Monday, November 25, 2019

Horse Racing's Mainstream Column Inches

Horse racing has always seemed to crave mainstream press, because, as the thought goes, mainstream press means relevance with the general public. I don't see a need to debate that point (which I believe is a little dubious in 2019), but it's been a hard industry ask since Seabiscuit-War Admiral match race radio feeds.

Today (thanks for the tweet) there was an editorial in the Los Angeles Times titled, Saudi Money in U.S. Horse Racing is the Next Moral Jam. The opinion focuses on how Saudi Arabia's charm offensive (usually with cold hard cash) is used to quell criticisms of their regime, and how horse racing dutifully comes to the rescue to help them out.

I read the article half-expecting it to be written by a racing hater, or someone vested in the breakdown issue, or some other insider piling on. It wasn't; it was written by the Executive Director for International Studies at M.I.T.

Breakdowns at Santa Anita have opened a box; one of the Pandora variety. Every day people hear about racing's practices, are a little startled, and then start to dig thinking there must be more. And when they do dig, they tend to hit some paydirt.

When Brett wrote long ago, "Do you ever find racing craves mainstream press, but not mainstream opinion?" this is probably what he had in mind. Until some of these long-standing racing issues are addressed, I think we should probably expect more of it.

Have a nice Monday everyone.

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