Editorials

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Stopping Steroids

By Ray Paulick - Steroids have been at the center of scandals in numerous sports, particularly track and field and baseball, but the only steroid scandal in racing is that they are legal.

Not On the Level

By Barry Irwin - Our sport is not ready for prime-time exposure because it is corrupt at its very core. The essence of racing is handicapping a race and betting on it. If one cannot present a level playing field, what is there to promote?

Winning Rider

By Ray Paulick - Russell Baze, unlike former Major League baseball star Rickey Henderson, knows his place in history.

Tough Guy

By Ed Golden - Paul Kallai was a tough guy. At Garden State Park, which is now an elaborate shopping center in Cherry Hill, N.J., he once tried to scale a 12-foot wall to attack a fan who was criticizing him for his ride on a losing horse.

Spanning the Globe

Ray Paulick - It's difficult to get away from talk of synthetic surfaces, whether it concerns racing in North America, Asia, Europe, or Dubai.

Horses Need No Translation

By Vic Zast - Despite their abiding love for sumo wrestling, karaoke, pachinko, and baseball, the celebrants of bounty descended upon Tokyo Race Course, home of the world's third-richest horse race -- the Japan Cup (Jpn-I). Standing a foot taller in a shirt size I can't buy at the souvenir stands, and realizing I know nothing about which horses to bet on or how to even bet them, I am feeling like a gaijin among insiders.

Japan Part I

By Ray Paulick - The Society of International Thoroughbred Auctioneers is employing a classic carrot and stick approach with the Japan Racing Association, acknowledging through official recognition of 60 graded stakes that the JRA's racing quality is high, but warning the organization that no further advancements will be recognized until non-Japanese owners are licensed to compete in that country.

My Ears Are Bent

By Pete Pedersen - Today I'm beginning to forget yesterday, but as a retired racing official, I cannot forget the language of the racetrack through the ages.

Helping the Horses

By Ray Paulick - The proposed strategic plan that came out of last month's Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summit is one of those documents or white papers that most likely will land in one of two places: the Thoroughbred industry's dust-gathering burial ground of so many other good ideas; or the hands of a leader with the energy, influence, and personal commitment to make a difference.

Phar Lap Redux

By Morton Cathro - News reports from Australia alleging that the country's legendary wonder horse, Phar Lap, died not of colic but of deliberate arsenic poisoning, has thrust affluent Atherton, a secluded enclave on the San Francisco peninsula, into the limelight once again.

Forward Progress

By Ray Paulick - After a rocky year of changes that touched both the board of directors and the organization's top executives, stakeholders in the Breeders' Cup should feel good about its new direction.

Worldly Feel

By Dan Liebman - Despite the fact they added "world" to the name of the event several years ago, most people still simply call it the Breeders' Cup. But the 23rd edition, run Nov. 4 at Churchill Downs for a record sixth time, had a worldly feel to it.

Less is More

By Ray Paulick - It's too late to change anything for 2007, but California racing will be better served by a serious reduction of racing in 2008 and beyond. It's up to the CHRB to convince the industry it's the right thing to do.

Hail to the Chief

By Andrew Rosen - Chief's Crown delivered some of the most thrilling victories and some of the most agonizing defeats. Even with all of the highs and lows, I feel honored to have been a part of Chief's Crown's legacy. His win in the first Breeders' Cup race ever run will always be remembered.

Broken Record

By Ray Paulick - For Thoroughbred trainers driven to succeed, it's all about numbers. That's the way it's been in the Hall of Fame career of D. Wayne Lukas, who virtually rewrote the record books in the 1980s, and that's how it is for his former assistant, Todd Pletcher, who Oct. 14 broke the single-season mark of 92 stakes victories established by Lukas in 1987.

Good Neighbors

By Michael Gobb - Despite Keeneland's importance to the global equine industry, its allure to tourists, and its numerous charitable contributions, many in Central Kentucky may not fully realize the value of having Keeneland as a neighbor and community partner. Blue Grass Airport experienced Keeneland's generosity firsthand Aug. 27.

