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!