The New York Racing Association, the operator of Aqueduct Race Track and Belmont Park, has blamed Off-Track Betting for attendance decline for nearly 40 years. The demise of OTB, possibly the only bookmaking operation in history to ever lose money, means that it’s now put up or shut up time for NYRA.
Last weekend NYRA announced new bus service to its tracks from all parts of the city. That’s a step in the right direction in getting new customers. NYRA should also start booking some name music acts from various genres to perform at Belmont’s beautiful backyard for the upcoming summer and early fall racing seasons. That’s what it did back in the late 1970s, when NYRA feared competition from the just-opened Meadowlands Raceway.
Auburn QB Cam Newton was, as expected, awarded the 2010 Heisman Trophy last Saturday night in spite of well-documented reports that his father was trying to extort cold hard cash from universities as part of the recruiting process. Newton was gracious in his acceptance speech and spoke of his desire to one day open a day care center because of his concern for the well-being of children.
Stanford passer Andrew Luck was the runner-up for the Heisman. Luck, who is studying architectural engineering, embodies the classic definition of the scholar-athlete. A waggish reporter at a media session held the day before the Heisman wondered aloud if Luck’s father tried to sell his son’s services to MIT but had to settle for Stanford when the former wouldn’t come up with the dough!
It was surprising that during his re-signing press event, Derek Jeter admitted he was displeased that Yankees executives had gone public with how their talks were proceeding. Derek, even if Hal Steinbrenner, Randy Levine and Brian Cashman had remained mum, Julian Assange would have probably revealed all the dirt on WikiLeaks anyway.
If the Jets want to avoid another year of hearing disgusted fans and media regurgitating the “same old Jets” refrain, they had better beat the Steelers next Sunday. That’s no small feat, considering that the Jets haven’t scored a touchdown since Thanksgiving and have never won a game in Pittsburgh — and we’re talking 40 years of football. Their 10-6 loss to the Dolphins last Sunday was one of the dreariest-played football games I have ever witnessed. Jets QB Mark Sanchez and his Miami counterpart, Chad Henne, rarely converted third-down opportunities. The Jets looked as if they were still shell-shocked from the 45-3 beating the Patriots gave them the week before.
Speaking of the Pats, has anyone noticed that their quarterback, Tom Brady, has played like a man possessed ever since the National Enquirer reported that he went to a hair replacement medical center? Rogaine executives quickly jumped on the story and offered to send Brady a generous supply of its Foam Minoxidil. Brady has clearly taken out his anger on his team’s opponents. Jets head coach Rex Ryan should compliment Brady on his coiffure a few days before the next Jets-Patriots match-up.