My Thoughts on the Tempest in a Tea Pot

The less said about it the better. That was my initial instinct upon hearing about Jonathon’s disqualification from this year’s National Horseplayers’ Championship.

But two days later, this tempest in a teapot is still going, and I owe it to my listeners/readers to say something. I had originally looked forward to having JK himself on the show. I was going to make him channel his inner Hugh Grant by asking him simply, “What were you thinking?” and let the conversation flow from there.

But there wasn’t enough left to say on the topic to justify the air time. He messed up; there’s not more to add to his official statement on the topic. He wanted to be in two places at once – and as I joke on the show all the time, that’s a problem we haven’t figured out just yet. He didn’t want to make excuses, and he fully accepts the very fair consequences of his disqualification. (sidenote to JK: if you ever have trouble reading/interpreting rules in the future I know a certain NYT-bestselling author you can ask for advice).

He understands that if you break the rules, you get DQ’d. Hell, it’s happened to him before, when he didn’t meet his minimums at the 2018 Kentucky Derby Challenge. This may be too subtle a point for the haters to comprehend but there is a massive difference between breaking/working to unfairly change rules to give you an advantage and breaking the rules because you are a dope who made an error.

We know too many people in the contest world who have tried the former. In JK’s case, I can assure you it was the latter. (My biggest belly laugh in this whole mess so far came when someone suggested JK had an unfair edge because he could look at the horses in the paddock at Gulfstream; when it comes to horseflesh, Jonathon can remember which end bites and which end kicks, but that’s about it).

At some stage on Twitter, JK referenced me as his “partner in crime.” That led some to believe that I was running bets for him at Bally’s! If you can tell me how I managed that while doing nearly 20 hours on air with the great Steve Byk, please let me know. JK and I are great friends and occasional betting partners, but I had zero to do with this ill-conceived plan. He was being metaphorical about the journey we are on together in this game.

Speaking of that journey, I know that we are nothing without the support of horseplayers. And I do believe that while the NHC event can be improved, it’s still a fun event that I look forward to, the closest thing we have to a horseplayer convention. I missed the 2021 event (rescheduled for August) because it was Travers weekend and I was in Saratoga. If I had it to do over, I would have gone to the NHC. For me, it’s a chance to accomplish several things: reconnect with old friends, meet new folks, work with Steve Byk, and see our audience in person.

In an infamous incident, JK once stayed out too late at one his brother’s concerts in Vegas (yes, in Vegas) and slept through our scheduled pod. I am still waiting for the promised apology bottle of Lagavulin 16. He wants to be there for everybody but he’s not perfect. That doesn’t change the fact that he’s one of the most devoted horseplayers I know and wants the best for our community.

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12 comments
  • To ptf/ jk. 1) Really hard to believe that jk didn’t know the rules. Did he really think “at the time” that he wasn’t breaking the rules or is he just saying that to make it look less sinister? 2) When did he purchase the ticket to Miami / Fort Lauderdale / west palm beach airport ? 3) What’s the name of his runner? 4) Why did he tell the nhc people that he needed a c19 accommodation? Does not seem credible when subsequently flew to south Florida and then was in a high density area at gulfstream. Thank you in advance for your answers. — “Current” ItmPlusGuy

  • He got DQ’d, it’s over. The people keeping it going have a vendetta or score to settle with JK over god knows what.

  • What I find really strange is that it was such a big deal for him to see the Florida race.Neither of the horses running were proven to be superstars. As of now one could be,the other definitely not. This was not Affirmed vs. Alydar.

  • While I agree this entire thing is hilariously overblown, referencing “the haters” here is cheugy af PTF (even if the shoe fits).

    He did something stupid. He got appropriately punished. I was tired of the story as soon as I heard it. Page turned.

  • Well written, but you’re too close to JK to be anywhere near objective. A more thorough response might have included a suggested punishment and an example of his “community” attributes.

  • Playing devils advocate here: There are a few more possible advantages gained from actually being at the track, especially on a big day like Pegasus day. One, mentioned in the article from pastthewire, is what if a horse takes a spill in the paddock, the broadcast doesn’t show or mention it, and the horse doesn’t scratch. Another I can think of is a bit more nefarious and absolutely not accusing JK of ever being someone who would do this… The chances of JK attaining inside info from someone in person, connected to a horse go through the roof at the track. Now obviously tips happen all the time and phones are a thing but I think you can see my point of how the tournament might want to discourage that kinda of access. Either way, JK owned up to making a dumb mistake and I personally don’t believe he had any ill intent.

  • Pete,

    Thanks for putting something out there, you do owe it to your readers. As for JK, I totally get it. I once had my wife take my visiting from out-of-town parents out to dinner so I could attend a World Series game. A debt I can never repay (as a long-suffering Phillies fan). A silly mistake, I’m sure he won’t have it happen again. Let’s all move on……

  • I personally know JK I believe he would not have done anything to cheat. Cheating is a very serious allegation and a cheater he is not. BUT I do believe that his actions were serious considering his experience at NHC, his current position at FOX and his reputation as a rules advocate at BCBC etc. I know him and love him but what he did was a straight up breach of the rules and a bit arrogant. Saying this if i had made the money he had in the last 12 months on the ponies I might have done the same thing if the party was good enough in Florida! We all not perfect! JK just own up and be sorry and lets all move on! JK WTF were you thinking! LOL

  • Yes JK made a mistake but one that he should’ve been aware of after many times qualifying for the NHC. This wasn’t his first rodeo. If he was near the lead on the tournament board does he leave and go to FLA? His prior twitter posts leading up to his apology made this even worse. Sometimes it’s best to remain quiet.

  • Thanks, Pete, for your insights. You know what I think already. I remain a fan and loyal listener of ITM. I’ve made my share of boneheaded moves. Oh yeah, reminder: I paid off JK’s Laga 16 this year.

  • Who is the bestselling author ?
    Why should paddock inspection as a possible reason for the rule induce belly laughs ?
    I understand Petom feels he must address it, but he will never ditch Kinch. Kinch is the Golden Goose, baby.

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