Sunday, May 23, 2010

Change Needs to Happen

I believe in tradition, despite my young age. I've always believe that dirt and turf should be the only two surfaces in racing. I believe that a great horse should push the envelope and take risks before they can be called great. However, there not everything can stay the same, all industries, all sports must learn to accept change and to adapt in order to survive.

The Triple Crown, the Kentucky Derby, Preakness, and Belmont is the focus point of the media for racing a Triple Crown winner is just what this sport needs to put itself back into the public spotlight. That cannot happen with the way the Triple Crown is currently arranged and the horses, which have disappointed us for 32 years have made it abundantly clear The Crown needs to change.

Our horses are not built like they used to be, that much is true. Even throw backs like Curlin and Hard Spun fell due to distance, inexperience, or the overall rigors of the Triple Crown. Big Brown a phenom of a horse could not achieve racing's highest honor. Point Given, a monster of a horse also fell in the Derby, as did the plucky Afleet Alex. If these horses could not get it done, I ask of you who do you think will? As of now we would need to resurrect Secretariat in order to get what racing so desperately needs.

The Kentucky Derby is currently a rodeo show. It is often that not the best horse will win, but the horse with the best trip will reap the glory. I would like to ask you, what Triple Crown winner had to overcome a field of 19 other rivals to win the Derby. Not Secretariat, not Affirmed, not Seattle Slew. Sir Barton led a field of 12 horses when he won his Derby en rout to the Triple Crown. A field size reduced to 14 horses would take away the rodeo style and allow the best horse to shine through.

The spacing between the three races also poses a problem. Many horses coming form the Derby do typically do well in the Preakness. In my opinion this is due from the excitement and overall adrenaline high the horses have after the Kentucky Derby. The Belmont is where the horse starts to feel the fatigue set in and will normally start to buckle.

My next suggestion would be to shake up the order of the Triple Crown, starting with the Preakness then adding the Derby and Belmont. Who thinks that Sam Riddle would've been more likely to enter Man O War in the Preakness then come back for the Derby? His main problem with the Derby was the fact that he'd be asking his horse to run 10 furlongs so early in his career. I'm sure many trainers would be thankful to have the chance to test their horses at the 9.5 furlongs first instead of trying to make the jump from 9 to 1o furlongs.

I say why not add a week in between each race, making the Preakness and Derby three weeks apart and the Derby and Belmont 4 weeks apart. This could attract a solid field for all three jewels. Preakness starters would be more incline to run in the Derby due to more time and less hoopla to deal with in the first jewel and those coming from the Derby would get a months rest before the daunting 12 furlongs of the test of the champions.

I know how many people want to stick with tradition, but even in that area, their argument still has some holes. The Triple Crown has not always been Derby, Preakness Belmont. The Belmont has not always been 12 furlongs nor has it always been run at Belmont Park. Up until the 70's the Triple Crown was a chameleon. Our first Triple Crown winner does not have an asterisk next to his name, just because he ran against 11 rivals and won the Belmont at 11 furlongs, which no doubt made his task easier.

I am generally not a fan of change, I am a fan of tradition, but I know what racing needs right now is to be put back into the spotlight. A Triple Crown is the biggest media series racing has, not even the Breeders Cup can match it. Other sports have undergone changes, Football and Baseball have by adding games to their seasons, making it easier for records to be broken, making it easier for people to achieve new heights.

Changing and adapting is how every sport, how every business survives. Horse racing is not different. The general public has no qualms with us changing the Triple Crown. Those who watch the Triple Crown for fun do not know the difference. All they will know is that racing has a Triple Crown winner. All they will know is that there is a horse for them to become excited about. The only thing holing us back, the only thing ever holding us back has been ourselves. Something needs to give, something needs to change, or this sport we all love so much, will be no more than a distant memory.


  1. Even Wayne Lukas, the biggest advocate for change of the Triple Crown series admits that a Triple Crown winner would make an impact for just a brief amount of time. Within a month or so the general public will forget it.

    His reasoning and sorry but I think he's much more astute and in tune with the game, is that it will keep the fields together and give people a rooting interest, similar to other sports.

    The Triple Crown would be diluted, even those of us who have been in the game decades know it. What we are looking at is developing a group of horses to follow throughout the spring and into the summer and fall races. Not to water it down to create an easier road to a Triple Crown.

