Drape: Greatest Prize at Ascot is the Honor, Not the Money
For trainers who come to Royal Ascot’s meet from all over the world, the best part of winning a race isn’t the money, writes Joe Drape for The New York Times. Many Americans could run for stronger purses most weekends at home. Instead, the excitement comes from the privilege of winning on one of racing’s greatest stages, in a country where the sport is revered by the mainstream press and public.
Racing is constantly visible on British television, with Channel 4 showing 88 afternoons of racing and 64 mornings of a handicapping show through the year–quite a contrast from the fleeting public visibility of the Triple Crown.
A royal presence helps of course, as does the proximity of nearby Windsor Castle. Not since President Andrew Jackson, who ran a stable from the White House, has racing had “such a powerful advocate” for racing as Queen Elizabeth, who enjoyed a historic Gold Cup victory last week.
“Horse racing is in our blood,” said Nick Luck, Channel 4’s racing anchor. “It’s not just about backing horses with the bookies, either. It’s about watching them run and knowing that they are athletes.”
That recognition of horses as athletes rather than simply wagering interests, Drape writes, may be the greatest difference of all between American and British racing.
Read more at The New York Times