On Heels of Triple Crown Success, Imus and Francesa Eye Breeders' Cup Bets

On Heels of Triple Crown Success, Imus and Francesa Eye Breeders' Cup Bets
Photo: Associated Press
Radio/television personality Don Imus.
WFAN radio sports personality Mike Francesa said on Thursday's syndicated "Imus in the Morning" show that the National Thoroughbred Racing Association has offered Francesa $80,000 in charity wagers for the Oct. 27 Breeders' Cup--$10,000 for each of the eight championship races -- similar to the promotion that the NTRA worked out with Imus and Francesa for the Preakness and Belmont Stakes.

Francesa made the announcement shortly after saying he was mailing Imus a check for $70,000, made out to the Imus Ranch, the charity that gives children with cancer an opportunity to spend part of their summers "working" on a New Mexico cattle ranch. The $70,000 came from a combination of charitable donations and profits from winning bets on the Preakness and Belmont.

However, Keith Chamblin, vice president of industry relations and marketing for the NTRA, said NTRA officials met with Francesa the day after the Belmont but that his comments on the Imus show were premature. "We definitely look forward to participating in some type of promotion for charity with Imus and Francesa leading into the Breeders' Cup, and we just need to sit down and figure out what that promotion will be," Chamblin said.


The Triple Crown promotion started prior to the Kentucky Derby, when NTRA commissioner Tim Smith appeared on "Imus in the Morning" -- a popular morning show with 10 million listeners on 77 radio stations throughout the country and also shown on MSNBC on cable. Smith offered $30,000 to the Imus Ranch from NTRA Charities, $10,000 for each Triple crown race, with the hope that Imus and his brother, Fred, would each pick a horse before each race. Following Monarchos' Derby win, Imus and Francesa talked of wagering the $10,000 in the Preakness, and Imus said he would replace the money to charity if the bets were losers. Any winnings would also go to the Imus Ranch. Francesa added $5,000 to the pot, and his $15,000 in wagers (including $5,000 to win on Point Given) netted $23,146.

With additional money from the New York Racing Association, Imus, Francesa, and frequent Imus guest Bo Dietl, the bankroll swelled to $50,000 for the Belmont. Francesa wagered $25,000 to win on Point Given in the Belmont, then added numerous exacta, trifectas, and superfectas, and the net result, he said, was more than $18,000 in profits. Francesa's wagering success has led Imus to refer to him as the "sports god."

Imus reportedly spurned an offer for a charity wager on the Travers Stakes in August, a race that could include Point Given, then said the NTRA has received a million dollars in publicity from the promotion for its original $30,000 contribution.

On Thursday morning's show, Imus and Francesa discussed the Triple Crown at length. Francesa, who owns Thoroughbreds with former NFL coach Bill Parcells, said "Point Given ran an absolutely brilliant race. You know that he's a helluva horse."

At the end of the segment, Imus asked Francesa the date of the Breeders' Cup, and when told it wasn't until late October said, "Let's get some horses and have a race now."

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