The Your-Name-Here 400 & More Friday Sports Happenings


The Your-Name-Here 400

There's way too much to talk about today, but I'm leading it off with the Jim Stewart 400 because I think the folks at Diageo have been shortchanged because of the fight and the Derby -- and maybe even the Mavericks getting schooled.

If you haven't heard about it, the NASCAR Nextel Cup race this weekend is actually named after a fan. The folks at Diageo, who bought the race for their Crown Royal brand, had an essay contest in which 15,000 fans wrote in their favorite life moment worthy of toasting with the drink. Jim Stewart from Houma, La., won the contest and spoke with us about the idea of being the first fan to have a sporting event named after him.

They're doing it again next year, so if you want in, go to the Crown Royal Web site.

Kentucky Derby

I've digested plenty on the business of the Kentucky Derby and the best story of the event

every year is always the story of the underdog, or in my terms, the measly amount a couple of the owners spend to buy a horse that reaches the sport's grandest stage.

For yet another year, the guy who buys the most horses at the highest prices, Sheikh Mohammed in Dubai, who has $1 billion in horses, will once again not win in Louisville in the first weekend of May. Meanwhile, three people -- Jamie Sanders, Donnie Kelly and Gary Logsdon -- paid $9,000 for Teuflesberg, which is in Saturday's race.

OK, so the horse isn't the favorite. But Curlin is. Sure, the horse sold for a reported $3.5 million, but the original purchase price was $57,000 and in past years, we've seen Funny Cide (original purchase price: $75,000) and Smarty Jones (original purchase price: $17,500) take it to Belmont for a run at the Triple Crown.

Unfortunately, the way the business operates, the future of the Triple Crown for an underdog owner -- especially in the post Barbaro days -- looks like this: average Joe and his friends buy a horse for $50,000. The horse wins the Derby and the Preakness and then a decision will have to be made. Retire the horse immediately for breeding purposes or sell it to someone else who is willing to race the horse in the Belmont and take out the insurance to do so.

For my pick, I'll take Circular Quay. Call me a genius on Monday.

Boxing vs. Ultimate Fighting

They're doing it again next year, so if you want in, go to the Crown Royal Web site.

Kentucky Derby

I've digested plenty on the business of the Kentucky Derby and the best story of the event

Oscar De La Hoya
Oscar De La Hoya

I think the fact that people are saying that this weekend's De La Hoya-Mayweather Fight might "save boxing" is really dumb. Boxing has been dead for a while, save for the once or twice a year where the sport gets the front pages. So the fact that this could do anything for the sport is ridiculous.

The natural word on this is to say that Ultimate Fighting and the International Fight League is the next big thing. It is from an audience standpoint. And while the boxing fight this weekend has tons of big sponsors, I just find it funny that these mixed martial arts guys can't sign sponsorship deals with blue chip companies to save their lives. And before the Ultimate Fighting people come after me, I know your biggest sponsor is Xyience energy drink -- that's not a blue chipper.

Vitaminwater Ads

While we wait for Glaceau and its vitaminwater brand to be acquired by Coca-Cola, we might as well look at two of their ads that I've just seen for the first time. The first one is horrendous. It features David Ortiz and Brian Urlacher and is totally not funny.

The second is actually really good. It features Tracy McGrady in a sheep-tossing tournament reminiscent of ESPN's World's Strongest Man Contest. I love how they pronounce vitaminwater. Hilarious. Especially the part where it says at the bottom, "No Sheep Were Harmed."

The King of Kong

I had a chance to go to the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City this week and I saw the best documentary I've ever seen in my life. It's called "The King of Kong" and it's about these two guys -- including ultimate gamer Billy Mitchell -- who are battling over the right to call himself the best in the world at Donkey Kong. If it's at one of the theatres near you this summer, you have to see this.

Crocs is Unbelievable

I never thought that Under Armour was a fad. Crocs -- total complete fad. No way it lasts until the summer of 2007. But after yesterday's first quarter earnings and yearly guidance, it looks like these things have a tremendous run ahead of them. And its run in the market today indicates the Street agrees.

News & Notes

John Facenda's son continues with his lawsuit spree… Uniform reporter Paul Lukas adds on Page 2 that the Braves called up Jarrod Saltalamacchia, now the longest name on a Major League Baseball jersey… Brian Urlacher's vitaminwater hat sold for $15,100… Going to the BCS title game cost the University of Florida $155,000, according to the Tampa Tribune.

Questions? Comments?