Channeling The Amazing Criswell for horse players

Dec 29, 2015 3:01 AM

As a momentous 2015 in horseracing (including a Triple Crown winner for the first time in almost four decades) draws to a close, the horseplayer in us sneaks a peek at 2016.

To do this, we shall channel “The Amazing Criswell.” Please take a second to Google Criswell, a noted soothsayer and prognosticator of some renown during the 1950’s and 60’s. A frequent national talk show guest (though not as often as GamingToday’s own Monti Rock III and not be confused with the “Amazing Kreskin”), Criswell also is seen in Ed Wood’s “Plan 9 from Outer Space,” generally regarded as the worst movie ever made.

I’m still amused by Criswell predicting to Johnny Carson in the mid-60’s “There will be ticks in Tennessee.”

Keep a close Triple Crown eye on Mark and Norman Casse, the father and son training duo that really made a huge impact of late. Their Airoforce was a brilliant winner in the Grade III Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes at Churchill Downs a month ago. Casse, the younger, has been quoted as saying they have many other talented youngsters, including Conquest Big E, a strong winner in a high level claiming/allowance race on that same card in November. This father/son team will sort their two-year-olds out and put them in spots where they can develop.

Criswell predicts: A Casse-trained horse will win the Kentucky Derby.

TVG and TVG2, the television networks through which many of us watch the product at home, must figure out a better way to show more races live and make it easier to figure out what track is on which channel. We’re hopeful for a change of focus away from the clowning around to a more serious presentation.

Criswell predicts: A prompt end to the goof ball antics, such as mixing martinis on set that does nothing to attract new bettors and sickens the more serious students of the game.

More racing entities must take note of Santa Anita’s VIP liaison Tom Quigley. Quigley tweets out from the paddock during almost all Southern California race days to thousands of followers. Quigley was the first to consistently do this that we know of and it’s a move that’s been purloined by others. Quigley must have other ideas to improve the product and presentation. Additionally, he’s in touch with the big and small players in a way that no one else is.

Criswell predicts: A promotion for Quigley in which all Southern California tracks take advantage of his other ideas to strengthen the game. Why not ask, listen, execute, and repeat? Santa Anita and Los Alamitos avail themselves of many of Quigley’s talents right now and a view of the future reveals Del Mar and TVG/TVG2 will soon do so as well.

What ever happened to Zoe Cadman? An apparent casualty of the absorbing of HRTV by TVG, this bundle of knowledge and energy has gone missing.

Criswell predicts: The unique skills of former jockey and broadcaster Zoe Cadman will soon re-appear for all to enjoy. At least one Southern California track will hire the personable Cadman and give her the assignment of roaming the stands talking to players, trainers, owners, and celebrities. Upon hiring, she will be dispatched to schools and civic groups to talk about the sport. She will take a horse and groom with her for career days all over the west to promote the greatest game of them all.

The Amazing Criswell had more misses than hits while alive. Here’s hoping his vision (and mine, too) of 2016 really comes to pass!

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