Race fans tend to get attached to certain horses. We sort of can’t help ourselves: they are great looking animals full of personality and even a $2 bet gives us a rooting interest in how they run.
But when someone takes a shot at “our” horse, we tend to overreact. It doesn’t matter if you’re male or female, we all get over-protective. I’m as guilty as the next guy. Besides the horses I co-manage for Post Parade Racing, I will defend Zenyatta, Unzip Me, Blind Luck, Force Freeze, and a whole bunch of Romans runners until the cows come home.
But we have to remember that someone saying something negative about a horse we’ve become attached to is anything but a personal attack. Racing is a sport of opinions: it’s literally what drives pari-mutuel wagering. Odds are basically the public’s way of saying “I like my horse more than yours.” And if you don’t like the way the rest of the public is thinking, take a stand and put your money down.
Earlier this year, I made a comment that I wish all horses trained like Shackleford. I was called a “homer” for this, but instead of taking it personally, I took the time to explain that I didn’t mean it as a girly “OMG ~ he’s like, so totally, adorbs!” Rather, that he’s the kind of horse that makes it easy for me to do my job.
More recently, I wrote a blog at HorseRacingNation that included the (paraphrased) line: Creative Cause doesn’t have the will to win. This was misconstrued as a cheap shot against the Mike Harrington trainee and I apparently lost a fan.
I’m sorry. I truly never meant to offend anyone.
Let me explain myself… if you know me, you know that I’ve been screaming about Creative Cause since literally the very first day he stepped foot onto Hollywood Park’s synthetic surface. I was his biggest fan and still believe he’s a talent. However, where I feel he’s fallen down on the job, is in his ability to take aim on the front runners, level off, and draw clear for the victory. The last time we saw him do this was right at the wire in the G2 San Felipe before galloping out like a monster.
Instead of beating horses by big margins, the gray son of Giant’s Causeway likes to get into individual battles but idles when it comes time to get into gear and put the rival away. Ever since Majestic City came over on him in the G1 Del Mar Futurity last summer, he just hasn’t had the same killer instinct.
My comment on Creative Cause probably deserved more of an explanation than I gave in the original blog. I should have explained that it’s more about him seemingly losing confidence than him losing (or never having had) the will to win.
I would never take a cheap shot at a horse. Period. But am I afraid to say when I think a certain horse needs time to mature or isn’t the same as he used to be? No. And that’s true with any professional athlete.
I’m by no means perfect, but I was able to address both the above issues because I keep in mind that not everyone is going to like the same horses as I do. That’s simply the nature of the beast.