Over the Next 12 months.......

.... I would love it if horse racing decides if it is a sport with a fan base, or a breeding business.

With Big Brown winning the first two legs of the Triple Crown, buzz throughout much of the sports world is not centred on him winning the Belmont, it has been on "when will he retire."

A smattering of buzz (most thanks to headlines on Equidaily.com).

Cangamble a few weeks ago said: "No Surprise if the Preakness is Big Brown's last race"

A Philadelphia sports writer lists his top things he does not understand about sports.

The sport's sole purpose appears to be identifying talented horses who can win enough big races so they can be sold for tens of millions in order to produce more horses whose careers will be ended prematurely by greed and shortsightedness.

Jeff Frank of the Sports Network says: Is this really what the sport needs? The brightest star to come along in thirty years and in one split second.."poof...he's gone?

In the Whittier Daily News, the sports writer there says what every single fan knows, and the sport knows, in a piece entitled "Dream Match-up May Be Just That":

Curlin, the reigning Horse of the Year, enters this colossal matchup against Big Brown with a seven-race winning streak, including his Breeders' Cup Classic score in 2007 and this year's $6 million Dubai World Cup on March 29.

Never before have such two high-profile horses squared off in the Breeders' Cup Classic - 2007 Horse of the Year Curlin versus Triple Crown champion Big Brown.

Sounds delicious, huh?

Well, don't count on it happening. There's little chance he'll still be racing in October.

The breeding rights for these horses have just become too astronomical.

We've gone through it before. No business in the world, let alone a gambling one has ever survived by not knowing who it is. Wal Mart is a discount retailer - they know that. Mercedes makes expensive cars - they know that. Slot machines attract bus trips from over 65's - they know that.

Are we a business that was put on the face of the earth so we could breed more horses with the sports stars, or are we a business who wants to attract new fans and grow? Are we a breeding business or a racing business? We can't have both. Decide on one and then put policies in place to achieve that goal. Just someone.... please decide.

But if we do choose that we are a breeding business, please never complain that we can't get new people interested in racing.

Note: Maybe someone else is going to decide for us. Congress is looking into horse racing and just announce it will occur in a couple of weeks.

The congressmen's letter says that "many, if not most, racing experts believe that the thoroughbred breed has become increasingly ... incapable of withstanding ... the rigors of dirt racing on the track."

It cites charges that breeders are "biologically engineering horses to run very fast at a very early stage in their lives at the expense of long-term durability," and the use of race-day medications that allow unsound horses to compete and pass on their genetic infirmities to their offspring.

It sounds strange to say, but maybe congress will succeed in protecting us from ourselves, by stopping this breeding madness.

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