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Monday, October 27, 2008


"I should think it will be tough getting in the races next year, with the main track, you'll have them all trying to run next year. Then we go to Churchill Downs [in 2010] and it's a different ball game [on dirt]. There is nothing wrong with that. That's healthy. Muhammad Ali fought in the jungle, he fought in Manila, he fought everywhere. The same with horses."

~ John Gosden, Trainer of BC winners Donativum and Raven’s Pass

It’s here to stay race fans and it’ll be run on again at next year’s Cup. You may want to pooh-pooh it, but it’s a fact of life in the world of horse racing. Me, myself and I, we’re going to learn how to handicap it and understand the statistics better regarding breakdowns before pronouncing it safer. It is just another surface and regardless of whom is benefitting from it (horses, manufacturers, West Coast regulars), it’s not going away.

Beth Harris at the Philadelphia Inquirer, says that Breeders Cup weekend was just the shot in the arm that racing needed. In fact, synthetics might just be the thing the sport needs, as a European rivalry seems to be developing. And that’s not such a bad thing. If we could generate the interest domestically that, say, a little ole’ tournament called the Ryder Cup does, who knows, maybe you will hear the chants of U-S-A at a Breeders Cup near you?

I love Gosden’s Ali reference above, that he fought anyone, anywhere, the test of a true champion. What makes a horse any different? PGA golfers play a different course every year for three of the four majors. Isn’t that similar to racing on a different type of surface? Those golf courses have different layouts, yardages, etc. The NASCAR racetracks, another individual sport, do not have the same configuration for every race. In fact, Watkins Glen is a Grand Prix layout, and not your traditional oval race track. Does that make the Chase for the Cup any less?

Look no further than the Great White North. The Canadians actually run their Triple Crown on all three surfaces! The Queens’ Plate on the polytrack at Woodbine, the Prince of Wales on the dirt at Fort Erie and the Breeders Stakes on the EP Taylor Turf course at Woodbine. Let’s try and promote our sport, not trash it at every opportunity. I’ve already stirred the pot with traditionalists via the co-authored post regarding changing the Triple Crown format, so why stop there?

So what’s next? For me a little stopover at Ft. Erie tomorrow for a little birthday afternoon getaway on closing day at the Fort. Let’s just hope it’s not the last day of racing EVER there, now that would be something to get upset about.


Handride said...

if there was nothing to bitch about would anyone talk?

Keith - Triple Dead Heat said...

I don't disagree with the Ali quote. However, the surface changes make for brilliant racing...but inconsistent handicapping.

Perhaps if we just sat back and watched the races instead of wagered on them we'd enjoy it a lot more.

Despite losing lots, I still enjoyed and I wont complain.

I wish I could be there on Tuesday. I'd gladly buy you a birthday pint or two!

Look out for Nick Gonzalez trained horses...he can be dynamite at the Fort!

SaratogaSpa said...

I don't like that we really determined a dirt champion on a non dirt surface. Who knows maybe in the future each track will have 3 surfaces-a turf track, dirt and synthetic?

EquiSpace said...

Patrick: See you next Thursday.

Keith: Wish you could make it down...sorry for the late notice...I'll tip one on ur behalf...thanks for the Gonzo tip!

Robt: Who does...but there's no chance any track will carry all 3 least in this era..


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