The Happy Horseplayer

by Ed Meyer

posted on July 26, 2019 in Blogroll, General Discussion, Handicapping, Horse Racing | No Comments >>

Another summer month is rolling by and it got me to reflect on the game we love. – Saratoga is in full swing, and this past weekend brought blistering heat to most of the nation. Add in the problems facing racing and you have one player with many things to ponder. But rest assured, we have been here before many times.

Saratoga

Are than any sweeter words in the language of a horseplayer? Nope. – Watching the big-name outfits converge on a sleepy little town that turns into Hollywood is incredible. – The Ortiz brothers, Javier Castellano, Jose Lezcano, Luis Saez, Joel Rosario, Flavien Prat, and a host of others stay or ship to give us the best. – Pletcher, Baffert, Brown, Asmussen, Casse, Mott and Cox will lead over some of the best runners in the nation if not the world. – Yeah, to say it’s magical may be an understatement.

I’ve been enjoying each day, and even if I don’t have a wager I still love to watch the beauty and pageantry. – Saratoga is one-of-a-kind and will entertain the stars to the hardcore fans. – Marylou Whitney has passed and many times I read with anticipation of her parties and events. She created programs and charities to help many, and by the way. She raced horses with the best. It still seems like yesterday when Birdstone blew past Smarty Jones to win the Belmont. – When interviewed after the race, there was a true sense of sorrow that history was denied that day. That my friends is true sportsmanship. She will be missed by many. The people who read with anticipation, the many she helped through her endeavors, and the racing world will shed a tear.

Hotter than Georgia asphalt

The past weekend had tracks all around the nation canceling races. – The safety of the horse is paramount as well as human athletes. Fans from all walks understood and got behind the idea. – Some tracks tried to run and took extra measures to ensure safety for horses and fans. But, even “Ma Nature” can’t be halted. She had her wrath, and as an industry, we learned a great deal. – Monmouth Park took it on the chin being down 35% on Haskell Day.

Take a closer look

The world of racing is under a microscope. – It’s not just California, it’s everywhere. – The public outcry as with any sports is starting to gain momentum. Thoroughbred racing has been conducted since the 1700s, and in the states since settlements were established. – The “watchers from outside the fences” will cry foul and stop the madness. – But are they willing to add-in: Football, Baseball, Basketball, Rugby, Soccer, NASCAR, Boxing, MMA, Hockey, and pee-wee sports for children? – Probably not. – But racing is under the watchful eyes of many who don’t know the game. – When I read the chat rooms and some non-fans offer up a poll to end horse racing it hurts my heart. – If anyone would spend a day watching how the men and women tirelessly devote their lives to caring for the horses and putting them first at all costs. How tracks spend millions of dollars and countless hours in meeting rooms deciding how to have the safest racing surfaces. – I’m sure the naysayers would not believe it takes place. – Does racing need to address issues and plan for the future? Yes. – But the elimination of the sport is long-range damaging. Thoroughbred horses are not romping on the plains running free. They have been bred over hundreds of years to be the type of horse they are. How about the countless jobs lost? – Trainers who tend to the horses, riders who have been born into the sport. The van and transport companies who ensure our runners arrive safely. Where will the feed companies go, or the ones who bale and bring the hay and straw? How about the vets, mutuel clerks, track employees, farriers, valets, starters, tractor drivers, and countless others who are employed in roles that serve racing off the track?

Before you vote in social media chat rooms to end a sport. Doesn’t it make more sense to ensure safety, eliminate performance-enhancing drugs, and create the safest racing surface for horses to run? Yes. – It is our duty to make this sport as safe as possible with no costs spared. – I guess watching one race a year gives you a voice to get rid of something you don’t understand. Beware football season you are next up with a bevy of professional and college games. These same voices will ramp up to eliminate your sport and so on.

I’ve been watching racing all of my life. My dad, grandpa, aunts and uncles, and many before them. – I guess I’m a product of racing as well when my grandparents were married on the way to the 1938 Kentucky Derby. They met at old Latonia Race Course and shortly after stopped in Gallatin County to be wed at the justice of the peace. – He had the winner that day and a family was created. – I guess I’m a little biased, but that’s because I’ve tossed hay, watched them being cared for, paid the bills to keep them healthy, and voiced for the betterment of the sport versus the elimination. – Keep an open mind and if you want to be a voice, get a little closer to truly examine whats happening. – As in all sports, there are measures to be taken that will make the game safer for all. Racing has been working overtime and give it some time. I think you’ll start hearing the changes happening.

The Happy Horseplayer wishes you the best of luck, and enjoy the races. – “May your winners be many and your photos be few.”

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