Reasons for a Happy New Year, but don’t bet on it

Dec 28, 2004 3:59 AM

It would be refreshing if the following happens in 2005, but don’t bet on it:

Racing is blessed with another Smarty Jones, only this one wins the Triple Crown.

There is an explanation about Donald Trump’s hair.

Racing’s spiteful and short-sighted splinter factions join together for the good of the game.

Slot machines do not prove to be racing’s salvation.

Fans of the NBA realize that Allen Iverson is worth the price of admission.

Racing’s dwindling live fan base is infused with invigorated youth, to replenish the dying breed of faithful but crusty bettors who shuffle about on their last legs through support of walkers, canes and oxygen tanks, like they’re in a scene from "Night of the Living Dead," or "Thriller."

A producer, director or anybody tells Paul Maguire to stop using the meaningless crutch phrase, "I’ll tell you what" in every other utterance on ESPN’s NFL telecasts. Ditto for Joe Theismann and his unimaginative, "nice job, good job, bad job." Howard Cosell and Marty Glickman must be turning over in their graves.

Neil Drysdale calls a press conference to announce his 3-year-old campaign for Fusaichi Samurai.

Chris Berman, Dick Vitale and their ill-advised ilk stop YELLING into the microphone. The microphone serves as an amplifier, thus there is no need for yelling, unless an announcer lacks talent and attempts to compensate for same by YELLING to get the viewer’s attention.

Bobby Frankel throws a party for the media to thank them for their support and cooperation throughout his Hall of Fame career.

The media does the same for Frankel.

Adam Sandler or Ben Stiller are in a movie with redeeming social value.

Bob Baffert starts a horse without a bullet work.

Ron Artest returns to the NBA and, after being pushed by Ben Wallace, rather than taking out his cowardly frustration on a smaller foe, shoves Wallace back, even though he is bigger, stronger and tougher. Diss this!

The NBA merges with the WWF.

A jockey—any jockey—wins a big race and fails to thank the trainer.

A trainer—any trainer—wins a big race and fail to thank his owner for being patient and allowing the trainer to take his time with the horse.

A short, fat, ugly girl appears on one of those so-called reality shows.

Laffit Pincay Jr. makes a comeback.

The National Hockey League begins play and no one shows up.

Julio Canani admits that he bets with both hands.

Reggie Miller decides he has enough money to see an orthodontist.

Two jockeys born and raised in Southern California 20 years ago engage in the following conversation:

First jockey: "Dude, like my horse goes so I’m like and he’s all like and I go basically like and um he’s like and I’m all like totally, hello, you know? Cool."

Second jockey: "Dude, like my horse goes so I’m like and he’s all like and I go basically like and um he’s like and I’m all like totally, hello, you know? Cool."

The NTRA, following the lead of Las Vegas casinos, instructs all member tracks to provide complimentary parking, programs and drinks to on-track bettors. "Yes, initially we will lose ancillary income," an NTRA spokesperson admits, "but in the long run that money, as Vegas has shown, will be put through the mutuel windows. The ancillary money will be bet back in handle."

Rick Majerus announces he hits the Ultra Pick Six in the Breeders’ Cup. Four days later, says the ticket is no good.

Happy and healthy New Year to all, and remember, winning isn’t everything. A loving, caring family and true friends are.

The homestretch

A "rejuvenated" Gary Stevens says that with no imminent show business gigs and his health in good form, he is focused on riding and "could have one of my strongest meets in 20 years" during the 85-day Santa Anita meeting that began Sunday.

"I’ve had great luck at Santa Anita and I’m optimistic," said the Hall of Fame rider who made an impressive acting debut as George Woolf in the Universal film, "Seabiscuit."

”¡ Jeff Mullins, Santa Anita’s training leader last meet with 45 wins, had intended to take a string of horses to Florida, but now says those plans are on hold.

”¡ In an effort to improve the integrity of racing, Santa Anita has initiated a new program whereby each horse entered in a graded stakes race will be monitored by security officers starting five hours prior to the start of the race.