OP/ED Authors:

Op/Ed

Op/Ed: Time to Double Down

Anne Sabatino Hardy is Executive Director of Visit Horse Country I didn't grow up around horses, but I did grow up with a gambler. My dad liked Craps and Blackjack mostly, and played well. According to family legend, during a high school spring break trip to Las Vegas, one successful late-night Craps game was punctuated by "Annie needs a new prom dress!" I can't verify the story (my parents had standards, after all--I was relegated to the room), but indeed my first prom dress was secured during a visit to...

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Open Letter to the Industry: Data, Wagering and the Future of Racing

Editor's Note: the following is part of the Thoroughbred Idea Foundation's weekly 'Free-Data Friday' series. #FreeDataFriday--VOLUME 17: DATA, WAGERING AND THE FUTURE OF RACING At some point the horse racing industry--owners, racetracks and industry organizations--stopped caring about gambling on live horse racing. If gambling on horse racing was any sort of priority, distributing free data would be one of the first things the industry would do. Get data into the hands of customers. Despite their massive contribution to racing, horse owners are required to relinquish any rights to data, even...

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Op/Ed: We Hired Two Millennials

We hired two millennials and it enriched my perspective. While I may be considered young, I caution that assumption as I am closer to 50 than 20, and hiring two individuals in their 20's has given me great hope for our sport. At this time I will focus on one, the Experience Coordinator, first of its kind in Mill Ridge (or Beaumont Farm) history. Liza van Dissel was hired to run our Horse Country experience at Mill Ridge. This involves giving tours, promoting our experiences in social media channels, and...

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Letter to the Editor: No Better Ambassador than the Horse

Back in November 2015, we were privileged to welcome American Pharoah (Pioneerof the Nile), "a horse of a lifetime" to our roster of stallions at Ashford Stud. With his arrival came many inquiries and phone calls from the public and fans looking to visit Ashford; we knew we had a responsibility to the industry and we wanted to find a way to allow access. We met with Visit Horse Country and set a schedule to enable fans to come and see their equine heroes. Shortly afterwards they launched sales to...

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TDN Op/Ed: the Black-Type System and Cataloguing Standards are Ripe for Overhaul

The modern black-type system began to take shape in Europe in 1971 when group designators were introduced to differentiate different levels of stakes races. This system was widened to North America/Canada in 1973 and was further refined by the creation of the International Cataloguing Standards Committee in 1981 and the Society of International Thoroughbred Auctioneers in 1983. Barring minor refinements and further geographical expansion, the core system has stayed much the same since. To summarise how it works, the system categorises races around the world into Group/Grade 1s, 2s, 3s...

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Op/Ed: Are Race Horses Being Put in Danger?

Editor's Note: The below editorial originally appeared in the Toronto Star on Wednesday, May 22, 2019 and is being republished here with the author's permission. Does the racing of horses carelessly force them into a danger zone? No. Horses love to run and compete. They do it naturally. From the day they are born thoroughbreds run in fields. When the foals are weaned and grouped, they race each other naturally, to see who is better at what they do best. It is what they love to do. It is what...

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Op/Ed: Never Let a Good Crisis Go to Waste

I imagine if you are reading this, we share something in common--the love of horses and horse racing. Like me, you may even make your living and provide for family by working in this industry. When I get the TDN Alerts at night that another important governing body is calling for an end to racing or to shut down the track, I feel sick to my stomach and can't sleep. And then I get up in the morning and read/listen to the finger pointing and infighting within the industry. The...

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Op/Ed: The CHRB May Just Have Saved the Sport of Horse Racing

When the members of the California Horse Racing Board voted Thursday to ban the use of the whip (and it is a whip and not a crop) my first thought was one of relief. That was not so much because I've never been a supporter of whipping animals or understood the insistence on the part of the other side that whipping was necessary. No, it's because I knew I could go to sleep later that night a lot more confident that my sport will survive. There will be plenty, maybe...

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Op/Ed: When Does Too Much of a Good Thing Become a Bad Thing?

When living concurrently amid an uninterrupted supply of excellence, at what point do we take it for granted and accept it as the norm? The era of super-sire Galileo (Ire) with his numerous Derby-winning and Group 1-supplying sons is something that will continue to be written about in the ages to come. Showing no signs of slowing down at the age of 21, Galileo is casually superseding his own standard-setting sire's records, last year overtaking his number of individual Group 1 winners and bringing his own tally to 75. Considering...

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Harsh Reality at Bottom of Foal Market

Following the completion of the foal and breeding stock sales in Great Britain and Ireland, there has been much comment about the state of the bloodstock market. While the middle and top end have arguably never been stronger, the bottom end of the market has plummeted to a state not seen since the years following the worldwide financial crisis a decade ago. It is easy to gloss over what has happened at the bottom of the market as being a result of overproduction leading to supply exceeding demand. However, to...

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Trying to Stay in the Buggy

Mentor: 1. a wise and trusted counselor to teacher 2. an influential senior sponsor or supporter From Greek, Mentos , a character in the Odyssey, who was a loyal friend and advisor to Odysseus entrusted with the care and education of Telemachus (his son). I met my mentor, John T.L. Jones, Jr., in the late 70s. I was at the beginning of my bloodstock career having just left training at the racetrack. R. D. Hubbard told me, "When you go to Lexington, you need to look up Johnny Jones," who...

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Op/Ed: Read This

Read this. No, seriously, if you care for Thoroughbred racing at all and especially if you work or are invested in Thoroughbred racing or any of the many parts that surround it--click here and read this. Is this article unbalanced? Balance was not even attempted. Is the context accurate? It throws our breed in with the pro-slaughter Quarter Horse horsemen. Does it misrepresent our industry's efforts and where our sport is heading? It makes it sound like we don't even care, let alone spend increasing millions annually on horses retiring...

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