    A Triple Crown will do relatively little to enhance or fix the game. Those of 'us' who really ARE in the game know it. The fans are the ones who think it will be a fixall.

    It's going to take a lot more than a Triple Crown winner to fix 'our' game. It's going to take a powerful person in the mold of a Peter Uberoth, a Roger Goodell etc. Someone who can get things done in the political arena and with television contracts for starters. A Triple Crown is the biggest thing in racing for the people IN racing who have a potential Triple Crown horse. The rest of racing? It really won't matter that much.
    The general public as you call them are who we are trying to attract, get them in as fans and get them primarily to gamble.
    The Monmouth meet will probably do that, look at the increase in attendance and almost double the handle of last year. That drives the game. The three day meet may be a trend, it may work. Hollywood Park cancelled it's Wednesday card for lack of entries, the last two days at Churchill drew 6-7 horses per race, if Saratoga is affected adversely who knows what will happen. Sadly this is a one year experiment for Monmouth and will make no lasting impact, it may even be negative because it seems to be hurting several tracks already.
    There IS no quick fix, no miracle cure and the Triple Crown being manipulated to create a winner won't do it. THAT is not the intent of altering it at all.
    It's a well thought out premise on your part and all good intentions I'm sure. But it's just a bit naive and simplistic.

  2. The Secretariat movie is coming out this fall.

    People will be plenty excited about horse racing next year.

    I read Secretariat had a retro 130 best Beyer. Lookin' at Lucky's Beyer at Preakness was 102.

    I don't want to dumb down the sport just to make the masses happy.

    We already do that too much, to our detriment...

  3. VFA,

    I don't remember the Seabusicut movie creating any lasting impact, nor the Ruffian movie. To change the TC for the good of the sport is not dumbing it down. I pointed out quiet a few areas prove that point. The TC has been ever changing until the seventies, which 30 or 40 years, is not that long of a time compared to the actual age of all three races. In fact if you look, for nearly 100 years the TC races weren't in any set order or distance. Do you think less of Sir Barton for winning the Belmont at 11 furlongs, or any less of the other TC winners who did not compete in 20 horse fields? What of the horses who ran in the Preakness first, are they not as good? In this day and age 3 races in seven weeks is also asking a lot of most horses. They would be averaging a race per a little over 2 weeks. The would still go all the distances, still be challenged.


    A short term window is all we need right now. I would rather have a short burst of attention than nothing at all. That short but very big burst would open doors that racing would need but walk through. Milk the winner of the TC for everything publicity wise.

    I respect Lukas as a horseman, but normally good horseman do not make good businessman. Now he could be an exception, but the fact that our sport is slowly slipping due to the lack of business perspective proves my point. A Triple Crown winner would present racing with the oppertunity to step up and claim the spotlight. I am not saying it's a long term fix, but if handled correctly that short window of fame could be used to steadily push racing back into the spotlight.

  4. DWL is a superb businessman. In fact when he first came up in the game that was the complaint, that people thought he was too much a businessman, too corporate.
    The man has a Masters degree, he created a product that made a lot of money from Converse.
    The biggest part of racing isn't being great with the horses, it's selling yourself, a product, goal and a dream. All the while managing money, horses, staff and schedules. That is the business side of the game. That is why people who think they are good horsemen can't make it in the game. That is why most racing jurisdictions now require an aspiring trainer to spend a year as an assistant before taking the trainers test and that test isn't just about horsemanship skills.
    Our sport? Actually the fans are the ones who think a triple crown is something that will fix the sport, like the others said. The sport sadly will never be what it was, it will need to exist in a format that works for today.
    This is an expensive business in a time of economic uncertainty. A lot of the big breeders, owners and so forth have taken it on the chin in the market and it is really tough.
    I read on another blog that part of the problem with this game and in my opinion a lot of other sports is the fans taking ownership without any of the risk. The fans in the old days would have never thought to tell racing how to run itself. I agree that this has caused more harm than good.
    Because, like you saying DWL isn't a good businessman? I'd say you are probably totally clueless what all goes into being successful in racing.
    The romance of the sport is gone forever and will never be revived. It is a business I think we all know it I think it is the fans who don't.
    LIke DWL and others have been saying, thank heavens for Zenyatta, she is our attention getter right now.

