’s record was 175-19, with 6 draws; Mayweather’s, amassed against well-chosen opponents in an era when stars fight much less often and for a lot more money, is 50-0.

Sal says that Mayweather’s record is similar to far too many thoroughbreds retired too early with graded stakes wins amassed against well-chosen opponents in an era when stars race much less often and for a lot more money.

Sal says that both boxing and horse racing shut the fans out from the stars and then blame the fans for not being there.

Bleacher Report – Daniels – Adam Silver Pursuing Fines for Teams That Rest or Bench Healthy Players

Sal says that if Adam Silver, the best of the sports league commissioners by a country kilometre, is searching for a solution to keep the stars in the game in the NBA then the powers that be in horse racing need to start to learning from the successful sports.

In history, a great volume is unrolled for our instruction, drawing the materials of future wisdom from the past errors and infirmities of mankind.
Edmund Burke

Maggie May

Bloodhorse – Sharp Azteca Goes Gate to Wire in Kelso Handicap

Sal says that Sal’s not going to say that Sharp Azteca’s impressive victory while under extreme scrutiny doesn’t exonerate Navarro from the juice comments, but it gives him a tad of a reprieve for a couple of days.

Redemption Song

Whoever wishes to foresee the future must consult the past; for human events ever resemble those of preceding times. This arises from the fact that they are produced by men who ever have been, and ever shall be, animated by the same passions, and thus they necessarily have the same results.

Trump promptly took those dying embers, dumped gasoline on them, and fired up his blowtorch. It’s not that every team is suddenly populated with dozens of players who cared enough about police brutality or racial inequality to kneel on the sidelines, but the league, almost as a whole, took issue with the president’s assertion that players should be fired over an act of peaceful protest.

National Post – Stinson – Divisive Donald Trump has managed to unite the NFL against his toothless commands

Sal says that what most rational people forget is that Trump is playing to the lunatic fringe that he believes elected him.

LA Times – King – NFL players again ‘take a knee’ as Trump renews his attacks

Basketball superstar LeBron James called Trump a “bum” and said that “going to the White House was a great honor until you showed up!”

LA Times – Trump picks fights with the NFL and the NBA — and top athletes fight back

NY Times – Belson, Manchester and Mather – N.F.L.: Steelers Plan to Stay in Locker Room During Anthem

NY Times Belson and Hirschfield Davis – Trump Attacks Warriors’ Curry. LeBron James’s Retort: ‘U Bum.’

“I don’t know why he feels the need to target certain individuals rather than others,” Curry, a two-time N.B.A. most valuable player, said at a news conference after the team’s first practice of the season. “I have an idea of why, but it’s kind of beneath the leader of a country to go that route. It’s not what leaders do.”

NY Times – Cacciola – Stephen Curry, on a ‘Surreal’ Day, Confronts a Presidential Snub

The Undefeated – Reid – Trump pokes at black players in the NFL and NBA – and many poke back

Sal says that Donald Trump was right about one thing: Going to the White House is an honour and a privilege. One of most things that Trump is wrong about it is that Donald Trump is the person who is desecrating the White House with his immature yet senile rants. Gotta give his North Korean counterpart credit for describing Trump with an apt word that had Google lighting up for hours: dotard.

If Donald Trump wants the athletes to respect the American anthem then Trump should take the sword and let a leader who respects the presidency and the people of the US take over.

The Globe and Mail – Kendzior – Real patriotism, Mr. Trump, isn’t how you treat a flag. It’s how you treat Americans

NY Times – Baker – A Divider, Not a Uniter, Trump Widens the Breach

NY Times – Editorial Board – Mr. Trump Squanders the World’s Trust

Bloodhorse – Eric Mitchell – Ramsey Farm Swamped by Inquiries for Kitten’s Joy

Bloodhorse – Shea – It Tiz Well Upsets Abel Tasman in Cotillion

Bloodhorse – Balan – West Coast Dominates Pennsylvania Derby

Horse Race Insider – Pricci – A Star Is Born at Parx Racing

ESPN – DRF – Dunleavy – West Coast makes Penn Derby second G1 win of season

TDN – Flatter’s West Coast Dominates PA Derby

Paulick Report – West Coast Dominates Pennsylvania Derby; Runner-Up Irap Vanned Off

This is Horse Racing – Joe Clancy – West Coast rules in Pennsylvania Derby

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,   
But I have promises to keep,   
And miles to go before I sleep,   
And miles to go before I sleep.
Robert Frost

Thoroughbred racing reappeared in the Calgary area for the first time since 2008. Sal says that the inaugural day was somewhat successful, but Century Downs has a major task on its hands in getting the Calgary fans back into the sport. Equibase reported an on track handle of $71, 559, off track of $91,246 for total handle of $162,805. That’s a far cry from the handle at Northlands Park for the thoroughbreds, but Sal will attest that the interest in racing in Calgary has waned without any racing.
When Sal was gleaning through Phil’s archives he noticed that when Calgary was still racing Phil’s contest entries were about 60% north of Red Deer 40% south. The last couple of contests were about 90% north of Red Deer and 10% of diehards south of Red Deer.
Sal says that if you were at the last HBPA meeting Paul Ryneveld from Century Downs mentioned that Century Downs was at full capacity for slots and was planning an expansion to increase the slot area, increase the main floor area and upstairs areas for horse racing. Sal says that slowly but surely thoroughbred racing in the Calgary area will improve as Century will do a better job for horse racing than Stampede Park or Northlands Park.
Speaking of Northlands Park their handle on 11 harness races was a putrid $73,080 on what turned out to be a nice fall evening.
Sal says that if the fans don’t want harness racing then the province of Alberta needs to put its efforts into thoroughbreds and quarterhorses where the fan interest is still there.

Al Side was the winner of Sal’s throw in $5.00 guess contest for the opening day handle at Century Downs. His guess of $94,000 was closest to the actual handle of  $162,805 without going over as almost all of the other guesses were close to or over $200,000.
Price is Right Rules.

TDN – Carasso – Record-Shattering Keeneland September Sale Concludes

Thoroughbred Racing Commentary – Pitt – The mare whose spectacular victory puts even Secretariat in the shade

TDN – Untrapped Tops Rising Star Exacta in OK Derby

Paulick Report – Champion Champagne Room Cruises Off The Layoff In Remington Park Oaks

Hawthorne Sal

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