Friday, May 16, 2008

Go Big Brown!

There are no sure things in horseracing but I sure am rooting for Big Brown to win the Preakness tomorrow and set up an exciting Triple Crown shot in the Belmont Stakes. You can't really bet him and it's hard to bet against him unless you think the prospects of an off track may move another horse up.
It's interesting to see how the tragic death of Eight Belles after the Kentucky Derby has focussed attention on what are almost certainly necessary changes in the sport. The initial reaction of blaming the jockey and the trainer for her death betrayed an ignorance of the facts. Clamoring for synthetic tracks is also not a panacea -- numerous horses broke down on the synthetic surfaces in California. The track at Del Mar supposedly melted at one point. Horses are breaking down because soundness has been bred out of them. The owners and breeders are to blame for the fragility of the breed, and fortunately that observation has taken hold. Joe Drape wrote an exceptionally fine piece on the subject in the New York Times, and the Times followed up with some great quotes from trainer Nick Zito. Horseracing's management has held a plantation mentality about the sport for far too long as the public has opted for other forms of wagering. Let's hope they see the light before it's too late.

No comments: