I was going through a few statistics this morning, and something jumped out at me.
Yesterday's post regarding the Sword Dancer stakes had traffic I have not seen in some time. It was through the roof. I looked back to see if any other post I had rivaled that traffic number and one other popped up. It was the post on the Churchill Downs Jackpot Pick 6. That pick 6, if you recall, was cancelled after a storm hit, with a bettor holding a ticket with a chance at $700,000. The stewards decided not to turn over too many rocks to try and get the race in.
These two posts had a few things in common.
They were not linked by any industry sites, retweeted by heavy hitters, or showed up on some massively trafficked link farm. The traffic came from the grassroots.
Second, both posts challenged the industry to change - in the Sword Dancer case by not allowing the rules of racing to be simply "suggestions", and in the pick 6 case, by treating a customer with a $700,000 live ticket, like they'd treat a $700,000 stakes race for horsemen.
Third, no industry site talked about either story. It's like the events didn't even happen.
And last, both stories were chastised publicly by some racing insiders, for being naive, showing a lack of understanding of horse racing, and for rocking a boat that should not be rocked. The 'shut up and bet' phenomenon.
Well for both posts, it seems the proletariat disagreed. Yesterday's post had 130 likes on Facebook, last I checked (where even Paulick Report stories can have barely a half dozen), and will likely be the most trafficked post on this blog for the last three years. The Churchill Downs post (with a simple customer issue) had similar traffic, which was mind-boggling to me.
There is a silent group of people out there that did not like what they saw Saturday. They did not like the way a rabbit was flaunted on national TV, with no response from racing except, "oh whatever, we do that all the time." There's a large group of customers out there who did not like that Churchill cancelled a guy or gal's chance at a life changing score, without putting in an effort to get the race off, like they would for a Juddmonte, or Chad Brown, or Bob Baffert.
There are people out there who don't like the way things are going; who feel marginalized. And they're yearning to read about it and share their opinion. Mostly the industry press ignores them, so at times, they end up here, and other places on the web, which choose to address these issues.
Taking time to make a post at lunchtime that I know will not be popular with insiders, or the elites, tends to be not pleasant. It's much easier to tow the line. But I am glad some of you feel like I do - that the sport has to change - and show up from time to time to read this little blog and share your opinion, whether you agree with everything or not. For that I am grateful.
It also gives me hope that maybe racing can change with the times, because there are so many of you -- silently yes, but a lot of you -- who realize it has to. I must say, looking at today's traffic reports, I don't know much, but I know one thing : you're out there.
Have a nice Tuesday everyone.
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