Kudos to the Los Angeles Times for an editorial I read on Christmas eve.
I think one of their opinion writers nailed it, when it comes to horse racing’s future, in particular in the state of California, but really….everywhere there is horse racing.
To paraphrase him, he (Bill Barish) wrote that nowhere is there more optimism than at a racetrack. You see, even in troubled times, a convoy of yesterday’s losers can be counted on to return the next morning with their fantasies of winning the Pick Six intact.
The jockeys who got beat by a nose or a neck, along with the trainers whose horses were pinned on the rail or otherwise impeded by fate, are also ready to do battle again.
He goes on to say that optimism abounds at Santa Anita’s prospects on the opening day of its annual winter meet.
The lovely Art Deco plant is in tiptop shape, the bougainvillea’s flourishing, and track officials have every right to wish for an uptick in attendance that will defy the industry’s downward trend.
If horse racing deserves to thrive anywhere, it ought to be at America’s classiest track.
Once, Angelenos flocked to Arcadia in droves for the major stakes and handicaps. In 1958, a near-record crowd of 61,123 turned out to see the eccentric Silky Sullivan perform in the Santa Anita Derby, for instance.
I’m too young to remember that.
Silky did not disappoint.
We need more Silkys. We need more Zenyattas. And we need to spend time at some of the more beautiful race tracks in this country. And around the world, for that matter.
Don’t you think?