Tuesday, May 19, 2020


Things can really get messed up during this odd time we're living in. It's just a matter of fact.

But boy, do we in horse racing love tradition. The Belmont Stakes going to 9 furlongs (not a typo, I saw a DRF guy tweet out the news) spurred some of the most-excellent diatribes I've ever seen on my twitter timeline.

We can propose to change the NBA playoffs so they're played in gyms in Las Vegas; we can talk about a quick NHL season where it closes out and four teams make the playoffs. We can talk - even without COVID issues - about whatever it is the baseball playoffs now are, where Mr. October plays in November; we can expand the NFL playoffs system where everyone gets a car!

But a shorter Belmont?!

This characteristic, I find, is pretty unique to this game.

Sometimes this is maddening - I'd love people to not love the tradition of high takeout so much - but in this instance, it's an arrow right to the bullseye, isn't it?

The Belmont is the test, the final leg, the one that has doomed so many horses for so long (unless he's trained by Bob Baffert). It has a certain panache, it's special, it's unique, it's the freaking Belmont.  The Belmont is not the Donn that has been turned into the Pegasus; the Met Mile raced in June; it's not a race where a past winner, looking down from horse heaven, is neighing, "one turn, seriously?".

I get why they're doing this, and I know you do too. But it doesn't mean we have to be happy about it. As my old pal Chip on twitter said when he tweeted the news, "it's gross".

Have a good Tuesday everyone.

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