Every so often, we will be addressing a few things: comments, decisions, people, whatever that – for one reason or another – should be tossed into the literary “muck pit.”

It is in the spirit of cleanliness, recycling, and protecting the environment that we offer this service of “addressing the muck” – free of charge. After all, someone has to do it, right?

And, it didn’t take long for us to find a few pounds of, well, manure. Here is our SEVENTH EDITION:


On Feb. 5, the Breeders’ Cup announced that its’ Board of Directors and others had decided to add another major event to the World Championships card and program. With a bit of a drum roll, it was pronounced that the Juvenile Turf Sprint — which had been part of the undercard in previous Breeders’ Cup events — had graduated and now would become part of the real deal.

The purse will be elevated from the previous amounts to a new high of $1 million. The race will be contested at about 51/2 furlongs. And, the race will be open to all 2-year-olds who are nominated and subscribed.

In addition, the Breeders’ Cup announced that it was increasing the purse for the TwinSpires Breeders’ Cup Sprint from its’ purse of $1.5 million to $2 million.

All told now, on Nov. 2 and Nov. 3 at Churchill Downs, the Breeders’ Cup will host 14 races that will exceed $30 million in purses and awards.

A positive in the world of horse racing. More major events. More purse money. More chances for owners to make noise, and breeders’ to recoup investment. More reasons to nominate foals to the Breeders’ Cup. More fun, right.

Well, one would think. But darn that Breeders’ Cup and those dastardly, mean-spirited Board of Directors for trying to add more excitement to the industry. Shame on those executives and directors for trying to be innovative, forward-thinking, and reward the rapidly growing segment of the American racing scene known as turf racing. How dare they do something to grow the business; make something more lucrative; create new opportunities.

I didn’t realize it until I scrolled through Twitter — the new encyclopedia of sports authorities — that the Breeders’ Cup is ignorant and its’ Board members are simple-minded, self-serving, egomaniac jerks.

After all, just read what Jay Hovdey, of The Daily Racing Form, wrote on his Twitter account:

“There seems to be a new “breed” of Breeders’ Cup director intent upon stamping their imprint (editor’s note: how do you make an imprint without stamping? Yet, we digress) on the event merely for the sake of doing something for which they can take credit. No respect for either tradition or mandate.”

And, then the piling on came in a rush. From such literary giants and deep thinkers as Andy Sterling, Craig Milkowski, Tom LaMarra, and others. Some even went so far as to write — or is it, Twit? — that the Breeders’ Cup, in its entirety, should be scrapped.


The truth is, Jay, if you ever stopped to consider, there never would have been a Breeders’ Cup without the brave imagination of a man named John Gaines, who was hit with the same kinds of criticism and crass indignation as you have levied when he attempted to convince his counterparts and his competitors to give innovation a try.

Along with Fred Pope, Mr. Gaines’ consistent and constant friend and ally, the two of them took a dream and made it a reality — despite the fact that many people laughed, criticized, joked, and ridiculed. They were the ones that pushed on, when others would rather pull down. They were the ones that saw opportunity, when others were blinded by either greed or envy.

I know. I was there. I saw it. I listened to it. And, I watched a miracle happen because a couple of men wouldn’t be crippled by ignorance or fear. A few years later, Fred Pope and Mr. Gaines hired me to help with the ground roots of what was to become the NTA, which morphed, unfortunately, into the NTRA. Never to be — at least, not yet — what it was intended to become, and that’s the “Commissioner’s Office” of Thoroughbred Racing. Maybe someday that, too, will be a reality, and a posthumous tribute to Mr. Gaines.

But the simple truth is that the Breeders’ Cup has been one of America’s greatest racing success stories. As in, ever. It gave Thoroughbred racing a Championship Day, sure. But it gave  the sport so much more. Like a reason to create other events — throughout the year — that lead up to the grand finale. It gave owners reasons to keep their very best horses in training and running. It gave trainers a goal to shoot for at the end of the year, and not just at the beginning. It gave race fans a reason to look forward; fuss and feud; and ultimately bet against and for.

There was no magic to selecting the original races to comprise the Breeders’ Cup. It started out as an attempt to marry up what the Eclipse Awards did by vote with what should always be decided by race. Yet, the original list of races didn’t come without egos banging heads and fists banging tables. Such were the temperaments of those gents in those days.

To increase the extravaganza to two days was brilliant, especially for the horse fan who is traveling thousands of miles to watch the world’s best equine athletes. Yet, that was not a decision entered into lightly either.

To put the Marathon on the list and then take it off, was a debate. To host the event at a smaller venue — like Keeneland and Del Mar — was somewhat controversial. To choose what races fell on what days, when it was expanded to two days, was not easy.

Yet, they were good decisions all.

But to claim that this group of “Board of Directors” made this decision to simply put their name and mark on the event? That is a bit of an exaggeration, don’t you think? No. Let me rephrase. That, my friend, is a ludicrous statement and allegation, without merit and totally unwarranted.

The fact is that 2-year-old racing and turf racing have grown in popularity and in numbers over the past few years. I, for one, am thrilled with the expansion of both. They are both good for the sport. And, to add the race to the list of Breeders’ Cup events, only makes since in that evolution. You do believe in evolution, don’t you?

You may suggest, as you did in your twitter feed, that the current Breeders’ Cup Board of Directors showed: “No respect for either tradition or mandate.”

To be honest, Jay, I don’t quite understand whose mandate they should be following, but having known both Mr. Gaines and Fred Pope, I think they would applaud this Board’s spirit and imagination, if not the decision itself. Some day, maybe even soon, the Board decides to change the list of races again. Maybe then, the members of the Board will be given a little more credit than crass criticism.

If not for innovation; if not for trying new ideas; if not for expansion, the industry is surely to wither and die. I think it is with that spirit that the entire concept of the Breeders’ Cup was invented by its’ creator — Mr. Gaines. And, it is with that idea that it has succeeded and grown, under the careful tutelage of people like D.G. Van Clief, the honorable James Bassett III, and, now, Craig Fravel. I am proud that today’s Board of Directors share that same vision as its’ creator and predecessors.

They are not a new “breed,” Jay, they are direct descendants from one of the game’s best sire’s of gamesmanship.

Job well done.