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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

A Great Publicity Event which went too Far?

As some of you may know, Fox Sports Channel 1 debuted on Monday and one of the shows is Crowd Goes Wild which is hosted by television host extraordinaire Regis Philbin.  On the show, since Regis is having a birthday this week, the crew decided to buy Regis a horse.  How much of a surprise it was I really don't know as the horse formerly known as Settlemoir Hanover became Regis The Horse prior to his first qualifier at Mohawk back in June. 

The fact remains, it was a great publicity move, staged or not.  But then after the commercial break, there was more to the surprise, as Crowd Goes Wild cut away to Harrington Raceway for Regis The Horse's race where track announcer Jack Gallagher called the race, adding information about the horse belonging to Regis and his new show.  To make the whole gift more special, Regis The Horse won as an odds on favorite making the gift a success.

Everyone is happy, right?  Well, what if you were a fan at Harrington Raceway or watched the race from your computer and you bet against Regis only to learn about the gift Regis Philbin got?  A cynic may wonder if the race was a 'give me' to the horse.  Now, I am not suggesting it was, but rest assured there were those who wondered about it,. perhaps some people watching the television show.

Instead of having this coincidence, wouldn't it have been better if Regis got the horse for his birthday and then on a totally different day, the show covered the race, whether it won or lost?  Remember, perception is reality and while we got desperately needed publicity, I have to wonder if we went too far.


Anonymous said...


Harness racing clearly needs publicity. It shouldn't be in a situation that triggers questions about the legitimacy of a race. Bettors put down real cash. Owners, trainers and drivers were going for real cash. I doubt the racing regulators, track officials and horse people in the race would be part of a fix, but who knows? Although I don't have a program for the race, I suspect those involved with the horse found a super soft field where Regis would have the best opportunity to make good television.

Pacingguy said...


I don't dispute what you are saying. He came down from Mohawk to race at Harrington so I am sure it was a soft field. Everything may be on the up and up although I am hearing the rules were bent on the name change; allowing Settlemoir Hanover to become Regis The Horse. It just doesn't look right. Harness racing has an image problem regarding integrity. Why do a stunt which provides an opportunity for some to think it was not above board?

Anonymous said...

Reminds me of when 7 guys almost had to jump out of the bike at Freehold just to let an ancient Oleg Cassini "win" an actual "race".