Kentucky football Q&A: Tom Leach

jclay@herald-leader.comOctober 22, 2011 

With University of Kentucky basketball and football creeping up on its overlap phase, we decided to check in with the Voice of the Wildcats, Tom Leach, to get his take on football's troubles, multi-tasking and his beloved Thoroughbreds.

Question: With the football team struggling, are there any tricks of the trade for keeping the listener interested?

Answer: You probably work more on making sure to keep the energy level up. In a game like the last one (at South Carolina), with such a lopsided score, you want to stay focused and try to keep that energy level up.

Cawood (Ledford) and Ralph (Hacker) talked about having stories ready for those days. You hope they don't come very often and I've been fortunate that they haven't come that often for me, but having stories ready just in case. The South Carolina game we referenced a couple of big performances that had happened there, like Moe Williams' big game and the Thursday night game that turned around the 1993 season. We talked about some longer-range things in college football and the big games that night.

But I've been more fortunate in that regard than Cawood and Ralph.

Q: How do you deal with the impending overlap between football and basketball games?

A: It's kind of crazy. It's challenging from a time-management standpoint, making sure you hit all the marks. With the overlap, inevitably there's one of those a year. This year there are two days (Nov. 19 and 26) when we have basketball and football games on the same day. In terms of other stuff there is to do, the radio show and things at home, whatever we all have to do in our routine, and then you may have three games to prepare for in a given week."

Q: Which sport takes precedence as far as you doing the game?

A: As far as I know it will be football. Cawood did that. Ralph did that. You finish up the season with one before you start the other.

Q: Your radio show in Louisville is being picked up in Lexington, correct?

A: That's right. It starts on the 31st (on WLAP-AM 630). It moves from noon to 9 a.m. For some reason they didn't want to take off the first hour of Rush (Limbaugh) for me. (Laughs.) We started about a year ago, around the start of football last season, and those who've been listening to it online or with the podcasts have been asking when we're coming to Lexington. We're excited about that.

Q: Being a horse racing fanatic, I know you are happy that UK is home on Nov. 5, so you can at least sneak away Friday to the Breeders' Cup, correct?

A: Yes, I'm looking forward to going on Friday. In the past it seems like there was always a basketball game on Friday ... . There's not a basketball game this year, so I'll get to see one of the days of the racing. In terms of time management, there's a term in handicapping called speed handicapping, meaning you go by the speed figures. For me, speed handicapping means the five minutes I'll be looking at the (Daily Racing) Form.

Q: Any horses you like for Breeders' Cup?

A: From a story-line standpoint, the Larry Jones filly (Havre de Grace) running against the boys in the Classic is a neat story line. You had Zenyatta last year in the Classic and beating the boys the year before. Goldikova going again in the Mile is a big story.

From a handicapping standpoint, Bob Baffert has a 2-year-old in the Juvenile that will probably not be the favorite. It's a horse named Drill that could be a good bet.

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