Remembering Fitz

By Jason Shandler - As I watched the crowd of several hundred pile into St. Paul's Church in Philadelphia, I found myself asking: I wonder just how many of these people Fitz Eugene Dixon Jr. actually helped? My guess was that the majority benefited in one form or another from Dixon's life.

All Out

By Ray Paulick - Reaction to the Congressional ban on Internet wagering was swift and severe -- at least from stock market investors who previously were bullish about online poker, sports and horse race betting, and casinos.

The Golden Boy

By Jack Shinar - California lost the golden boy of its golden age of horse racing Sept. 26 with the death of Precisionist at the age of 25. The champion was laid to rest at Old Friends retirement home near Georgetown, Ky., where he had spent his final months.

Sound Investment

By Ray Paulick - The political power the horse racing industry now enjoys in our nation's capital is a result of a strategy planned and executed by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, and supported by knowledgeable individuals who understand that contributions to the NTRA's Legislative Action Campaign and Political Action Committee are an investment in their future.

Crystal Clear

By Davant Latham - He was not quite the fairy tale horse; he was too real for that. He was brilliant, vibrantly alive, and physically imposing, but has passed quietly into that soft, black night. He was Lost in the Fog.

Return for Deposit

By Ray Paulick - Increased distribution along with the convenience of telephone or Internet betting resulted in double-digit increases of advance deposit wagering handle in 2003-2005. Del Mar reported a 24% increase one year ago, which makes this year's 7% drop all the more puzzling -- and alarming.

Strange Bedfellows

By Ray Paulick - The median household income for a family living in the United States was $46,326 in 2005 -- about $1,000 less than what a bloodstock agent would make in the purchase of a $950,000 horse if the agent was working for a client who agreed to pay a 5% commission, considered a standard fee by many in the Thoroughbred industry.

It's Common Sense

By John Oxley - I believe the vast majority of owners and trainers want a level playing field where horsemanship counts and the best horses win. I believe they also want to see the cheaters severely punished. Repeat offenders should be eliminated from our sport. These are the objectives of the RMTC.

Locks

By Ray Paulick - Last time I looked there were no sure things in racing. There are, however, some pretty safe bets. Here are a few I see.

A Trying Time

By Ray Paulick - There is profound sadness in the Bluegrass region as its residents and extended network of friends and family begin to deal with the tragedy of Comair flight 5191, which left 49 people dead when it crashed on takeoff at the end of Lexington's Blue Grass Airport Runway 26 in the pre-dawn hours of Aug. 27.

Gone Tomorrow?

By Ray Paulick - At the 45th Annual Jockey Club Round Table Conference on Matters Pertaining to Racing in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., on Aug. 10, 1997, Ogden Mills "Dinny" Phipps, then and now chairman of The Jockey Club, proclaimed that the "National Thoroughbred Racing Association is an idea whose time has come."

Track of Dreams

By Tammy Thomas Curlin - When I read about Churchill Downs' reluctance to re-open Fair Grounds in New Orleans for live racing this year I was reminded of that famous line "If you build it, he will come" from the wonderful movie Field of Dreams.

Surgeries and Steroids

By Ray Paulick - A survey of buyers of Thoroughbred weanlings, yearlings, and 2-year-olds discovered that surgeries to correct conformation defects have a significant influence on whether or not someone will buy a horse at public auction.

One Reason Why

By Dan Liebman - Even Carl Hanford, on the day of his induction into the Hall of Fame, said the reason he was selected for membership was because of one horse. He's right, but is that necessarily a bad thing?

Queen of Saratoga

By Ray Paulick - In the few steps she took, in that brief appearance in the Saratoga winner's circle, fans and admirers of Marylou Whitney witnessed uncommon courage and the heart of a champion.

Pilgrimage With The Past

By Sue Sefscik - The Central Florida day dawned clear, bright, and slightly windy with low humidity. It was the perfect day to take a 90-minute drive from my home on Florida's east coast to Ocala, located nearly halfway across the state.

Franchise Fracas

By Ray Paulick - Over the next few weeks, the contenders and pretenders angling for the right to operate the New York Thoroughbred racing franchise at Aqueduct, Belmont Park, and Saratoga will be finalizing their paperwork in the request for proposal process developed by the Ad Hoc Committee on the Future of Racing.

