Wally Hall is the managing sports editor for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of the University of Arkansas-Little Rock after an honorable discharge from the U.S. Air Force, he is a member and past president of the Football Writers Association of America, member of the U.S. Basketball Writers Association, past president and current executive committee and board member of the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame, and voter for the Heisman Trophy. He has been awarded Arkansas Sportswriter of the Year 10 times and has been inducted to the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame and Arkansas Sportswriters and Sportscasters Hall of Fame.
Like It Is:
SEC Media Days right around the corner
Arkansas football coach Sam Pittman speaks during Southeastern Conference Media Days on Wednesday, July 20, 2022, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
A date to remember is July 17, 2023, the opening day of the SEC Football Media Days in Nashville, Tenn.
That means two weeks of football news, something that has been rare the last few weeks except for the exceptional recruiting reporting by Richard Davenport.
Exactly how many media members will be in attendance isn’t certain, but it will be the most covered preseason conference football days in the country.
In the past, there would be in of excess of 1,200 media credentials handed out, and more than half would stay the entire three days.
These days very few newspapers cover the event from start to finish. But Tom Murphy, Bob Holt and yours truly will be among the first there every day and the last to leave.
Every school in the conference will be covered in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and there will a notes package almost every day of that week.
It was almost shocking to learn Churchill Downs was extending Bob Baffert’s suspension for an additional year.
Baffert is the most successful trainer in the world and when all is said and done will go down in the books as the winningest trainer ever.
Some of this may have to do with so many horses breaking down and having to be euthanized.
Baffert was suspended after his Kentucky Derby-winning Medina Spirit failed a postrace drug and Churchill officials said enough is enough. Bafferet has nine medication violations which hasn’t helped his reputation.
Later in the year Medina Spirit died. He was just 3 years old.
Prior to this year’s Kentucky Derby, trainer Saffie Johnson had two horses die and he was suspended immediately, but has been reinstated after tests revealed both horses died from natural causes.
Churchill officials have been so concerned they moved all the races to Ellis Park while they did a thorough testing of the racing surface.
Every track has horses break down. Thoroughbreds are big, their ankles aren’t.
Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort in Hot Springs doesn’t have a lot of break downs and part of the reason is each year, at great cost, the track is scrapped clean and new dirt, with a mixture of sand, is brought in.
It is the opinion here that there could be any number of reasons why it seems more horses are breaking down. But for sure the inbreeding in the horse industry could play a factor as well as the breeding for speed over endurance.
Expect Baffert to appeal and lose in Churchill and maybe New York.
The controversy surrounding the PGA and LIV golf continues as officials from both tours are being summoned to Washington to answer questions before a Senate panel that is reviewing the recent surprise agreement between the PGA and the Saudi-owned LIV.
Let’s give the Senate a couple of clues of what is going on: The color is green and it smells like money.
Rickie Fowler won the Rocket Mortgage Classic last weekend in Detroit and won $1.5 million.
Adam Hadwin and Collin Monkawa tied for second after the playoff and received $783,200
Former Arkansas Razorback Taylor Moore and Lucas Glover tied for fourth and earned $370,333.
Taylor Gooch won the LIV tournament in Spain and pocketed $4 million.
Bryson DeChambeau was second and got $2.2 million and third place was Brooks Koepka, who earned $1.5 million.
Sebastian Munoz was fourth and got $1 million.
The least anyone made in Michigan was $18,000, while the worst scores of the LIV earned $296,000.
The PGA doesn’t have the money to compete with LIV, not for tournament purses or legal fees.
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