Thursday, August 27, 2009

Heading Down the Work Week Homestretch

It's Travers weekend in Saratoga tomorrow, so let's hope that a little sun peeks through and keeps things dry. A quick rundown of the end of the week's Horsebites:

  • Racing fans in Saratoga emitted a collective groan on Tuesday over news that Derby winner Mine That Bird is still on the mend from his epigilottal surgery and won't be contending Saturday's Shadwell Travers Stakes. What began as a Travers match-up sent straight from equine sports marketing heaven (all three Triple Crown Stakes winners in the same race) has now dwindled down to a field of 7 less press-centric horses, of which Quality Road is currently favored to win. While NYRA originally predicted a Travers Day customer population of around 50,000, it is likely that the diminished card, along with Saturday's rainy, chilly forecast, will turn away a number of casual Travers fans.
  • A great opportunity has just been announced for young people looking to break into the professional side of the equine industry. The Kentucky Horse Council will be holding a seminar in Georgetown, KY entitled "Your Future With Horses" on November 14th, 2009. The event will feature industry professionals discussing their chosen fields and career paths, and provide college students the opportunity to make decisions about equine related majors, internships and career goals.
  • What recession? The National Reining Horse Association just announced that entries for its 2009 NRHA Futurity have totaled 799 thus far, the second highest number of horses entered in the competition's history. While this means competition will be stiff, it is a good sign that people are going ahead and showing their horses and investing in their industry even with the economy in its current suffering state.
  • And a timely update to the Thoroughbred retirement story from my last post: The recently incepted NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance has formed a Subcommittee on Aftercare to bring leaders in the Thoroughbred world together in pursuit of a better solution to the retirement/aftercare problem. Mike Ziegler, executive director of the Safety and Integrity Alliance had this to say about the process: "Through cohesiveness and cooperation among all parties, we think we can create a model that can make it easier for racetracks, owners, and others to provide retired Thoroughbreds with a happy and productive life after their racetrack days are over." This is an excellent step in the right direction for the industry, and I hope it will bring about real and committed change.

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