  5. Oh by the way? The format you're suggesting is almost verbatim what DWL suggested starting 4 or 5 years ago.

    Only like anon said it is not to get a triple crown winner. It's to keep horses like Lucky and Super Saver and Dublin staying in all three races and have people follow them to the Travers and the Breeders Cup. Like he said, a rooting interest.

  6. Hey, question for you. Do you even know the first thing about Lukas or any other TB race horse horsemanship? Do you even know anything about their business accumen? I doubt it seriously.
    It just cracks me up all the experts out there. Bet most of you can't even run your own lives.

  7. Dani,

    I say leave the Triple Crown spacing alone. The last three winners did the amazing...shouldn't the next one be equally amazing? By instituting your reduced Derby field point, the spacing will not need to be altered. The cream, as you said, would rise to the top.

    Now, I agree wholeheartedly with a change for the maximum Derby field to 14! That's the same as the Preakness. It is asinine that LOOKIN AT LUCKY had to start from the one hole, a post that wasn't even in line with the stretch. The auxiliary gate should be scrapped.

    AFFIRMED beat 10 in '78. SEATTLE SLEW's Derby field was 15 including him. SECRETARIAT defeated 12. Those are workable numbers. The longest shot in 'SLEW's Derby certainly could have been left out (he finished 10th); there were three in the "field" that year as well who could have been 50-1 or more who finished 6th, 12th, and last.

    Horses coming back to the Preakness after the Derby are the best at this time of year, even if they were also-rans in an unmanageable field like 'LUCKY was...that's why it's so hard for a new shooter to win.

    The order should not change. The Derby is biggest of the three races, it should always be first. Your proposed natural progression in distance is a point about just a 1/16 mile difference. That matters little running that far.

    I would institute a requirement for the Belmont Stakes to be contested only by horses that have started in one of the ultimate regional preps (Florida Derby, Arkansas Derby, SA Derby, Wood Memorial, Blue Grass, Illinois Derby), the Kentucky Derby and/or the Preakness. This would level the playing field, keeping fresh horses bred for a marathon from ruining Triple Crown bids.

    I get that you think a Triple Crown winner is what the sport needs. I tend to agree. Everyone knows MICHAEL JORDAN, MAGIC JOHNSON, LARRY BIRD, KOBE, and SHAQ, all play basketball and that the LAKERS and CELTICS are "name" teams. Likewise, NASCAR's polarizing stars over the last 10-15 years are JIMMY JOHNSON, DALE EARNHARDT, JR., and JEFF GORDON. That's the kind of branding horse racing needs. We need another SECRETARIAT to grace the cover of Sports Illustrated as Sportsman of the Year.

    But to shorten races, change the order of races, and/or change spacing of races would be tantamount to baseball pulling the fences in closer to home for an increase in home runs, basketball lowering the rim so that people who can't jump could dunk, and football shortening the field so the inept teams could score more often. The major league sports didn't add games so players could break records, it was to make more money! More games in MLB and NFL = ticket sales + concession revenue.

    Lastly, fringe horse racing fans don't watch the Triple Crown. They watch the Derby. That's all they know or care about. I searched far and wide for radio coverage of the Preakness on ESPN radio that was offered for the Derby...there was none. I was at my son's little league game last weekend before the grandmother told a player's parent she needed to run home to watch the Belmont. Of course, I was too glad to inform her it was the Preakness, what the approximate post time was which would allow her to see out the game, and why the race was so compelling. What horse racing needs to market is the entire Road to the Roses concept with the Triple Crown. Familiarity with the entrants is what will drive more people to the sport.

    Anon repeated what I've written about before and what's been printed or said in many racing outlets...we need a commissioner. Until then, a Triple Crown winner or three in this decade will suffice.

  8. George,

    If DWL is such a great business man then why not listen to what he said to do? If he knows his stuff then why not follow and trust him. BTW, I never said he wasn't, I said I wasn't sure if he was, and based on my experience with others involved with horses, I was incline to guess he was no different, though he may be an exception. My main point is not just to get a TC winner, it's the fact that getting the TCW will open a window attention the racing can use to push and sell racing even more to people. I'm sure NBC or ESPN would love to televise a TC winner and where they race.


    Where did I ever claim to be an expert. I blog, I write, I give my opinion based on the knowledge I have. I know my horses an in the buiness classes I've taken marketing seems to be the key point in all of them. A TC winner is our best shot to market the sport to attract new fans.


