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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

World Series of Horse Racing?

While checking out some of John Daly’s funky golf pants the other day, I started thinking about the Skins Game, a made-for-TV golf event, usually held around Thanksgiving which would bring together that year’s hottest names in golf. This led me to thinking about what kind of made for TV event could bring horse racing back into the mainstream again after the Triple Crown Season is put to rest. Also, in my thought process was how can we get Zenyatta and Rachel Alexandra into the same race. Golf used to put together its four major winners into the World Series of Golf match that was a made-for-TV event, which is now the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. This got the gears (squirrels) spinning in my head even further. Using Ernie Munick’s idea of a race during halftime of the Thanksgiving Day Lions game, which would be the perfect time to produce my dream event called the World Series of Horse Racing, which could be held during the fall meet at Churchill Downs. Can you think of a better time slot for promoting horse racing to the masses?

Here’s how a horse would qualify:
1) Must win a Grade I over 8.5 furlongs
2) Must be at least 3 years old
3) Field limited to top 14 qualifiers based on set criteria (i.e, standings, earnings)

Based on the above criteria, here is the list of the top 20 horses through June 30th that would qualify for the WS of Horse Racing event if we used the Thoroughbred Bloggers Alliance Standings based on a point system for graded wins:

That’s a pretty impressive list of horses vying for the national championship of racing. You’ve got the Classic winners, you’ve got the Dubai Cup winner, you’ve got Zenyatta, in addition to quality 3 year olds like I Want Revenge, Quality Road and Pioneerof the Nile and quality older horses like Einstein and Macho Again. Talk about a monster race that would generate some unbelievable chatter, not only in horse racing land, but in the main stream.

Of course there are a slew of other issues to work out like weight assignments, purse money, distance (1 3/16ths?) television rights, my vig (thought I’d slip that one in there), how it affects the Breeders Cup (too close?), etc. Of course, Wayne Lukas will probably put this out there next year as his idea anyway.

Could it work?


Glenn Craven said...

An interesting notion, running a race during halftime of a Thanksgiving football game. Might have to be around the field AT the game to get enough attention.

I do think a lot of people would be concerned about the date being too close to the Breeders' Cup. How many Grade 1 horses that run on the seventh of a given month would run back on the 26th? ... I mean, they SHOULD be able to do it, but DO they do it?

And with trainers pointing horses toward being their sharpest during Breeders' Cup weekend, it would seem that the days and weeks thereafter are time for the big letdown for all involved ... easing up after a long spring, summer and autumn campaign.

No to be a buzzkill, but I think it would end up being the horse-racing equivalent of the Pro Bowl. Everybody who's anybody gets invited, and half of them complain about a pulled hamstring or sore ribs or whatever so they can skip out on playing.

G. Rarick said...

Ah, and once again the Americans want to call something a "World Series" and not invite anybody from - well, the world (you know, that small bit that exists OUTSIDE the United States....)

Teresa said...

"Ah, and once again the Americans want to call something a 'World Series'..."

Hm. As far as I can tell, this is one person, not the entire nation, making a suggestion. But I guess we all get the credit or the blame just because we share a nationality with the author?

EquiSpace said...

I'm obviously dreaming here and it will never happen. The point was to have a made for TV event to promote the sport that would feature the triple crown race winners, hell bring on the triple crown winners from france, england, japan or wherever they run triple crowns overseas, I could care less. I'm looking at creating something on a big day where everyone is sitting in their living rooms watching the tube after the big feast...why can't we get us some of that...and I was trying to figure out a system that would get RA and Zen in the same race.

Not looking to replace the Classic here, but bring all the big winners (including the Classic winner who would qualify as a Grade I winner) to one big exhibition race...

T: Thanks for clarifying that I'm not the voice of American racing, I was getting nervous someone might take me seriously. LOL.

World Series of American Horse Racing has a nice ring to it...

SaratogaSpa said...

I really like this idea. What is that saying: Build it and they shall come (or something like that).

Look at the NHL and the "Winter Classic" they created. Only 2 years old and already very popular-fans and non fans alike watch it.

suebroux said...

Interesting supposition, Spaceman.

However, given how the Detroit Lions played last year, perhaps the race should be conducted during the football game.

Anonymous said...

Fuck football! Do not poison our sport with this abomination.

teeshirtsoup said...

Are you suggesting a BCS system for horses?

Anonymous said...

I have suggested a super world series, where all the classic winners from around the globe would clash, horses from usa, uk, ireland, france, australia, new zealand, hong kong,singapore, south africa, japan, italy, germany, uae, chile, canada etc.

Why didnt you include the Australian's. afterall they have pretty close to the best sprinters and milers and usually have a middle distance or stayer that would do justice to any country.

EquiSpace said...

Anon: Agree with you 100%, and if I left out the Aussies, it was an oversight! I loved watching the Melbourne Cup last year and plan on staying up to watch and blog about it again this year.

Thanks for reading!

mary said...

Good luck getting people behind this one.Though you make some very fascinating points, you are going to have to do more than bring up a few things that may be different.Thank you.



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