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Racing Club

Racing is an interesting club and frankly, kind of an exclusive one to get let into. Just this week we saw it again action.

First off, we had two horses pass away, one from a heart attack and one from a fracture, at Pimlico. People who were watching horse racing for the first time, and others who don't like the sport in the first place, sprang into action, tweeting and press releasing the tragedy, some of them for their own gain.

This was tough for Racing Club, so some club members rose to the occasion to hammer those people about their terrible bias. It just happened on TV. What about the food you eat. The other days of the year are just fine.

Later on in the week, Michelle Beadle - a woman that seems to make Racing Club go full-on #bringhomechrome - spoke out about not liking horse racing much. That was bad enough, but wow, she covered horse racing once and said she liked it. What a hypocrite.

Racing Club is a bit of an odd bird.

If a newbie likes racing, Racing Club likes them. If a newbie tweets about not wanting to watch a sport where horses perish like they did Saturday, well, Racing Club points out how great life is for horses. If someone within Racing Club points out that what happened at Pimlico Saturday happens each day in racing, it's an issue, and those people have a point, that person is shunned by Racing Club. He or she likely will never be let back in.

If someone that's a celebrity says something about racing we like, Racing Club might ask them to be on the red carpet at the Breeders' Cup. When a commentator with brash opinions on many sports doesn't like racing, Racing Club trolls her on twitter, until she likes racing again, or blocks them.

Horse racing is filled with passionate people. Social media in horse racing is a success story, not a detriment. But sometimes the passion gets misplaced, where it becomes a bubble, where the Club can't see the problems and issues as others see them.

This bubble acts like a protective shield, so when a horse dies and questions need to be answered, they are not answered, but covered for; when a takeout increase happens and handle goes down, it's the "bad weather" and no one says a word; when a track goes from a safe racetrack back to dirt for black type and breeding, no one asks the tough questions; when someone on twitter doesn't like racing, they should be attacked and shouted down, not asked why they don't like it and how it can improve so they do like it.

The first rule of Racing Club is that you don't talk about Racing Club. That rule has to go. It needs to be talked about, because in many cases the sport can't correct its issues if it stays in its protective bubble.

Comments

Anonymous said…
If I owned or managed a track, my response to your column would be, "Issues? Problems? My only problem is people don't bet enough."

How can we as customers expect problems to be addressed when many of those in charge can't see they're the biggest problem?