Hot off the rail: Your Day 2 Breeders’ Cup collection

Mike Puype, Jim Rome, Mike Smith

Trainer Mike Puype, center, holds up the trophy in the winner’s circle as owner Jim Rome, left, and jockey Mike Smith, right, look on after Mizdirection won the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint horse race Saturday at Santa Anita. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

ARCADIA — Talk about rendering a talk-show host speechless.

Jim Rome, with a glass of champagne in his right hand while clutching a giant bottle of Bombay Sapphire gin in the other, went from a photo op with actress Elizabeth Banks to array of backslaps in the
Champions Terrace at Santa Anita on Saturday afternoon, all in a bit
of a daze.

As the majority owner of the new Breeders’ Cup $1 million Turf Sprint winner Mizdirection, he had just finished the required media Q-and-A
session — this time, he was on the receiving end.

Had he been misdirected to this place of Great Race Place royalty by accident?

“Weird, man, weird,” was about the best he could come up with – aside from a few cliché statements that he may go back later and call
himself out for.

“I’m numb. I’m having a hard time believing that just happened. Ask
me tomorrow. This is an awesome, awesome day.”

Rack him.

His Jungle Racing LLC investment, guided by Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith, came the 11th spot in the 14-horse field at the halfway point of the 6 ½ furlongs, navigated into fifth at the stretch and won it
by a half length over betting favorite Unbridled’s Note.

Huge. Incredible. Phenomenal. Reset that take, and you get the same
result. Now head to the ticket window and collect your cash.

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Hot off the rail: Your Day 1 Breeders’ Cup collection

A track worker wipes down a statue of famed-race horse Seabiscuit before the start of the first day of the Breeders Cup on Friday. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

ARCADIA — At last, Santa Monica-based golf writer and course designer Geoff Shackelford got to meet 2011 Preakness Stakes winner Shackleford.

It was love at first bite.

Shackelford, a frequent contributor to Golf World and Golf Digest, explained Friday how he finally got his wish to meet Shackleford, a 2-1 favorite in Saturady’s $1 million Dirt Mile, two weeks ago when he and his mom visited his barn, thanks to an invite from owner Mike Lauffer.

After they took pictures together, Shackelford felt Shackleford  chomp into his arm, right through his shirt, leaving a couple of teeth marks.

“Oh, it drew blood and left a nice scar,” said Shackelford, son of the former UCLA basketball star Lynn Shackelford who has been following the career of the horse not named for anyone his family – note the different spelling – but for the Shackleford Islands in North Carolina that are a home to many wild horses.

“I found out that Shackleford has also bitten Mike’s wife once, too – but not Mike. He knows better. That’s when you have to give him a peppermint.

“Of course, being bit by a Preakness winner is a great thing.”

Shackelford, who last year produced a self-published book of his own photos called “Zenyatta at Home: Visits to Barn 55” as a tribute to the 2009 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner, doesn’t hold a grudge against the 4-year-old chestnut stallion.

“I’ll always bet on him – this field sets up great for him,” said Shackelford, coming back for Saturday’s day of racing. “He’ll be the talk of the whole place.”

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Weekly media column version 11.02.12


Those scanning their DirecTV service for the Lakers-Blazers game on Halloween night might have seen it listed on NBA TV, the league-owned channel.

Nope, it was just a ghost. The message up on the screen:

“Sorry, a channel where it is viewable has not been found, but we’re still searching.”

And the search continues. For reasons, retribution and rebuttals.

Interestingly, NBA TV reported today that its coverage of the Lakers-Blazers game generated 868,000 total viewers — the network’s best-watched telecast ever. The previous high: A documentary on the Dream Team (847,000), and a Spurs-Grizzles playoff game in 2011 (835,000).

So, what did make it into this week’s media column: How Prime Ticket is trying to make the Clippers’ experience a whole new visual effect — as it takes on the Lakers tonight. Plus, more on the Breeders’ Cup coverage on NBC Sports Net, and other notes.

What could have made the column, but didn’t:

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