Thursday, May 08, 2008

Studies, Committees, Recommendations....Whatever happened to DOING?!

I must admit, I am worn out trying to keep up with all the knee jerk (emphasis on jerk) responses to Eight Belles breakdown. PETA, the 24 hour news cycle pundits, the feeding frenzy on the web, and now the Jockey Club proposal...
The attention and highlighting of legitimate safety concerns this tragedy has produced should be a call to action. But, alas, in our modern society, action is met with studies, endless meetings, recommendations that sound great but rarely see the funding or the stewardship to see them through to actual honest to god implementation. What ever happened to getting things done? Isn't it brutally obvious that Polytrack would help. Isn't it something that should be mandated at all Triple Crown tracks (as a starter) in a very definitive time period? What about stricter drug testing? What about limits on the use of the whip? Easy and obvious, expensive perhaps, requiring the will to enforce, certainly but all doable, not really debatable steps that really don't require endless meetings.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Finger pointing is the easy thing to do, but if you love horses, it's the wrong thing to do

Larry Jones has been put on trial and in many circles has been convicted. The boneheads at PETA, who through their misinformation and attempt to capitalize on the tragedy of Eight Belles breakdown were first on the bandwagon and on a local radio talk show on Monday, actually condemned all of Thoroughbred Racing as something that should be abolished and deemed all participants as cruel and greedy. Quite a departure from reality and one reason why their organization is the butt of late night tv jokesters and is marginalized and characterized as extremism. Now, accusations are flying at Jones saying the filly, at over 17 hands, could only have gotten so big through the use of steroids, a charge he has flatly denied. It is too bad there is not a more reasoned discussion going on that might actually benefit the sport, make it safer for the animals and where some good might emerge from this situation. What about mandating polytrack? What about testing for steroids? Why isn't there some reasoned discourse going on? Well, the answer is there has been some of this going on. Go over to this site and you can learn what the industry is doing to help reduce these catastrophic breakdowns. Nevertheless, accidents happen. On the field of competition in what is a somewhat a dangerous sport, as are many sports, there can be fatal consequences. And make no mistake, Thoroughbred Racing is a business and like in any business, there are unscrupulous people. But it is wrong to condemn and mislabel an entire sport over a single high profile accident. Why are so many so quick to point the finger of blame than to pitch in and support solutions and proposals that work to preserve and grow this great sport? There once was a great President of the United States, when asked about his brash plan to land a man on the moon and safely return them to earth, answered we do this not because it is easy, but because it is hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to the challenge is how do we make this great sport, even greater by making sure it is as safe as possible and that it is a fair and level playing field. Stop pointing fingers and tossing out accusations, be part of the solution.

I'm Baaaack

Okay, I have been gone almost a year. Out of the blogoshphere and barely keeping up with the ponies. But with Spring and the Keeneland meet and the excitement of the Triple Crown, well, I can't help but toss my hat back in the ring. I am going to compose myself a little before entering the fray of the Derby but enter it I will because here in the BlueGrass, the gauntlet has been thrown down and the game we all love is being convicted of some unbelievable atrocities by people who are so uninformed as to be laughable. But in this 24hr news cycle they get press and stories these days don't even have to have a shred of truth to get "reported". So, get ready to anyone who may still check this blog and even if no one does, I get to vent, rant, promote and gush about one of the greatest sports on earth, and surely one of the most magnificent animals ever to grace us with their power and beauty, thoroughbreds!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Blinkers Off...signing off

Not that many still check my dormant blog but although my interest in Thoroughbred racing remains strong, the demands of a busy life have left me no time to post meaningful content or rambling observations or even comment on my latest losing wager. It is a busy time just making it through my daughter's 2 soccer teams, horse lessons, my newfound running "hobby" (completed the Derby Festival Half Marathon and going full speed ahead with training and running in the Columbus Marathon this fall) and my son has finalized his college selection and will be a graduating high school in two short weeks. So, while I do miss posting (and really) miss most is reading the other blogs regularly, I feel it would be a disservice to the TBA to continue with my blog. I will most likely leave the content up, if nothing more than for fond memories and maybe a return to posting someday. But for now I am signing off and riding into the sunset of my foray into the blogosphere. If you stumble upon this blog, please check the TBA for some really great content, insighful posts and a great group of passionate Throughbred racing enthusiasts.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Coldest Spring I ever spent....

Was without a doubt freezing at Keeneland yesterday. The best thing about the day was the absolutely choclaty goodness that the Nestle Hot Cocoa machine was dispensing. The seats were cold, the snow at one point was sideways and crazy, and my brain too frozen to handicap so I shut down and let my daughter and her horse-crazy friend pick and they won 4 of 10 but I mistakenly cost them their biggest payout by entering the wrong! So, we felt lucky to hit the exits down about $32 and with no discernable frostbite. I refused to take any pictures yesterday as I kept my gloved hands in my pockets. At one point I begged the girls to leave after the 9th but they insisted they were tough and sat there for the 10th! At one point between the 9th and 10th it was blowing and snowing and I retreated to a glassed and heated enclosure just up the steps from the Grand Stand seats they were in and looked left and right and not another soul was still in those seats! The announced attendance was almost 17,000 but you had to really look for them even with crowds inside, I think many people, like my son and his friends bailed out after 3 races (which is about the time I could not longer shrug off the cold and started running back and forth between a heated sanctuary and our frozen tundra seating.) The funniest thing I heard all day was when I suggested we trek down to the rail for the 10th amid the heaviest snow of the day and someone shouted "I've got Rudolph across the board in this one". Anyway, we will be back late in the meet and I may slip out for some late races during the week but I just wanted to post the fact that there are two hardcore Thoroughbred fans among the younger generation as my daughter and her friend can attest. They were all smiles and happy as they could be the entire race card! I guess Virginia, there is a Santa Claus and he lives at Keeneland.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Kristmas in Kentucky

That's right, Keeneland (ooh new web design too!) opens today and yours truly makes his annual opening day pilgrimage to the mecca of horse racing. It has gone from 80 degrees this past Monday to a crisp 28 degrees this morning. Not great for race fans but the horses are sure to love it!
And the Spring Meet looks to have once again drawn the top jockeys and trainers right outta the gate on opening day.
A couple of interesting races shaping up and one with some Derby implications is the Grade 3 Transylvania Stakes is Sedgefield who ran a good second in the Lane's End to Hard Spun, is hoping the $93,000 win here will help propel him to the Derby. With Bejarano up, he is an 8/5 early morning favorite here.
And Funny Cide cruises back to Kentucky in an Allowance Race in the 8th.
Overall, the fields look large, the payouts should be good and here's to healthy, fun but chilly day at the track!
(Handicapping note: I will only share that info if I win! But past performances by me in this area indicate you are not missing anything).