Mike Francesa Mike Francesa throws a free hat into the audience at th start of his radio show. People attend the WFAN’s Mike Francesa Summer Send-Off show at Bar Anticipation in Lake Como, NJ on August 23, 2019. Bara190823e

Once upon a time Mike Francesa and Bill Parcells were very close, ughkay?

They had a very unique relationship back when they were both the faces of New York sports. So much so that the two went into a horse racing partnership together.

The Sports Pope revealed this on his latest BetRivers podcast after discussing the “horrific” injury of racehorse Maple Leaf Mel last weekend in Saratoga. The horse, owned by former New York Giants and Jets coach Parcells, was leading the field in the $500,000 Test at the race course in Saratoga Springs Saturday when she sustained a catastrophic injury to her leg. She was later euthanized.

Parcells has a bunch of horses himself these days, but he used to co-own horses with Francesa. Francesa claimed that the NFL put the kibosh on their partnership.

“He and I got into it together, and then when he came to the Jets, they felt we needed to split up because they thought it was a conflict of interest,” he said. “The NFL did. So, we split the stable then.”

The pair had horses in the early 1990s together at the August Dawn Farm. Parcells has kept the farm under that name and runs it since then. While Francesa is no longer in business with the 81-year-old former NFL head coach, his knowledge on horse racing, and particularly Parcells’ horses, is pretty extensive.

What happened to Parcells’ horse is certainly tragic, considering the injury was so catastrophic that they decided that Maple Leaf Mel needed to be euthanized. Francesa claimed that the three-year-old thoroughbred was about 20 yards from reaching the finish line before the injury occurred.

In the grand scheme of things, Francesa’s offhand comment about him and Parcells owning horses together is not like him. During his career in sports radio, Francesa was known to name-drop the names of famous sports people like he was reading a phone book. Perhaps he had the foresight to sway callers from any potential prank calls about him, Parcells and some horses.

[The Mike Francesa Podcast via Elite Sports NY]

About Sam Neumann

Since the beginning of 2023, Sam has been a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. A 2021 graduate of Temple University, Sam is a Charlotte native, who currently calls Greenville, South Carolina his home. He also has a love/hate relationship with the New York Mets and Jets.