Hot Topics at Royal Ascot
Here is the Top Ten list of things discussed in the Royal Enclosure on Day 4 of the Royal Ascot Meeting at York:
10. The icy reception Alex Wildenstein received yesterday after victory in The Gold Cup with Westerner. Seems this family has a reputation of nastiness when they lose or win. Last year when Westerner finished second to Papineau, Alex fired the jockey, and grumbled to the press, "The dope-testing machine must be broken." Remember his ex-wife, Jocelyn? She had so much plastic surgery she looked more like a cat than a human. The local papers dubbed her, "The bride of Wildenstein." Today, the London tabs dubbed Westerner, "The pride of Wildenstein."
9. The devastating reviews that former "Friends" actor David Schwimmer received in the stage play, "Some Girls." David better find a new day job.
8. Wimbledon authorities telling players to stop spitting openly on the ground. And who is getting the most pressure to stop spitting? Englishman Tim Henman. In extreme cases. an umpire can now dock the spitting perp points in the match. Good thing the stewards have not banned spitting at the track. Most of the jockeys, trainers, grooms and bettors would be on suspension.
7. The hat trick that Jockey Mick Kinane had on Thursday makes him a virtual lock for the London Clubs Ritz Trophy given each year to the leading rider of the Royal Ascot meet. The Irishman had a winner on opening day and one on Friday, giving him a total of five. His nearest rivals have only two with one day to go.
6. Mick Jagger refuses to pay Jerry Hall for repairs needed at their former home in London. According to the gossip in the parade ring, the 26 room Downe House in South London is a shambles and Mick lives in a $7,000-a-night suite at Clariges, where his bill for the past two years is nearing $2 million! We need this guy to buy some racehorses.
5. The featured race on Friday, the Grade 1 Coronation Stakes was almost a dead-heat. Maids Causeway bested the John Gosden trained Karen's Caper by a nano-nostril. Fortunately for Gosden, who trained in California for several years, his colt Plea Bargain survived a stewards inquiry in the Grade 2 King Edward VII Stakes a half hour before the Coronation.
4. The fact that Plea Bargain did not get disqualified. His jockey, Jimmy Fortune was handed a three-day suspension for careless riding. He impeded and cost third-place finisher, The Geezer, the runner-up spot. Jimmy had his stick in the wrong hand, whipping, while causing a bump and interference. But the stewards let the result stand. The rules say that the disqualification would only be allowed if the jockey caused "serious jeopardy" to another horse or rider. This is a terrible rule, and I am happy that it is not part of our system in the United States. If this incident would have happened at Aqueduct instead of York, the stands would have been burned!
3. "Hat Gate!" Several London newspapers showed a photo of Queen Elizabeth II yesterday wearing a brown hat at Royal Ascot. Now for the past ten years, legal betting shops in England and Ireland have been taking bets on the color of the hat that The Queen will wear on Ladies Day. The odds were spread about around 5-1 for most of the pastel shades. Brown was a 20-1 longshot ... until someone walked into a William Hill Office in Windsor and bet 2,000 pounds ($3,740). On Brown! The odds on Brown plummeted to 10-1, then 4-1, then even money, then odds-on. When a punter tried to bet 4,000 pounds at 4/5 with Paddy Power, wagering was stopped. Some called it an almost chocolate panic engulfing the betting houses of the British Isles. Forget about The Coronation Stakes, these punters had inside information. And The Queen was mighty unhappy when told about it, later in the day. Wonder if she got a bet down herself?
2. Prince William, the future king, has a radar detector attached to the window of his VW Golf. Whilst sipping champagne, the tophat crowd questioned whether Wills, as king, could be a good role model. Several members of the Royal Family have been clocked exceeding the speed limit, especially The Queen's daughter, The Princess Royal. Too bad their horses don't run that fast.
And the No. 1 thing talked about in the Royal Enclosure at Royal Ascot at York on Friday:
The Queen has an I-Pod!