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Bada Bing Inc.

Caught in the Eye of Breaking News

On Saturday morning I planned to speak with Fair Grounds-based trainer, Keith Desormeaux, a blue collar trainer who found himself with a horse capable of starting, and thus possibly getting a piece of the ever-coveted Kentucky Derby Pie. A dream for any trainer, but I thought especially so, since Desmormeaux has been plugging away at this game since 1991 and had never had anything close to a Derby prospect. A nice feature story for my Horse Racing Nation blog and an opportunity for me to get back to my journalist roots.

Instead of proceeding as planned just a few minutes before my 10:15 scheduled interview, Desormeaux learned that Ive Struck a Nerve was likely out of the Derby picture with an unexpected ankle injury. And I found myself in the midst of an actual news story, that I could have broken and almost did. Imagine an elementary school principal who moonlights as a Thoroughbred blogger simply on vacation with his wife making a side trip to the track and then, holding information that no one else in the horse racing media had.

Here's the timeline of my storied Saturday morning…

  • 6:00 - Awake following a typical night out on Bourbon Street. For those of you that have done such a thing, you know what this means and I'll leave it at that.
  • 6:30 - Taxi to the track and find my way around the backside, setting out to find Keith Desormeaux, who I had never met or even contacted before Saturday morning.
  • 6:30 - Watch morning works talk to some folks to find out where Desormeaux is stabled and what his saddle tag looks like; Barn 19 and purple fleur-de lis.
  • 7:30 - Introduce myself to Desormeaux and request an interview; Desormeaux says it's a busy morning, but he'll talk to me if I come back at 10:15.
  • 9:30 - Walk 10 blocks to closest New Orleans street car, ride back to my Mid-Town hotel and have breakfast with my wife.
  • 10:15 - Taxi back to track and catch up with Desormeaux who takes several calls while we try to talk.
  • 10:30 - Desormeaux tells me Ive Struck a Nerve is hurt and only he, his hot walker, veterinarian and now me know this information, first-hand.
  • 10:45 - Finish a quick interview with Desormeaux, who was generous (despite having every right not to be) with his time through several phone calls.
  • 10:45 - Call Horse Racing Nation Managing Editor, Brian Zipse to let him know I have an actual breaking news story that national turf press is still chasing.
  • 11:30 - Taxi back to hotel and write from my brief interview and try to out-scoop traditional news sources.
  • 12:15 - Post story to Horse Racing Nation a few minutes after Daily Racing Form post theirs online.


Just as interesting was Desormeaux's utter amazement in how quickly the story of his now-injured prized horse leaked out. He told me that I was the fourth person to "know about" Ive Struck a Nerve's injury. He was literally scratching his head over how quickly national turf writers were calling him.

I figure, the backside of a race track, like most communities, has ears and eyes everywhere and many who like to "spread the word" of any news. Desormeaux surmised that someone must have overhead his in-person or phone conversations and passed the news along. 

A busy morning of an on-the-site blogger, who almost broke a story of national interest.


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Older Comments about Caught in the Eye of Breaking News ...

Oh C' recollection or admitting to a 'hair of the dog' at 615am?
  • tony bada bing · Lots of water and thoughts of a Bloody Mary...just thoughts though...when heading to breakfast at 7 am on Sunday walked by several "busy" bars that never closed. Place is crazy · 1712 days ago
One of the few "real" places left in the world...
Nothing like the race track, right Tony?
It certainly is organized chaos on the backstretch! Holla at me the next time you are ever in N.O. And I'll meet you at the track if I have a free weekend.
Hey, congrats for breaking a national news story! Also, congrats for waking up at 6:00 AM after a night on Bourbon Street. Not sure I would have been able to do that!
The only thing appropriate to say is a completely Northern expression coming from a Southern girl's mouth: Wowza!
Remind me to tag along next time you head to the Big Easy!

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Tony Bada Bing began his lifelong quest of finding winners more than 35 years ago as a fifth grade student. This is when his grandfather first took him to the many Off Track Betting facilities sprinkled throughout Long Island, NY. While many kids his age were clamoring to hit the beach or an amusement park during summer vacation, Bada Bing was spending it in stuffy, smoked-filled rooms filled with retirees and reprobates listening to Marshall Cassidy on tape delay calling Saratoga.

This passion was further lit by his father, who took Bada Bing to East Boston's Suffolk Downs, only after Bada Bing learned to read the Racing Form. For most of his young adult life a summer rotation of NY OTB, Suffolk, and the now shuddered Rockingham Park in Salem, NH filled his betting days. 

Notable winners along the way: Willow Hour's and Runaway Groom's Travers wins as well as Derby winners Grindstone, Thunder Gulch (which he called in print the day before) and Super Saver. His latest quest is to hit the Kentucky Derby superfecta.

Bada Bing plays tournaments at Derby Wars, bets through several account wagering sites and has blogged about Thoroughbred racing for the past four years. He prefers the bigger meets of NYRA and California as well as seasonal meets of Gulfstream, Churchill and Oaklawn. He likes vertical, multirace wagers like Pick 4s.

He has produced several Horse Racing Nation videos, in addition to blogging. He can be found at Twitter @tonycbadabing. While away from the track Bada Bing enjoys time with his wife, who tolerates and supports his passion, and his two children.


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