    They may have added the games to get more revenue, but don't you think it made it easier for those players to break the records that they broke? Why is it ok for other sports to change, but not us? I understand tradition to an extent, I am a fan of the tradition, but if tradition is not helping, then you need to change it. Your comparison to bringing the fences in could be used in the exact same way when talking about extending a season. They may not have made it as obvious as bringingt the fences in, but they did make it easier for the players to break records and gain attention for their sport.

  9. LDP,
    I think what some of the writers are saying is you say "our sport". Taking ownership of the game or that you are a part of the decision making process in some way. Not as a fan only but as an owner, trainer, jockey, etc.

    To say that knowing horses and taking a few classes can equate you with the likes of the Pletchers, Lukas', Baffert, Zito's of the game is ludicrous. These guys run huge outfits with very large numbers of employees, horses sub-contractors and clients. Nowhere is that comparable to high school classes or owning a non race horse or two at all. Even college classes and those with degrees from UK or UofA have to have the practical experience and it is usually years and years. I know a lot of kids who are in that field in college and most of them who wanted to be trainers eventually are switching to things like racing secretaries or stewards or PR guys because almost NO ONE comes out of school and is successful on their own. 30-40 years ago you could learn on the job but most assistants spend 7-10 years under a trainer before trying to break into the big time.

    Part of the problem is the TV contracts are split. The networks have to consider their audiences and even though NBC has been criticized, they are trying to reach the masses and have done a good job this year of televising the preps. ESPN/ABC? They got the contract for the Breeders Cup and frankly have almost ruined it.
    If they were truly interested in promoting interest in racing and not just holding a monopoly? They had the opportunity to televise pre-Derby activity, like the draw or the works or the breakfast at Churchill but decided that was aiding the competition. Actually viewership is up in the first two legs this year, now it will tail off.
    I agree that we need to change the timing. Not the distances though. As Wayne suggested, add the Travers as part of a series. But be ready for those who don't know the history of the sport to say we dumbed it down to create a buzz and then I'm pretty sure it will be forgotten in a few weeks.
    IF we have horses that stay on the track longer, run in all these big races that will please the fans, the casual fans, the gamblers and most of all those of us who want to run them in those races. I just think changing it for the sole goal of getting a Triple Crown winner is NOT what anyone in the game wants.

    Businessmen/women? Hah! Try to survive in this game NOT being a good one. The tax issues, collecting from owners, vet and farrier scheduling, organizing travel, stall applications, moving 30 or more horses around from meet to meet, ordering and paying for feed, payroll, claiming, workout schedules, dealing with agents and hiring jocks, buying horses and selling them, dealing with syndicates/individual owners and dealing with the media are more business duties than most supervisors deal with in a life time. I really think there is a huge misconception by non racing people as to what we actually do in this industry.
    Just like you assuming that because people you know aren't good businessmen means that some of the biggest people in the game aren't? That's a very wrong picture. The ones who aren't good businessmen are leaving the game because they can't survive it. Let alone stay at the top of it for decades.

  10. Helan,

    It is our sport. Without fans and bettors tracks would not have the revenu to even provide races. Without owners or trainers there would be nobody with the idea to even come up with racing. Without tracks there would be no place of significance to even stage some of the memorial battles we have seen. It is our sport because all of us keep it going in some way shape or form.

    I never said my classes equated me to the trainers who are the big guns, but I use what I have, which is credible, to form my opinions. I only watch horse racing, but I know my horses, I train my own horses, and show my own horses and even great trainers and riders on show circuts have shown me that business wise they are lacking. I have yet to be tested, but I believe I have the mind in order to succeed and believe I will do well at whatever I choose to do.

    I never said change the distances, I said swap the preakness and Derby, that way owners who are leary of running the full 10 furlongs may be more likely to enter. The races are what they are, I would not try and sugest that a change in distance is needed.

    At this point, IMO any media for our sport should be welcomed. We expect to be embraced with open arms and to be treated like baseball or football when we hold nowhere near the prestige in America right now. If and when we get back on our feed and start to gain more public attention then we can afford to be picky, as of now it's stupid to pick and choose. As of now we are the beggars and beggars can't be choosers.

