LOUISVILLE, KY (JULY 17, 2017) — Every so often, we will be addressing a few things: comments, decisions, people, whatever that – for one reason or another – should be tossed into the literary “muck pit.”
It is in the spirit of cleanliness, recycling, and protecting the environment that we offer this service of “addressing the muck” – free of charge. After all, someone has to do it, right?
And, it didn’t take long for us to find a few pounds of, well, manure. Here is our FOURTH EDITION:
FROM THE: “Are You Kidding Me?” Department;
Not the Kentucky Road Department (Who Would Surely Mess It Up)
On Monday, July 11, I drove up to Lexington for the specific purpose of attending the Fasig-Tipton Horses of Racing Age Sale. I wanted to get there by noon or 1 p.m. (you never know what might delay a planned trip, no matter how much pre-planning you do). And, I was right on schedule when I pulled off I-75/71 interchange at Newtown Pike.
I didn’t think twice, when I turned left and headed towards the sales company’s beautiful facility. After all, it is about a par-5 distance from the interstate to the entrance.
But just as I was whistling “Dixie,” I ran into a snag. Oh, the whistling was good to go. The traffic, though, wasn’t. The snag had turned into a complete shutdown. Seems as if the Kentucky Department of Transportation and its vendor by contract, Gaddie-Shamrock (one of the many road contracting businesses owned in large part by the Lawson family of Leonard and Steve), thought it was a good day to scrape the old asphalt, pour down some hot, black oil and then cover it with gravel.
That’s always a good plan. That crap never pops up on your vehicle, and sticks to your tires like old chewing gum on the bottom of new tennis shoes. Love that smell, too. Like Gary, Indiana in 100 degree heat.
So, after about 20 minutes of sitting idly by, I finally was signaled around to make the 1/100th-mile trek up to the entrance. Total driving time, 2 minutes. As I did, I rolled (well, I didn’t “roll;” that’s an old car term; I “powered down”) my window and politely suggested to the road crew that it may not be the best two days to work on the road directly in front of Fasig-Tipton. I told them that the company was hosting two days worth of horse sales. And, I told them there was going to be plenty of traffic comes this way.
It was if I was speaking Russian to a member of the Trump family. Oh, yes. Sorry. The Trumps probably know Russian more fluently than English.
It was if I was speaking English to a member of the jockey colony at any racetrack near you (that is meant to be sarcasm, since most riders are Spanish-speaking my nature, and since some riders don’t listen to helpful instructions any way). Oh, well. You get the message.
My suggestion was like dropping a note in one of those “suggestion boxes” at your place of employment. As if anybody really reads those things, right? I’m sure as I drove away that a fine, upstanding, young person in that crew showed me how to get from the road to the sales pavilion utilizing one of their most favorite hand digits.
By the time I travelled home, the road company employees had packed up and headed out. No more traffic snarls or grumbling old men to encounter.
Not until Tuesday morning. At about 9 a.m., I rolled up to the same Interstate exchange and turned towards Fasig-Tipton for the company’s 1-day July Selected Yearling Sale. This time the traffic was so backed up that I barely made it onto Newtown Pike.
You guessed it. Gaddie-Shamrock’s crew members were back — throwing down some of Paw Clampett’s favorite “Texas Tea.”
This time, the host of “hot” people in “roasting” cars in front of me, and the procession in behind, looked much like the kids at the University of Kentucky camping out for tickets to Midnight Madness. In fact, the line was so long and the movement so slow, that Fasig-Tipton announced to those that had managed to make it on the grounds that they were suspending the starting time for the sale from the scheduled 10 a.m. beginning for a couple of hours so that people could make it to the sales pavilion.
Are you kidding me? Seriously? The Kentucky Department of Transportation and Gaddie-Shamrock couldn’t have picked two others days? From a summer’s worth of dates?
To be honest, this debacle was an embarrassment to the entire Commonwealth of Kentucky, our guests (who, by the way, came here to spend their money), to the Horse Industry, and to the City of Lexington, in particular.
It is a true embarrassment to the Kentucky Department of Transportation and its’ construction vendor.
Most of all, it was so totally avoidable. Fasig-Tipton – an iconic business in the Central Kentucky area, which produces millions of dollars in revenues – only has two, count them, 2 (even we Kentuckians with our limited math skills can get to that number) – of horse sales each summer. Two.
But we schedule a road reconstruction project right in front of Fasig-Tipton’s main entrance on the same two days?
Are you kidding me?
This scheduling snafu was probably the same mental heavyweight who redesigned the bridge in West Kentucky on the Purchase Parkway near Mayfield — to comply with federal “height clearance standards.” Only to discover that after the new bridge was completed (and zillions had been spent to do so), it was still “too low” to meet the standards. (Yep, that really did happen.) Now, we are spending “zillions more” to dig out the dirt under the bridge to meet the standards.
My old man used to say that you measure twice and cut once. In Kentucky, we don’t measure anything. We just whack away. And, most of the time, we hurt ourselves and the businesses that are trying to make it here.
TVG’S CAROTHERS / PERLOFF OWE
ELLIS PARK AN APOLOGY
Earlier this meet, I was watching TVG’s coverage of Thoroughbred racing from around the country, with a particular interest in the horses running at Ellis Park, in Henderson, KY., when I heard a discussion running between commentators Matt Carothers and Rich Perloff.
For the most part, I don’t listen to anything these two chaps have to say. Period. For the most part (as in 99% of the time), their comments are useless, nonsensical, irritating, and filled with errors. And, those are the compliments.
But, in this particular case, it didn’t take long before I turned from my computer to listen more intently. The conversation had turned to Ellis Park, located in Henderson, KY., and a racing venue that owner Ron Geary has spent untold amount of time and money converting into a good racing locale.
For some reason, Carothers – who spends far too much time talking about himself and the fact that he went to college in New Orleans (as if anyone gives a crap?) more than anything else – made several disparaging comments about Ellis Park. This is a track, mind you, that Carothers admits, on air, that he has never been to; nor does he have a clue where it is located. He goes on to say, on air, that he has no intention of ever going to Ellis Park or anywhere else close to that part of Kentucky. He did say, though, that he may consider – in the future – visiting Kentucky Downs, only because it is so close to Nashville, and that despite the fact that he doesn’t like country music, he thinks he would enjoy the city.
Perloff, who has about as much personality as The Bart (yeah, I know that he is long-since departed), chimes in and reads an email blast from a viewer suggesting that the duo will need to take the corporate jet to an airport nearby, because Ellis Park is located in the country.
Perloff laughs and says that he will not be making a trip to Ellis Park any time soon, either. Not until the network buys him a mobile home to personally transport him here.
Here’s breaking news, boys:
- Kentucky doesn’t need either of you two clowns to travel here.
- If you do plan to travel here, by bus, please let us know plenty of time in advance so that we can get the Kentucky Department of Transportation to plan a repaving job every inch of the way.
- And, if not for racetracks, like Ellis Park, you two guys would be without a job – which you should be any way. If not for horses that run at racetracks, like Ellis Park, you two guys would be without a job – which you should be any way. And, if not for horse lovers, bettors, and owners who go to Ellis Park and tracks like these all over the country, you two guys would be without a job – which you should be any way.
Until Next Time,
The Muck Pit Crew