31 January 2006

Sunshine at the castle

It's still a happy day at the Quinella castle, as we bask in the joy of hitting an exacta in the Filly and Mare Turf during Saturday's Sunshine Millions. (Not much of an accomplishment, true, but it's my first win via an OTB bet.)

As with all days that feature horse racing on a non-cable tv channel, we made a holiday of it, though frankly, it doesn't take much to derail us from painting the dining room and other sundry household tasks. We completed our essential errands early in the day so there'd be no pesky chores hanging over our heads at 4:30, when NBC coverage was slated to begin. And yes, we stopped at the state store, where, along with the gin and vodka, I picked up a bottle of Haras Estate chardonnay solely because of the horse (by da Vinci) depicted on the label.

So as not to miss one second of the tv coverage, we flicked on the tube at 4:00. At approximately 4:25, the Penguins-Rangers game ended in an unsurprising Pittsburgh loss. Certain that NBC would go to the Sunshine Millions after a few commercials, we popped the cork on the chardonnay. Instead, the station switched to the Dallas-Detroit hockey game, which sadly went into overtime, then some strange ritual that I think is called sudden death.

I found this a remarkable programming choice. If the scheduled Penguins game had gone into overtime (not likely, I know), it would make more sense. But I'm mystified as to how viewers who wanted to watch Dallas-Detroit would know to tune in, while those who expected the scheduled programming were disappointed -- possibly disappointed enough that they would turn off the television and go paint that darn dining room which has had primer on it for three weeks. Serving up hockey to those looking for racing just seems like a recipe for losing viewers to me.

So I was not surprised to read that Sunshine Millions overnight ratings down 12.5%. As Thoroughbred Times notes:

NBC Sports registered an overnight rating of 1.4 for its one-hour broadcast of the Sunshine Millions races from Gulfstream Park and Santa Anita Park on January 28, a 12.5% decrease from last year's 1.6 overnight figure for a two-hour program.
Since the share of audience was the same as last year, I suppose it's possible that the ratings would have been the same even if the coverage would have started on time.

But my dining room wouldn't have these erratic, dare I say, drunken, swaths of color on the walls.


Tote Board Brad said...

Like everybody else, I was downright furious about the coverage. I wasn't watching live, but TiVo'd HRTV before & after NBCs slated coverage, & NBC for the hour & a half they were suppose to show the Millions.

I too was boozing at the time after hiking into the German Tourist Club during a rain storm. When I got home, soaked and somewhere between buzzed & hungover, I was less than pleased to discover that less than half of what I recorded on NBC was actualy racing.

I keep both gin and vodka on hand, as well. There's no accounting for the tastes of one's guests. You never know when some rim jobber may want a watermelon martini.

You do sugar the rim of a watermelon martini glass, no?

John said...

Hi Tracey

Luckily, I watch Philadelphia Park's cable station in my area. While it's not top notch, at least it is dependable. I usually try to switch over to the networks when racing is programmed but more than once I have been disappointed by last minute programming changes at the expense of the racing fan. So now I just stick with Phonebet TV from Philly Park.

I see Brad can't help himself from promoting my blog in that strange fashion of his (thanks Brad). You see Sue from Post Parade and I have verbally bludgeoned him on her blog and now he skulks around the TBA making fun of my love of the watermelon martini, poor boy.