Tough Times for Racing

by Ed Meyer

posted on June 27, 2019 in Blogroll, General Discussion, Horse Racing, | 2 Comments >>

At the time of this post, there are some really odd things happening. – I’m not talking about a double dead-heat on the same card or a historical payoff. – I’ve never said this before, but I believe the next year will have a great impact on the sport of kings as we know it.

Santa Anita has had more problems than Carter’s has pills. – Senate Bill 469 will allow the California Horse Racing Board power to suspend or move racing days without a 10-day public notice period, is only a signature from Gov. Gavin Newsom away from going into effect. The legislation brought by Sen. Bill Dodd was unanimously approved Monday by the legislature, Dodd’s office announced. “We must take action now to protect horses and jockeys, ensuring safety is always paramount in California horse racing,” Dodd’s statement says. “Because clearly, there is a problem here, and we can’t sit back and do nothing.” – According to Horse Racing Nation.

I never thought it would come to this, but I never thought we’d hear there were 30 Thoroughbreds lost since December. “The Great Race Place” is on the ropes and I’m of the opinion we need to come together as a sport. – The public will only stand for so much and the demands will start flying. – Well, that time is upon us. – Santa Anita Park is scheduled to resume racing in September before hosting the Breeders’ Cup for a record 10th time on Nov. 1-2. SB 469, however, will also grant the CHRB power to reallocate racing dates.

The wide cast idea of coming together as an industry seems daunting. – Start with adopting a legislating body made up of a team from; New York, Maryland, Florida, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, and California. – The body would meet quarterly and get ahead of potential problems facing the industry. Think of it like the NFL, NASCAR, NBA, and MLB.

First on the agenda is adopting a drug policy covering the entire nation. There would be no “gray” areas and trainers would know what to expect. – Have a comprehensive list of what would be used and banned. What the protocols would be, and punishments for being stepping outside the lines. – In addition, the body would study what is working in Europe, Australia, and Japan. It would be a step in the right direction in bringing together the country with a uniform policy.

Second would be the track surfaces. – Tracks would share ideas, personnel, and equipment. This would allow horsemen and trainers to bring runners to ovals with a plan in place. – I think the public would have a renewed confidence. – Drug policies and safer uniform tracks. This would be a step in the right direction.

The Breeders’ Cup has been on the tip of everyone’s tongue. – Will it be at Santa Anita, or will it go to Churchill Downs? – I think Santa Anita should be passed this year, and as Bill 469 states; ” The dates can be reallocated to other tracks.” – How about Del Mar if possible? – If not, then it goes to Churchill Downs where they have proven they are able to put on large scale events. – Not giving California the heave-ho, but allow them to move if possible to the next largest venue and if not you have an answer.

For what seems easy is far from that. – The safety of the horses, riders, and everyone participating is paramount. – I think this is the first step in gaining back public trust. In addition, there would be more educational programs to help new fans understand and keep the rumors to a minimum. – Transparency would finally be on the way.

On a personal note, I think we can learn a great deal from Japan. Japan Racing Commission is the most impressive system to learn from, and if you don’t believe just yet. They wager more on an average day as the US does on Breeders’ Cup Day. – They must be doing some good things if they have the belief of the fans.

I think it is high time we drop back and punt. –  Let’s open the system and take a long hard look at what needs fixing and now. – I’m still optimistic, but we have a long way to go. Our industry could be a model the world would accept. I’m not about to give in just yet and have the fullest confidence we can adapt for the future. – We have been passed the torch and the responsibility is ours to make it better for future generations.