  11. To me the show circuit is tantamount to the worst owners in racing. Most of those who are in it purely out of ego IMHO. There may be big money in it for trainers, who work with kids but there is no real business side to it. From what I remember back in the days when I did it. Plus having been in that facet of the equine industry it is like comparing apples to oranges. Even the smallest of race horse circuits there is lots of money floating around in purses, horseflesh, day rates and handle.

    I'm sure you will do well at whatever you choose, with training, experience and longevity in the given field someday you will succeed if you have the patience and willingless to listen, learn.

    As for me? I love certain sports, like show jumping or other spectator sports. However, if I'm not participating then I don't call it 'my' sport. I'm a fan or a viewer of that sport.
    I'd be sad if it went away but my whole life and living doesn't depend on it.

    What we need is for the economy to turn around and free up money for those who want to be in the game, for those who want to wager. We have a core of gamblers who like to gamble and always will. The internet gaming is booming and I really feel that when the economy frees up a bit we can get that element to spend more.
    The breeding industry is turning around a little bit, good sale results here the last couple of months but banks who used to loan money to the industry are in trouble themselves and several no longer lend, others are getting very difficult to deal with. (Ask Mr Zayat or Bobby Hurley for example).
    Media? I think we take advantage of it as much as we can. We give interviews and whatever else, it's the fans who were trashing the NBC and Bravo presentations. I admit I get irritated with being pre-empted whenever on ESPN.
    I do believe that the NTRA made some bad contracts and I think a lot of the tracks who are not renewing their memberships, agree. I think the NTRA's days are numbered.

    As much as anything it seems like our industry which like casino gambling seemed to be immune to economic downturn has taken the same hits that the casinos have. It just all hit at one time.
    I know you weren't alive in the days of Secretariat, but he was a hero when we needed one. Now kids only want heroes that trash talk and make millions of dollars. I really don't see any way to change that dramatically.
    Do you believe that there are a lot of people, serious gamblers and horseplayers who want tracks to go back to the days of no one underage allowed inside the race track? Also there was a time not very long ago where a kid couldn't come into the winners circle under a certain age. Actually in those days we were much more successful and the handles were much bigger.
    Who knows?

  12. The fact is that the Triple Crown has already changed. Owners have lost their reverence for the series, instead choosing to push any three year old with a hint of talent to the Kentucky Derby. This leads to the yearly spectacle we refer to every year as the "Run for the roses" I firmly believe that until we see a field size reduction in the Derby, there won't be a Triple Crown Winner.
    Also, Jockeys don't have much opportunity to run 10 furlongs anymore let alone 12, thus the distance is new for the jockey and the horse.
    Extending the distance of the Spring races for older horses to 10f so that it becomes old hat to the jockeys would help.

    Cut the Derby field size, and card more 10f races so that trainers and jockeys remember how to prep for them, other than that - Leave the Crown alone. If last year didn't "save" horse racing, I doubt a TC winner will.

  13. Helen,

    I can assure you I am not one of those who trash the media coverage we get. As of now I think that anything we can get our hands on is good unless it's a breakdown.

    What I wish would happen is a kind of feel good story. Smarty was one, Barbaro was one, Afleet Alex was one, and everyone latched onto them.

    I think the owners depend on what circut your in. Personally it takes a lot to run barns coordinate lessons, put togeather a show, and so on and so forth. However many of the trainers do not make good business people. That is my experience and it annoys me to no end.

    The economy is part of the problem, but IMO it has only sped up what would've eventually happened. Racing has fallen from the public eye and the only real source left in order to get some attention is a TC winner. They can open a short burst of attention that if managed correctly, could lead to a hero. People still have that soft spot, they still want to see something pure. I know because I've seen it happen. I've brought over friends who've never watch a race in their life that now come and ask sometimes what going on in racing. It's not much, but it shows that people just need to be shown.

    The way I love horses, the way I love racing and every aspect of it is second to none. TB racing, horses in general is what I breath. I call it "our sport" because we all, who are involved have to really love it. It is the attitude you have, "if you are not involve you can't call it yours", that drives others out. In a way it's stuck up and people don't get that and won't stick around for it. I have only because I enjoy the horses. BTW, I don't often, but I have bet, and normally attend the racetrack for my birthday every year. It may not be a lot, but it is involvement.


