Go Baby Go: NTRA says it pays to advertise

On Horse Racing

July 05, 1998|By Tom Keyser | Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF

Horse racing's barrage of national advertising is apparently working, says Alan Foreman, the Baltimore lawyer serving as a director of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association.

Foreman recently attended a two-day retreat at Colorado Springs of NTRA's managers and board of directors. Begun April 1, Foreman the NTRA set a goal of transforming horse racing into one of the country's top five sports.

That transformation will take years, the NTRA acknowledges, but the quest began with highly visible newspaper and magazine ads and the "Go Baby Go" TV commercials featuring the actress Lori Petty. She plays a passionate bettor who looks undernourished and strung out. Love her or hate her, you can't ignore her.

Foreman says an ESPN poll that gauges the public's interest in sports asked the question: Are you very, somewhat or a little bit interested in horse racing? In March, 30 percent of those questioned said yes, in April 33 percent and in May 34 percent.

An NTRA poll produced more encouraging results. It asked: Is horse racing one of your favorite activities? Positive answers jumped from 3 percent to 16 percent.

Real Quiet's attempt at a Triple Crown may be largely responsible for that. But still, Foreman said: "I think the general consensus is, the campaign is working. We are seeing an uptick."

MATCH series a hit

A success last year in its first year, MATCH (Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred Championships) has attracted even better fields and significantly more betting dollars this year, said Foreman, founder of the series.

From April 18 to Oct. 3, horses compete in five divisions for $600,000 in bonuses for their owners and trainers -- as well as purses of $3.6 million for the 35 MATCH races at seven regional tracks.

"The series will really start to take form after the next set of races," Foreman said.

The standings:

3-year-old sprint

(after three races)

( Horse Owner Trainer Pts.

Klabin's Gold Acclaimed Racing A. Iwinski 14

Five Star Deputy Candy Stable T. Ritchey 7

Good and Tough David Reynolds F. Alexander 6

Next race: Long Clover Handicap, July 18, Philadelphia Park

3-year-old long

(after three races)

2& Thomas Jo Team Valor J. Jerkens 12

Medford New Farm B. Perkins 7

Scatmandu Robert Waxman J. Kimmel 6

Next race: Long Branch Breeders' Cup, July 19, Monmouth Park

( 3-year-old and up sprint

(after two races)

6* Original Gray Conover St. J. Tammaro 7

Richter Scale N. and R. Kaster B. Mott 6

Stormy Atlantic A. Appleton R. Camac 6

Next race: Shrewsbury Stakes, Saturday, Monmouth Park

& 3-year-old and up long

(after two races, yesterday's not included)

5) Testafly J.D. Brown et al. D. Mills 9

Acceptable Kinsman Stable B. Mott 6

Testing Richard Granville B. Boniface 4

Littlebitlively John Franks B. Barnett 4

Hot Brush Robert Meyerhoff R. Small 4

Yesterday's race: Norristown Handicap, Philadelphia Park

.` Fillies and mares long on turf

(after two races)

6* Bursting Forth Sam Huff H.G. Motion 10

Tresoriere Mrs. Alec Head C. Clement 6

French Buster Dennis Drazin W. Croll Jr. 4

Next race: Penn National Distaff Handicap, next Sunday, Penn National

Leading owners

Acclaimed Racing Stable 14

Earl Mack and Team Valor 12

Sam Huff 10

Leading trainers

Allen Iwinski 14

James Jerkens 12

H. Graham Motion 10

Desormeaux dumped

Was anyone surprised that Kent Desormeaux -- so hyperactive Belmont week he was bouncing off the walls -- lost the mount on Real Quiet to Gary Stevens, now Bob Baffert's first-call rider?

Baffert was calm and supportive after Desormeaux's premature move perhaps cost Real Quiet not only the Belmont but also the Triple Crown. Then, the next week, Baffert berated Desormeaux for his ride on Semoran at Churchill Downs.

Anyone in a relationship could see what was going on. Baffert was yelling about one thing (Semoran) when he was actually mad about something else (Real Quiet).

So now Baffert is pointing Real Quiet and his new jockey toward the Swaps Stakes July 19 at Hollywood Park.

And then, he plans to run Silver Charm on July 25 in the San Diego Handicap at Del Mar as a prep for the Pacific Classic, where Silver Charm might join Skip Away and Gentlemen in the race of the decade.

'Passion' away for summer

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