Second Season

By Evan Hammonds - Major League Baseball just celebrated its All-Star Game last month in Pittsburgh, representing the traditional midpoint as "America's Pastime" heads into its second season and hits the turn on its run to the World Series in October. So, too, is Thoroughbred racing entering its second season.

Waiting for Logic

By Dan Liebman - From the belt buckles to the Longhorns, things are big in Texas. How's this for big--one billion dollars. That's billion, with nine zeros.

Eclipse Expansion

By Ray Paulick - Keeneland's director of racing, W.B. Rogers Beasley, earlier this year made an interesting case for expansion of the Eclipse Awards from 11 to 15 equine categories (including steeplechasers). Suggested additions were 3-year-old males and 3-year-old fillies on turf, filly and mare sprinters, and turf sprinters.

The Old Lion's Horses

By Bill Shanklin - The train from London takes me to Sevenoaks Station in the gently rolling English countryside. At the nearby taxi rank, finely attired folks are about to embark for Royal Ascot and the afternoon races. My destination is different. I am here for a visit to the home of the most venerated racehorse owner and breeder of any era.

Cut Down to Size

By Ray Paulick - In light of the industry's reticence to hand over any real power to the NTRA, downsized expectations and downsized staffing make perfect sense.

Shout

By Richard B. Shapiro - A racetrack operator, who shall go unnamed, recently said to me, "It isn't that I don't like you personally, but frankly, I think you are dangerous for the sport." He went on to tell me that I talk too much at the California Horse Racing Board meetings and that I would be better off if I didn't push so hard and just backed off. His view is that I have ideas that won't work for the most part, and I am causing too much dissension in the industry.

Beneath the Surface

By Ray Paulick - In California, where the safety-conscious California Horse Racing Board has mandated synthetic surfaces by the end of 2007 for the state's major tracks, an opportunity arose for the various track operators to seek a common solution.

A Royal Experience

By Vic Zast - It is wrong to believe that only devotees with a love of the Thoroughbred deserve a place in the Turf Club. Or that to be a genuine fan one must take racing seriously. Racing is best when it's democratic, not burdened by snobbery.

Triple Threat

By Ray Paulick - Beginning in 1985, when the three Triple Crown host racing associations--Churchill Downs, the Maryland Jockey Club, and the New York Racing Association--joined together to form Triple Crown Productions, the series clearly began to benefit and grow. But the alliance has cracked, resulting this past year in separate television contracts and the loss of a title sponsor.

Name Dropping

By Evan I. Hammonds - I don't recall the meeting when it was first discussed, but I remember volunteering. Looking for new avenues of coverage for racing's big events--the Triple Crown, the Breeders' Cup--on bloodhorse.com, the idea of a "blog" came up. "Blog," short for "Web log," is a relatively new concept and is still subject to debate for its actual purpose and application.

Meet the New Boss

By Ray Paulick - Some people may have been surprised to see a relatively unknown 18-year-old jockey aboard Jazil in the June 10 Belmont Stakes (gr. I)-but they shouldn't have been.

Much Is Being Done

By Dell Hancock - As with all accidents, racing's do happen. But we all need to make sure that, while they may never be totally eliminated, we are working hard to rid racing of as many as possible and deal successfully with those that cannot be avoided.

Serve It Up

By Ray Paulick - Why has it been so difficult for the racing industry to put together a meaningful series of races leading up to the Breeders' Cup World Championships?

More Than We Know

By Joe Clancy - Other sports hold more popularity than racing, but nobody ever stood on an overpass to wish a linebacker good luck in his surgery. The horses matter, and people care more than those of us in racing know.

Match Point

By Dan Liebman - There has been a great deal of emotion lately at Hilary Boone Jr.'s Wimbledon Farm near Lexington--first with Barbaro, and now with both Barbaro and Bernardini.

Grandmaster

By Ray Paulick - If Barbaro can safely pass his next test, in the 131st running of the Preakness May 20, Matz' strategy will have worked to perfection. It will then be up to Barbaro to prove his place in the annals of the Turf come Belmont day.

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