    Your early point of trainers not wanting to push for the Derby is exactly why I would think the swap for the Preakness and Derby would help. Most horses go from 9 to 10 furlongs, this would allow them to go 9, 9.5, 10. A little easier progression. It also helps by not having as huge a jump that the Preakness gives horses going to the Belmont. It's much easier to keep gradually stretching than it is to go long, short, extra long, lol.

    I agree wholeheartedly with the poin that there needs to be more 10+ furlong races. Stamina is in genes to some point obviously, but it can also be trained. Afleet Alex in a way proved that.

    Last year did not "save" racing because last year was not managed correctly. After MTB in the Derby I think many decided to give up, thinking he wouldn't have a shot at the crown, therefore there were not many on hand to witness RA. The Haskell and Woodward were both historic, but were not aired on channels that would be seen by the general public.

    Zenyatta could most certainly help, with her style, her flare, and her look. However, you cannot just bust through the Classic then virtually disappear into a comfortzone again. If she had gone against males eariler or had goes in some big male races this year before the Classic then she would most likely get some attention.

  14. It isn't snobbery. It's a real serious feeling that until people who don't take the risk started telling all of racing how to run their own game, the game wasn't half bad.

    I think it's a sign of the times. That people think they should have input into how an industry is run. Fans want to help decide what player plays, where players go heck even the President is putting in his two cents worth in on LeBron James, then said he shouldn't meddle.

    I think it's a lot like going to a movie. You pay to go watch it, if you don't like it you don't go back or you don't watch any more movies by that director. But you don't write and tell him how to make movies, or I don't because I don't have a clue how to make one.

    You know it's kind of like that old saying, those who can do, those who can't teach. Just replace teach with write.
    I see what gets everyone upset about being told how to do their own job. It's irksome, especially when it comes from people who don't really support the business other than to talk.

    I assume you are too young to bet, I assume you don't work in racing in any way shape or form?
    I really do see how that can come across as uneducated and random criticism.

    I think you have good intentions, but a lot of bloggers think they have a god given right to tell everyone in the world how to do everything.
    It's sensationalism.
    You may be a student of the game, an observer. You seem like you are but nothing in the world replaces hands on or practical experience. That is just like throwing things out for experiment without really knowing the ramifications.
    I'm not sure if you know it, but even hard nosed turf writers and guys who have written many racing books, took a turn working at the track just to see what it is all about. Steve Haskin, Bill Nack just to name two. They still don't presume to know how to fix the game, it seems like it's the fan/bloggers who do that.
    What if by changing the format, we lose the diehard fans and gamblers? At the risk of getting a few 'fans' who will watch on the tube and maybe go to a race once or twice?
    Those are decisions that should be made by those people it most strongly affects, those plans should be formulated by those very people and they are being done and people with lots of experience don't like the sound of it. They'll study it and make the best decision for themselves.
    Frankly though, the Belmont? Big Brown was going for a Triple Crown a couple years ago and people really thought he'd get it. Did they have a sell-out? NO. Saratoga? It's traditionally one of the most successful meets in the country, is it going to save the NYRA? No, heck it may not even go off. It's a dream to think that the Triple Crown will make an impact. It's a dream to think that the TC means anything to the guys who toil in anonymity at the track. Like someone said the fixes are much bigger than a TC, that's just a minute little drop in the bucket.

  15. Mike M,

    I love how you all love to tell me not to assume yet you all do too. This might shut down some of yours and others accusations, but I'm sure like most you'll find another way to discredit me. I have work before on an Arabian racing/breeding farm. As can be guess they raced Arabians for many years, bred champions, own champions, but have no shut down their breeding program and have started to buy into racing. The had a trainer their I used to talk to all the time, great guy, but is now retired. I had to quit due to an injury that kept reoccuring and that would've cost me my ability to ride had I kept working and reinjuring myself. I however still keep in touch.

    So now that I've established that I've worked on a racing farm, gone to a track and have betted before can we now consider me "part of the game" or "someone who does instead of writes?"

    Nowhere in this entire post did I come out and tell anyone what to do. I expressed an opinion and that is an American right. I believe at TC winner would have the power to turn things around if given the chance. You use BB, I say look at Smarty Jones, the horse drew over a hundred thousand people to the Belmont if I recall correctly. What about Funny Cide, people loved him, rooting for him. What about horses who weren't even aiming for the crown like Alex??? He had a following, because of his STORY. That is what all of these horses have is a feel good story, BB did not. He had owners many feel were shady and a cocky arrogant trainer. Nobody is going to be attracted by that, espcially if that trainer mentions his horse was on drugs befor the preakness.

