Monday, June 11, 2012

What a Weekend

It was a fun weekend to be a racing fan.

On Saturday we had a Belmont where finally Union Rags won something this year that everyone expected him to last year. But was it enough? He got nearly the exact same trip (with a colt on his outside flank the whole way) that he got in Florida for the Derby, so there goes that excuse. The time was slow, and his Beyer was not that great. He doesn't seemed to have moved up at all from last season. If there's a horse who has to do more, this is that quintessentail colt, in my opinion.

I think Atigun might've blown the doors off them all if he could've settled. He was being fought almost the entire race, and he hung a little bit late as is often the case with trips like that.

Dullahan was well, Dull. He was covered in dirt, looked like he wanted nothing to do with racing on Saturday, and his anemic final time proved it. He is so much better than he showed, but as we all know too well in this game, horses at times simply don't show up for whatever reason.

Anyhow, it was a good day for betting and attendance and for the TV viewers. Despite the scratch of I'll Have Another.

The North America Cup elims were pretty awesome on Saturday night, offering us more questions than answers. We looked at them in HRU today (p2 PDF). Also in that issue is the story that Brennan has been allowed back at the M to drive, which was not unexpected.

It's been done 100 times before with Boxing and Horse Racing - they're linked. Over the past 100 years, poor decisions, fixed fights and the like, have plagued the sport of boxing. Over the past 100 years people think horses are constantly drugged. Both sports have no commissioner, no structure, nothing to work towards fixing it. In an article today, the weekend fight and the weekend race were looked at, not in glowing terms:

Results like the ones in these two once-dominant sports awaken a skepticism that many would prefer not to have about sports. They leave us with doubts not only about the result, but the process.

Controversy happens, of course. But once a sport loses the trust of the mass of fans, or at least, once skepticism takes the lead on the scorecard, every high-profile controversy becomes another blow in a countdown to knockout.

It's not just mainstream media who are looking at IHA's injury and scratch with some skepticism. It's horse racing opinion. Cangamble, never one to back away from an opinion, questions it as well. 

In racing we often hear: "See, we should not even talk about it, or go to any great lengths like having a D barn or whatever, because no one believes us anyway." I think that's nonsense. We've had this affect us for 100 years and it will take some time, but you don't run away from it. We looked at changing the culture on how we report no try drives, or rides in Saturday's HRU. How do we change opinion on our perception? One policy at a time.

1 comment:

Lenny said...

If Union Rags wins another G1 again this year I will be shocked. Like you said he hasn't improved a step from last year and that won't get it done in the Haskell, Travers and any race against older horses. I fully expect Bodemeister or Paynter to dominate the three year old division the rest of the year. The only horse that has proven to be in their class is Algorithms and his return is up in the air.

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