INTERLUDE: The 2018 Horse Racing Media and Friends Royal Rumble

Sunday may not seem like a landmark day, but on that night, the 2018 Royal Rumble will take place. Yep, this is a wrestling/horse racing cross-post. Hide the children.

Anyway, because I’m constantly looking for cutting-edge ideas that will revolutionize the business/humor my colleagues and I, I have assembled a 30-man field for the first-ever Horse Racing Media and Friends Royal Rumble. This field is comprised of friends (and, in one case, family) in the business who fulfill one of the following criteria.

1) Is a wrestling fan.

2) Is a friend of mine.

3) Can take a joke.

This article acts as a cheat sheet to get to know the entrants a bit better, complete with reasons on why each of them will inevitably be thrown over the top rope and eliminated from the match. The list of entrants is largely randomized, with one or two exceptions you’ll understand when you read it.

1) Andrew Champagne
Credentials: Web producer for DRF, handicapper for The Saratogian, 128 winners at a single Saratoga meeting
Most likely to be eliminated when: Someone refuses to be impressed by his “best handicapper never to win a Beemie Award” gimmick.

2) Pete Aiello
Credentials: Gulfstream Park track announcer, antics expert
Most likely to be eliminated when: He’s unable to accommodate an event that doesn’t have an eight-minute post drag and misses his scheduled entry point.

3) John DaSilva
Credentials: Former New York Post racing writer
Most likely to be eliminated when: A Champagne hurls him over the top rope due to the $70 debt he owes for a Kentucky Derby future bet.

4) Jay Privman
Credentials: DRF writer
Most likely to be eliminated when: He gets distracted by a whiff of King Umberto’s pizza someone snuck into the arena.

5) Todd Schrupp
Credentials: TVG host
Most likely to be eliminated when: WWE Hall of Famer Jerry “The King” Lawler returns to finish what he started.

6) Frank Mirahmadi
Credentials: NYRA/Monmouth Park track announcer
Most likely to be eliminated when: The next entrant takes advantage of decades of pent-up anger due to Frank’s impressions.

7) D. Wayne Lukas
Credentials: Hall of Fame trainer, and we need a surprise entrant somewhere (this IS the Rumble, after all)
Most likely to be eliminated when: A sheik calls and gives him $10 million for a sale happening RIGHT NOW.

8) Nick Hines
Credentials: Horse racing jack-of-all-trades (owner, former trainer, TVG host)
Most likely to be eliminated when: His further attempts to channel Hulk Hogan go horribly wrong.

9) Dan Illman
Credentials: DRF writer, DRFTV host/producer
Most likely to be eliminated when: He’s rendered immobile by accidentally swallowing the Great Muta mist he snuck into the ring.

10) Ed DeRosa
Credentials: Churchill Downs/TwinSpires writer/handicapper
Most likely to be eliminated when: He fails to realize grids are not effective weapons in this setting.

11) Matt Carothers
Credentials: TVG host/analyst
Most likely to be eliminated when: Someone messes up his hair and drains his competitive mojo. (NOTE: Ren Carothers would be far more fearsome in this setting, but she’s currently in foal.)

12) Danny Kovoloff
Credentials: TVG marketing guru
Most likely to be eliminated when: Someone is not impressed by the photos of his nine hundred cats.

13) Bradley Weisbord
Credentials: Owner/bloodstock agent
Most likely to be eliminated when: Everyone in the Rumble (including the people that have not come out yet) teams up to toss him out for being the first person to publicly suggest a Breeders’ Cup Derby in 2014.

14) Joe Nevills
Credentials: DRF breeding writer, fellow wrestling degenerate, friend-enabler
Most likely to be eliminated when: Depression sets in upon realizing that the Rumble is taking place on the site of Mount Pleasant Meadows.

15) Sam Hollingsworth
Credentials: The Saratogian handicapper
Most likely to be eliminated when: Fatigue sets in, given that he’s been chasing around a baby for a year.

16) Tony Podlaski
Credentials: Saratoga press box empresario/sergeant-at-arms
Most likely to be eliminated when: Pedro the Press Box Masterchef shows up with hot dogs.

17) Darin Zoccali
Credentials: TVG key accounts manager/handicapper
Most likely to be eliminated when: Someone yanks on his hair, revealing he’s been wearing a wig all this time.

18) @shamiamnot
Credentials: Twitter barbarian, Beemie Awards contributor
Most likely to be eliminated when: A hit squad hired by Jeff Ruby and/or the “Bring Chrome Home” loonies takes him out on his way to the ring.

19) Norm Casse
Credentials: Trainer
Most likely to be eliminated when: He’s compromised by a temper tantrum spurred by TVG’s latest “man crush” list not including him.

20) Andy Serling
Credentials: NYRA host/handicapper
Most likely to be eliminated when: He’s thrown into a gold rail at ringside (which causes him to bet against himself in next year’s edition).

21) Justin Horowitz
Credentials: TVG key accounts manager/handicapper
Most likely to be eliminated when: He realizes he can bet against himself on the exchange.

22) Dave Champagne
Credentials: Father of the scribe
Most likely to be eliminated when: He’s overcome by an attack of sheer indifference to this endeavor.

23) Mike Joyce
Credentials: TVG host/analyst
Most likely to be eliminated when: He’s turned away from the ring on the grounds of looking nothing like his Twitter avatar.

24) Tom Quigley
Credentials: Santa Anita simulcast host/VIP liaison
Most likely to be eliminated when: He’s ganged up on by the East Coast-based competitors for his “West is best” belief.

25) Jose Contreras
Credentials: TVG host/analyst
Most likely to be eliminated when: Trauma sets in upon realizing he’s on the wrong side of the cheese/no cheese debate.

26) Caleb Keller
Credentials: TVG host/analyst
Most likely to be eliminated when: Someone yanks on one of his skinny ties and uses it to hurl him into the third row.

27) Jason Beem
Credentials: BARN host, Beemie Awards creator
Most likely to be eliminated when: Someone outdoes him in a “salad dance” dance-off.

28) Gino Buccola
Credentials: World-class handicapper/podcast host
Most likely to be eliminated when: He realizes the Dodgers, Lakers, or USC Trojans are on.

29) Dave Weaver
Credentials: TVG host/analyst, creator of the Ice Cold Exacta
Most likely to be eliminated when: Todd Schrupp sticks around and heckles him throughout the match, allowing someone else to sneak up from behind and throw him out.

30) Andy Asaro
Credentials: Horseplayer advocate
Most likely to be eliminated when: He throws himself out in protest upon realizing the takeout of the event is incredibly high (hey, we have to make money on this somehow).

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