Jeopardy! clue gets horse racing community buzzing

December 22, 2018 02:00pm

“Bob Baffert trained 2 recent Triple Crown-winning horses: American Pharoah in 2015 & this horse in 2018.”

That a three-player Jeopardy! Player panel on Thursday evening’s show delivered blank stares rather than Justify’s name sparked social media conversation from many corners of the racing industry.

Is it a sign that racing has slipped too far from the mainstream — that in a year when we witnessed the sport’s greatest accomplishment, the Triple Crown doesn’t even qualify as an afterthought? Or, simply, is Jeopardy! not the platform on which to judge such a thing?

After all, it hasn’t even been a year since another set of contestants didn’t even take a guess at this series of football clues.

For what it’s worth, the Justify clue came in a category for "Recent Events" at the $600 level. The contestants correctly answered each other clue. Thursday's show had one other clue that stumped all three players:
"This movie comedy duo rode camels in 1942 while on “The Road to Morocco” (It had a bit of a racing connection, too, with the answer Bob Hope and Bing Crosby.)

Following the whiff, reactions rolled in…

Richard Migliore, the former jockey and racing analyst, tweeted: “Maybe it’s more a commentary on how poorly we market Thoroughbred racing. How can any person in America not know that unless we’ve done a poor job of getting that information to the mainstream?”

Amy Zimmerman, who heads broadcasting at Santa Anita Park and works with NBC’s racing productions, said: “This should scare the hell out of every person who loves horse racing. The audience we are speaking to is often each other. We have to step outside of our own voices in order to survive.”

Ed DeRosa, director of marketing for Brisnet, added: “The people who go on Jeopardy study general knowledge, so what this tells me is that the biggest news in our sport isn't considered general knowledge, and I see that as a problem.”

On the other side of the debate…

The Daily Racing Form columnist Jay Hovdey wrote: “Look at it this way: Bravo Jeopardy for slipping in a racing nugget, and imagine all the people watching at home screaming ‘Justify, you idiots!’ at the screen.”

Trainer Norm Casse said: “To be fair, I wouldn’t put too much stock into Jeopardy contestants’ sports knowledge in general.”

From Ryan Martin, media relations coordinator for Fair Grounds: “So three Jeopardy contestants didn’t know that Justify won the Triple Crown. Probably because they spend more time reading the encyclopedia and not the racing program. It’s not that big of a deal.”

And always count on some wit from New York Racing Association handicapper Andy Serling.


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