This Saturday the best horses of the year will congregate in Santa Anita, CA for the world champions of horse racing also known conspicuously as the Breeders' Cup. Here are some quick thoughts before the Reverend and I make the picks that pay for the chicks.
The Cup's handlers have expanded the number of races to 14 and once again will run the races over two days. Have you ever sent an evite for a party you are hosting and begin to worry that no one will show up so you begin to invite second tier friends to get a good showing? That's what the Breeders Cup did. Struggling to pull off a great event, they have decided to invite everybody to race hoping that more horses will enhance the experience. Instead, they have diluted the quality of the races and have turned the marquee Classic into a joke by allowing owners to run in a Dirt Mile to avoid facing Curlin. You have a dull party because your attendees are a hodge podge of random people only you know, and you're all stuck watching the free beer and drunk guy dance with the popcorn bowl.
I recently read an article about how the promoters are trying to put the Breeders' Cup on the same map as the Super Bowl. In the same breath he used the expected appearance of Jerry O'Connell as an example. As a horse racing enthusiast that provides critique for the improvement of the sport and has utmost faith in the Breeders' Cup, I puked a little in my mouth and in the same breath respectfully suggest they 'try again.'
Since they have expanded the volume of races, this will be the second year of races on Friday and Saturday (last year it was because of a small venue). Sadly, this will probably be a reoccurring format of the event. This is a question about what horse racing wants to be. Is it the Kentucky Derby where only the fanciest hats may apply or is it for the guys that consistently bet on the ponies but need to actually go to work on Fridays? As a middle class man trying to get a nut to move your butt (as C + C Music Factory would say), the full card on Friday is wasted. Expect decent numbers on the amount gambled because of the slew of races, but totals will not meet expectations and it is not because of the economy.
In all likelihood, I will have to watch Hank Goldberg stammering incoherently all Saturday, proving immediately his inability to do his job. I think watching him last year may have been the reason that I was praying to the porcelain gods not the fifth of vodka I polished off.
Big Brown's foot injury before facing Curlin is like saying you have cold sore at the close of your date with Jenna Jameson.