Editor Freer Featured on ESPN.COM Podcast
HorseRacingFLA.com editor Jim Freer was interviewed on Sunday for this week’s edition of the
“In the Gate” podcast on espn.com.
Jim talked about this past Saturday’s Tampa Bay Derby (Grade 2) at Tampa Bay Downs and about
other recent developments and upcoming races on the road to the Kentucky Derby (Grade 1).
He explained why he likes the prospects of Tampa Bay Derby winner Tapwrit.
In the interview with ESPN’s Barry Abrams, Jim also talked about bills under consideration in the
Florida Legislature that could have an impact on thoroughbred racing in the state.
One issue is whether Florida pari-mutuels should be allowed to decouple. A decoupled pari-mutuel
would be able to stop holding live racing or jai-alai games while continuing to have poker, in-bound
simulcasts and casinos (in counties where they are permitted).
A House bill would not permit any decoupling while a Senate bill would allow it for all Florida pari-mutuels
except Gulfstream Park and Tampa Bay Downs.
The podcast can be called up on any of the following links.
Next week, it will be archived along with the other previous “In the Gate” podcasts
SOUNDCLOUD, ITUNES (for download), and TUNEIN.COM/app
In a separate interview, ESPN’s Abrams spoke with John Oxley who owns Kentucky Derby
contender Classic Empire. That colt won last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (Grade 1) at Santa Anita in Arcadia, Calif.
In his only race this year, Classic Empire finished third in the Holy Bull (Grade 2) on Feb. 4 at Gulfstream.
The following week, trainer Mark Casse found an abscess on one of Classic Empire’s feet.
Classic Empire has recovered from that setback. Oxley said that he and Casse plan to run the son of
Pioneer of the Nile in a Kentucky Derby prep next month. The likely choice is the
Blue Grass (Grade 2) on April 8 at Keeneland in Lexington, Ky.
The Kentucky Derby will be run Saturday, May 6 at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky.
In prep races, Classic Empire has earned 32 Kentucky Derby qualifying points.
That number was the cutoff for making last year’s 20-horse field.