    No horse this year was the caliber of any of those mentioned above and still had a feel good story, which is what the public wants. You suggesting we would lose fans just because racing swapped up the format is ludicris. Basball and Football did not lose fans, heck look at them now. We didn't lose die hards when 3yr olds started retiring after they turned four, or when they witnessed the horror of Eight Belles or Barbaro. A change in schedule would may miff some but not enough to deter those who REALLY love the game away.

    The fact that most of you are so quick to judge me speaks volumes. You don't even know me personally yet you are will to try and discredit everything I say. If you knew me and spoke to people who knew me you would be embarrassed beyond belief.

    After this moment, if we wish to debate on the positives and negatives of the TC that will be fine, but assumptions and anything that is sent in trying to discredit me or anyone else ever will be deleted.

  16. I've read enough of what you have written to get a feel for what you are about. I tried to have a conversation with you like an adult.

    This game has changed dramatically in the past 4 years. DRAMATICALLY. We cannot risk losing gamblers who make this sport, to manufacture a Triple Crown winner for people who don't have a vested interest and by that I mean a monetary investment in the game, it's just not feasible. Gamblers already complain about watered down races, short fields and races that are impossible to handicap. THAT is a big part of why this game is in trouble. We need that revenue to survive. And yes we have lost a lot of the diehards who gamble and a lot of the handicappers, to things like Online Poker.
    IF and that's a big IF we could get sponsorship from various entities that would help a great deal. The trickle down effect from that source just isn't there for the horsemen.

    Talk about attempting to discredit people? I wonder how Wayne would feel about your comment?
    You don't know the first thing about him.....

    Have you ever worked on a Thoroughbred race track on a horse in full fledged training?
    I'm sorry but I really don't think your experience as you address it in your profile would cause me the least bit of embarrassment.

  17. Wow, did this open several cans of worms or what?!

    First off I'd like to say I agree with you (LDP) this is our sport. Sports would not be around without the fans to support them.

    I do not think the Triple Crown should be changed in the least. Changing the spacing between races would just be watering down the challenge and catering to the sprint and speed focused breeding that has been going on for years in this country. There will be another Triple Crown winner in my lifetime that I am sure of, but if anything about the unique triple is changed it will cease to be the Triple Crown to me, millions of fans and the general public.

  18. Mike,

    READ WHAT I WROTE. I said that in my experience, most horsemen/women are not good business people, but he might be an exeption. Why the heck do you think I put he might be an exeption? You people read whatever the heck you want to and refuse to put out the whole entirety of things. Do you think that's adult? No. I don't know the first thing about Wayne which is why I did not flat out say he's not a good business man.

    The races will not be watered down. These days three races in seven weeks is a challenge for horses, without a doubt. How many do you see running a race per a little over 2 weeks? Not many. Reducing the field size in the Derby? A 14 horse field is not a short watered down field, if anything it takes some of the horses who are just in it to satisfy ego, out of it, giving the top horses in the race a chance to shine through. I never changed the distances at all, I would never ever do that because it would cater towards the speed and fragility we see today.

    After the TC I agree there needs to be changes for more 10+ furlong races. That agree with which is why you don't see me suggesting we should shorten the races in the TC.

    To your last question, I am so tired of you trying to find ways to make what I have look like nothing. If you are so curious google me or something. It is because people like you who believe if someone has never been in the field that they have no right to comment. Sorry, but either right it's my constitutional right to give any opinion I want, and I will exercise it.


    Hey! As I pointed out horses today still rarely ever run 3 races in seven weeks. It is almost as taboo as a filly taking on older males or racing 3 races in five weeks. Will the spacing make a difference make a difference, yes, which is why if I were to yeild to anything I would be willing to drop the extra week between the last two jewels. That way they still have to comeback equally as fast for every race.

    As I said I did not change the distances specifically because I did not want to cater to the sprint speed we so often see. The TC is one of many things I would like to tweek. However if the breed were to return to the likes of where it was in the seventies and 80's I would not hesitate to changed the TC back, except for the Derby field size.

  19. After TWO comments? Seriously?

    I'd say you should be happy you're blog is actually getting some hits. I know it's a slow day on the other ones, that's why I read this to begin with. Looking for news about the NYRA bailout.
    Why are you so overly defensive?

