Breeders’ Cup Mile

Five races and three winners paying more than $30. Despite being a long-shot player, I haven’t had any of them, although I liked Thor’s Echo. Miesque’s Approval’s Beyer was not going up, but it wasn’t going down either. He had a 104 his past two races. In the next one, the Distaff, Beyers are going up for Fleet Indian, Balletto, Pine Island and Pool Land. Four-horse exacta box, anyone?

4 thoughts on “Breeders’ Cup Mile

  1. Here’s what happened: In the past, the fall chioapmnship meet at Belmont was just that, and other big races throughout the year received their just due. Then the Breeders’ Cup came along and diminished their value, even killing off some like the historic D.C. International, which just had no place in this world with the arrival of the Breeders’ Cup Turf. So, all the great races became less so because the Breeders’ Cup, we were told, was what counted. The issue was then compounded by unforunate developments in the media: The new school of editor was an Ivy League type, a silver spoon type, not a beer-in-the-drawer type. The new breed, now in prominence, believes the world begins and ends with the NFL, college football and basketball, and then baseball. These people were not brought up under fathers who watched boxing and horse racing. They were brought up under football men and golf men. So, when newspapers began to feel the pressure to turn greater profits from Wall Street, they made cuts, and those department cuts came down on the sports the editors had no affinity for. When the racing writers grew old, they were not replaced. When the editors saw the chance, they eliminated charts and entries. All the while, to show they cared which they do not they focused more and more on the Triple Crown. They put the series once just a lovely part of the fabric of a longer year of horse racing on steroids. They artificially enhanced its importance. Breeders recognized this and exploited it, compounding the perception of value for their own ends. You could argue that racing should feel lucky it even gets this attention; after all, the heavyweight chioapmnship of the world these days has been reduced to AP wire copy in most papers. In the days of Joe Louis, people used to run into the street and bang pots and pans after he won. Ali’s fights, don’t forget, were shown on network television in prime time. The Belmont did whopping numbers, by the way, a 10.7 share, so people still love racing, but the sport’s agenda has been set by outsiders who would play the NFL draft a draft! above a racing story 10 times out of 10. I love the Triple Crown and find its plot arc fascinating every single year. I have heard snatches of conversation wherever I have gone this past week about Big Brown. People, I say to myself, are talking about horse racing. So maybe your reaction to and feelings about the Triple Crown are largely in recognition that things are out of balance and other things of value are being overlooked and ignored, and you would be absolutely right. But if sports editors would let the people who know about racing tell their stories year-round instead of just for eight weeks, the public would come back, drawn with fascination toward perhaps the greatest game every devised. J.S.

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