Monday, June 09, 2008

Sports, sports, and more sports

The Belmont Stakes
I used to be a really big horse racing fan. I was introduced to it while at Caltech, as we were just a few miles from Santa Anita, one of the world's greatest tracks. I had my favorites back then: Lure, the two-time winner of the Breeders' Cup Mile and Bertrando who should have won the 93 Classic if it wasn't for the shocking upset by Arcangues, who was more than 100-1. In 96, I had the trifecta for the Kentucky Derby, a trifecta that paid $10K+ ... but didn't play it because I didn't have the money to cover all the possibilities (needed $120, too much for me to bet.) I was also a big fan of Holy Bull. I never liked Cigar, as Cigar beat Holy Bull in the race that the Bull broke down... Ultimately it was horses breaking down that really made it hard for me to enjoy horse racing. Horses were clearly becoming more brittle, mostly because of inbreeding. Drugs were being used as a band-aid, but it was obviously a bad situation that would only get worse.

Still, I try to watch some of the big races still each year, and of course that includes the Triple Crown races. I had no particular love of Big Brown, but of course it seemed appealing to have a Triple Crown winner. One of the first videos that I ever watched online was a video of Secretariat winning the Belmont and thus the Triple Crown. I get chills just thinking about, it was such an awesome feat. Anyways, it was sad to see Big Brown lose and disturbing to see his jockey pull him up as soon as he realized that Big Brown was not going to win. Something did not sit right about that to me, like he knew the horse was not sound and should not have been racing. Anyways...

NBA Finals
Good guys 2, forces of evil 0. What more is there to say? Amazingly the Lakers are huge favorites to win in Game 3, and I wouldn't be surprised if they were still being favored to win the series. There is always a Los Angeles bias in Las Vegas. After all, Vegas makes the line based on money bet, not based on their opinion or some other kind of 'actual' odds. Casinos play down the middle, take a cut from boths sides and always profit with no risk.

French Open
Nadal vs. Federer renewed... I could not believe how easily Nadal won this time. I am still unconvinced that these guys are really that great, and that their success is not more attributable to poor compettition. Nadal vs. Borg? Nadal is certainly athletically superior, and there is the racquet technology factor. And I still think that many of the big servers of the 90s would give either one of these guys huge problems, though maybe not on clay.

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