Friday, March 28, 2008

We Need More Jess Jackson's

There is a great story at about Jess Jackson, owner of Curlin. He is a bit of a maverick. Why? I know it sounds strange, but he is a maverick for racing Curlin, instead of breeding him.

Millions be damned, Jackson is racing Curlin as a 4-year-old in an effort to send the horse, worth an estimated $40 million, into a stratosphere with the all-time greats.

"I want to establish Curlin for what I think he is," Jackson said. "He's one of the horses of the century."

That’s a sportsman. That is what we all are deep-down I think. It is too bad that racing, and its fractured structure let’s the breeders, in large part, run our sport.

There's a simple reason most owners don't put their money where their mouth is. There's far too much money to lose.Gary West, a veteran horse-racing writer at the Fort Worth (Texas) Star-Telegram, said the sport even encourages the early retirement of its stars, with its less lucrative payouts to older horses.

Horse racing long has been dominated by commercial breeders fixated on dollar signs. And the focus away from the track has contributed to the sport's sagging appeal.

West said the situation is tantamount to NFL announcers being paid more than the players, a move that would send the league's biggest names to the booth prematurely.

In Jackson, however, he sees a maverick shaking up the staus quo.

"Jess Jackson has come along and said something is wrong here. We're focusing on the sale ring rather than the racetrack, and in doing so we're compromising greatness," said West, who has covered roughly 60 Triple Crown races since 1982

Jackson says other factors influenced him to race Curlin this year. Among them are generating fan interest

Generating fans? God forbid, actually racing racehorses? Not letting the breeders rule this sport and its future?

Who does this guy think he is? I don’t know, but I am glad he owns racehorses.

Notes: Curlin goes Saturday in the Dubai World Cup. It is being covered on HPITV as well as the US networks I believe. I will be cheering for him. As Robby Albarado said in the Bloodhorse, “I think he means a lot to racing. Everyone needs a star, and it seems like whoever wins the (Kentucky) Derby is the star for the year. But if Curlin can continue this streak he’s on, he’s going to establish a fan base like no one’s had in years.”

Tomorrow we should have our Guest Post Saturday up. It’ll be a review of the new HPI site.

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