The Triple Crown debate: Steve Crist versus Len Ragozin

7 thoughts on “The Triple Crown debate: Steve Crist versus Len Ragozin”

  1. Crist’s column is a tough read. He provides very little in the way of argument and the reader is left drowning in rhetoric. I’m a big Steve Crist fan, but it’s a poor column, I think.

    I’m an ardent supporter of the DWL idea. 4 weeks to the Preakness, July 4th for the Belmont. When people ask me why, I say, “a lot of reasons, but the primary reason is that of all the thoroughbred race horses in the U.S., at least 90% of them will never compete in a race at 12 furlongs or longer.” Asking speed-bred horses to compete at 12 furlongs — and asking them to do so after racing in the Derby (one of the most competitive and challenging races a horse will ever be in, due to its large field size and months [years!] worth of preparation trainers put in for a specific horse pointed to the Derby) and the Preakness (a two week layoff, which is very oddly spaced in today’s racing world of “run ’em right back or give ’em three weeks”) is just absurd. (I think “conciseness” just struck out in three swings to the efforts of pitcher “sub-clause”.)

    I like tradition. But I’m no slave to it, and I don’t think horse racing should be, either. Handle is down decade-over-decade — except at racinos — so let’s re-energize this sport by re-packaging it and offering a better, improved brand to the sporting public.

  2. This reminds my of the old 60 Minutes feature Point/Counterpoint. In my opinion, both writers offer persuasive points of view. It seems to me that tradition has a huge stake in this argument. I love tradition and I don’t particularly want to see a lesser horse on the same list as Secretariat, Seattle Slew, Affirmed, etc. At the same time many would argue that tradition is one the culprits that is to blame for horse racing losing its competitive edge over the past 20 to 30 years. Times change and racing must continually change to survive. Twenty years ago a powerful friend of mine tried to get the balling rolling to change the Preakness to Memorial Day weekend and the Belmont to the 4th of July. He believed that with strong promotion, the second and third legs of the Triple Crown would fill the stands and dramatically increase television viewership as well as wagering. Not a bad idea except for traditio.n Of course, he never stood a chance! I don’t know the answer here but when you consider how another sport steeped in tradition – baseball – has changed (from a 154 game season to 162 game seasons, designated hitters, more teams, etc.) and yet is now as popular as ever, I strong case can be made for tinkering with tradition.

  3. Neither one of the writers made mention of the fact that
    the Triple Crown will be made more difficult because the state of California will continue to send the wrong type of horses eastward during the spring. These are clearly ill-suited for a three race series on the dirt.

    I just posted at my blog the early returns from the 2008
    and 2009 Triple Crown campaigns. Aside from Pioneerof the Nile second place finish, 11 of the 12 Cali-prepped horses have finished off the board during the last two years.

    With the advent of synthetics racing at Keeneland and Turfway, the job of separating the horses for a DIRT series
    becomes much more difficult now more than ever.

  4. Thanks for checking it out Sid.

    I had thought I would have more data, but these two years of synthetics racing means only two Classics seasons.

    If Pioneerof the Nile had not finished 2nd in the Kentucky Derby. We’d be looking at all California-prepped horses running off-the-board during the Triple Crown.

    I think it’ll be one more year before the mainstream media catches on to this kind of a story line.

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