Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Breaking news: race season begins today

Just in case you haven’t tuned in to Capital News 9 recently, racing season is coming. Yes, this is a fact that few people in Saratoga Springs or the Capital Region could ever forget, given the steady procession of horse trailers up the Northway and the veritable inundation of more than 50,000 tourists from around the country.

Still in the dark about when racing season starts? Well, grab the remote and surf over to Capital News 9. They won’t let you forget.

While every media team within 50 miles of the Spa City has produced at least one report about the annual opening of the racecourse, News 9 has managed to shoot no less than six segments about the track opening over a three-day spell. To put this into perspective, that’s exactly two more stories than they’ve done on the Porco trial, a case they began publicizing daily back in June even before a jury was selected.

Let’s count the off, shall we? First, there’s Gearing up for opening day, which followed Saratoga’s opener only one day away. One day earlier there was Getting ready for the races, a report which trailed Opening week at the track. Previous to all of this, News 9 aired Open house brings people back, which was of course previewed by Saratoga race track appetizer. That’s more overboard than during the Ethan Allen tragedy.

True, there hasn’t been a lot of breaking news to report in the Spa City over the last three days. There are, however, plenty of other things going on around the area that don’t involve Union Avenue and might be worth a call or three.

Still unreported by News 9’s Saratoga bureau is the suspension-without-pay of Sgt. Dan “Sunshine” Noeker from the city police force, which is an amazing concept given the channel’s previous preoccupation with the Dreyer scandal last year. Or better yet, a report about the impending sale and $10 million price tag on Broadway’s Adelphi Hotel, as story that made the rounds in every regional newspaper.

And if that’s not enough to draw them away from the track for a minute, then perhaps they could come up with a compelling story within the racecourse confines. Maybe a feature about lead Racing Judge Sentell “Sonny” Taylor, a black man who’s watched the track’s progression from the civil rights movement of the 60s to the present day. Now, he’s arguably the most powerful man at the track, perched nearly five stories high and deciding the outcome of each race.

But all those stories would take work. It’s probably much easier to combine a NYRA press release and some stock footage to harp on about when the bloody track will open and what kind of bobble head doll they’ll be doling out to the spinners this week.

Editor’s note: in the time it took to file this piece, Capital News 9 reworked its Web site and produce yet another report about track season. Unfortunately, they pulled one of their previous postings, maybe because someone over there realized how unbelievably ridiculous it is to have seven stories that essentially say the same thing.

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