I remember being on a chat board many years ago now. A fan was voicing his opinion on a harness race, talking about what he thought was a bad drive. An insider (I think it was a trainer) came on, admonished the new fan with, "have you ever sat behind a horse? No? Then shut up."
Silly, yes, because that same trainer might be going to a sports bar that night to watch a hockey game. When a player missed an open net, he might say "what a goof. How did he miss that? It was an easy bury.". Unless the trainer was a high draft pick with NHL hockey experience, he should admonish himself.
Racing, heavily insider based, has a lot of trouble with fans. And it doesn't make a whole lot of sense.
California Chrome will hopefully be racing next year, and we all think that's great. There are many fans who hope he doesn't do a Dubai-Ascot double next year, there are some who want him in dirt classics, not turf. There are some who want turf, or Dubai, or hell, maybe even the Melbourne Cup. Maybe someone on facebook (those folks are a little crazy, mind you) wants him to race on Pluto.
The response from some quarters: "Stop trying to manage this horse. He's not yours." Or, "if you want to manage a horse, go buy one."
Sure, some criticism of rides, or trainer moves, or a hundred other things might be wrong. The facebook stuff regarding Chrome is borderline delusional. Fans might not know a certain horse was sick last race, or has a sore suspensory, or whatever; this is an insular sport, where keeping things a secret is a method of operation. But who cares? If it's a sport, it's a part of sports.
Sports radio, fantasy sports, calling [insert name here] a "choker", are all about fans "managing" their teams. It's all about being a fan. It's an intrinsic element of all sports around the globe. The manager of the Yankees would never say "go buy your own team if you want to manage it." There would be a revolt.
If you want to be big league, embrace it, educate, discuss and be a part of it. But for goodness sakes, don't tell them to put a sock in it. Horse racing needs more fans, not fewer.
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