A poster commented "what is up with Hoof Beats?" I knew what he was speaking about. On Andrew Cohen's blog there was quite a bit of chatter during the debate on who was a better horse, Dewey or Beach. One or two of the commenters, I think one might have been Murray Brown of Hanover Shoe Farms, said "what does Hoof Beats have against Somebeachsomewhere?" Apparently the horse had never once made the cover of the magazine and people were wondering why. I do not know either way, however, this month's cover does make one scratch their head a little bit.
After the Breeders Crown virtually every story (including the AP wire), mentioned when speaking of the Beach's BC win that 'horse of the year was locked up'. In fact, I have not heard anyone in the blogosphere or press even think it is a debate anymore. But I guess Hoofbeats still thinks so. What do they know that we don't?
There is more than one column out there lamenting the brutal year racing had in 2008, and that big changes are needed for 2009. What took you guys so long? We have been doing worse and worse since about 2003. We have needed changes for a long time.
I do however think thoroughbred racing is at a crossroads. I primarily bet the runners in 2008 and I followed the sport, from nighttime races at Mountaineer, to days at Turfway, Keeneland, NYRA tracks and a few others. In my opinion they have to fix that breed, and quick. Comparing a thoroughbred horse's durability to a harness horse's is like comparing Saddam Hussien to Mother Theresa. I watched an afternoon about a month ago (three tracks) and I saw four horses break down (or pulled up). I see four horses a year get pulled up in harness racing. They have a serious problem in that sport and it clearly needs to be addressed.
Some chatter on chat board harnessdriver.com of interest. First up, the fight between the horseman association and Woodbine has drawn 20 pages or so. Some of the comments are brilliant; some not so much. But entertaining nonetheless. Another thread speaks of the battle for driver of the year in Canada between Jody Jamieson and Paul MacDonnell. Wow, maybe I am way off, but this one I thought was not even close. Paul not only drove Beach, but several other stakes stars and was probably the main Canadian driver in all the Classic races this year. I believe he will win easily.