    I read your profile, you said you've been a fan since Curlin's 3 year old season. That seems to me like that's really not sufficient time to understand the game. But maybe I'm wrong about that. I was just an assistant for years before going out on my own years ago, so what do I know?
    Even if I agree with you it's the way you deliver the message.
    Yes the First Amendment allows freedom of speech but not the right to say whatever you want to or about whomever you want.
    You basically are saying you have more business savvy and know more about the game than some of us who have been in it forever... Okay.
    I do know a bunch of kids coming into the game through some of the University programs and some of the other programs for younger kids out there. I can safely assume you aren't one of them because not ONE of them comes off like you do. They come off as respectful, anxious to learn and not presenting that they know more than people who have won Triple Crown races, run in them or worked with horses who have won them.

    If you do want to be in the game I'd suggest talk less listen more and calm down your delivery.
    But I'm sure that will fall on deaf ears.
    I think I've read you before and think on other blogs someone gave you the same advice. It's good advice because those of us in the game don't like that kind of in your face attitude, especially coming from someone just starting out or never having been in the game.
    I'm sure you'll take this in a different vein than it's meant. But I thought I'd give it a shot. Save you some hard lessons down the road.
    Because I've been there and I see how that attitude is received.

  20. Mike,

    Tell me where I ever claimed to have more knowledge, and please quote me. I never said I know more, never said I had more experience, this was all put in my mouth by you, because you refuse to read what is right in front of you. I got defensive because of this reason and because you flat out try and discredit me. I have not done that to you or anyone else on this blog at all, and did not to D.Wayne, in fact I said he might be an exception to what i've experienced, but I would not know. You however refused to read that. You talk about my delivery, well, maybe your delivery is why I took you to be defensive, so I retaliated back.

    I have no idea who you are or what you have done in life, and because this is a blog, I have not real desire to probe you for it. When I would die for a chance to meet Pletcher, Lukas, Baffer and just pick at their minds. For them I would shut up. You I don't know, you commented on my blog and didn't like it. You don't like my style of writing, you think I'm arrogant, that's about all I know. How am I suppose to just accept this from a person I don't even know? I feel the same about people on other blogs, I have no idea who you are and am not going to trust a person that I have no idea about.

    BTW, my first race ever was watchin War Emblem in the Preakness, in 2002, i believe. Curlin is my favorite horse of all time. Other horses I got to watch were Funny Cide, Empire Maker, Smarty, Afleet Alex, Saint Liam, Barbaro, Bernardini, and Lawyer Ron. These were the horses I saw before 2007.

  21. Every year about this time we hear these demands that we dumb down the Triple Crown to "save" horse racing.

    In other words, to turn the "most difficult and demanding championship in all of American sport" into just another over hyped and essentially meaningless piece of marketing.

    Will it happen someday? As the flame is passed to newer generations, sure it will.

    We see that already in the way Zenyatta is loved as much or MORE for her "dancing" and "personality" as her performance on the track.

    More and more of today's racing fans value appearance as much of more than they do substance, so why not cheapen the Triple Crown?
    After all, it's not likely any modern horse will ever have the stuff to win it again.

    But will it "save" racing? Of course not.

    Once the Triple Crown ceases to be the ultimate test of our equine champions and becomes just another "dog and pony" show to be won every year by "whoever", then who is going to care?

    After all, horse racing is not like a football team where you can root for the same squad or individual players year end and year out.

    Even with a dumbed down Triple Crown, the horse is not going to be around long enough or race often enough to build any kind of fan base.

    Will it be the end of the world for those who care about the history and traditions of the sport?

    Not really.

    The very fact that we'll have an sudden explosion of TC winners will be a certain tip off that the champions of today are pale imitations of the great champions of foregone days for those who care about such things.

    And for people who love the sport, there will still be the occasional great horses and performances to warm the heart.

    We just won't have any way to measure that greatness against the great champions of the past.

  22. Re-reading this essay, there's one quote that I find particularity troublesome.

    "Football and baseball have added games to their seasons, making it easier for records to be broken, making it easier for people to achieve new heights."

    Isn't the whole point of the Triple Crown to be the ULTIMATE test of our equine champions?

    When we reach that point where fans would rather have "winners" than "champions", the sport will be better served if we just ended the series altogether.