View From the Eighth Pole

View From the Eighth Pole: No Horse Racing Commission, No Transparency In Florida

It didn’t take long for trainer Victor Barboza Jr. to find the winner’s circle after being reinstated at Gulfstream Park by the Hallandale Beach, Fla., track’s owner, The Stronach Group, which reportedly handed the Venezuela native a six-month suspension in November for having unlabeled medication in his barn. Granpollo Stable’s Gran Greyfrost won a low-level […]

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View From The Eighth Pole: Practice What You Preach On Equine Safety

The first Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summit was held at Keeneland racetrack in October 2006 and brought together a respected group of owners, breeders, trainers, jockeys veterinarians, racetrack officials and regulators. The summit was arranged months after Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro sustained a severe injury in the Preakness that eventually took his life. […]

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View From The Eighth Pole: American Exceptionalism In The Graded Stakes Process

In December 2018, I suggested the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association’s American Graded Stakes Committee lacked common sense when it came time to assigning designations to the best races in this country. Nothing has changed in the last 12 months to convince me otherwise. I wrote then that the committee – armed with reams of […]

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View From The Eighth Pole: Making Jockeys Part Of The Solution

Javier Castellano was mad. Not fighting with Calvin Borel mad, but the Hall of Fame jockey was mad enough as he recalled a story from a few years ago that bothers him to this day. Castellano had been sitting quietly while a panel of jockeys and racetrack executives exchanged ideas about how the two groups […]

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View From The Eighth Pole: U.S. Horse Racing’s Lack Of Organization, Leadership Magnified During Crisis

Horse racing is in crisis, and not just in California or the United States, where there has been an increased focus on the sport’s equine fatalities since Santa Anita Park went through a particularly deadly period last winter. More recently, Keeneland – in the heart of Kentucky’s Thoroughbred industry – has been on the defensive […]

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View From The Eighth Pole: California Governor’s Actions Tell Different Story Than His Words

Racing in California faces an uncertain future, based on stinging comments about the sport made by Gov. Gavin Newsom to the New York Times this week.  Newsom, a Democrat elected in a landslide last November, expressed his unhappiness with the spike in fatalities at Santa Anita earlier this year along with the regulatory oversight provided […]

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View From The Eighth Pole: Horse Racing Should Heed Lessons From California

The metrics of the horse racing business have changed. There was a time, when I first got involved in the game in the 1970s, that attendance and wagering were the key numbers in defining success and failure of a race meeting. Off-track betting facilities, full-card simulcasting and advance deposit wagering gutted on-track business and made […]

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View From The Eighth Pole: A Mitchell Report For Racing?

Major League Baseball was going through an identity crisis in the late 1990s and early 2000s as Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa and Barry Bonds shattered home run records that had stood for decades. Attendance at Major League parks was booming and a sport that had lost some some sizzle over a players’ strike that interrupted […]

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View From The Eighth Pole: An Opportunity Lost For Racing

More than 18 million households tuned in to NBC Sports to watch the Kentucky Derby on May 4. According to Sports Media Watch, the A.C. Nielsen ratings actually grew in the minutes after the race to 18.5 million households as stewards deliberated whether or not to disqualify Maximum Security from his apparent win. Controversy followed […]

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View From the Eighth Pole: Staying The Course At Santa Anita

(Editor’s note: On Monday afternoon, the California Horse Racing Board announced that Friday’s special meeting has been cancelled and that discussions about Santa Anita were being moved to the regularly scheduled CHRB meeting on April 18. The following was published prior to the cancellation of the meeting.) The California Horse Racing Board meets this Friday for […]

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