April 3, 2006

If there’s a lesson coming out of the barn fire tragedy it’s how far we as an industry seem to be from the mainstream media. Can honestly report that some familiar media faces were on hand to cover the story and the overall lack of familiarity with standardbreds and New Jersey horse farms was alarming.

Other than perhaps Bob Jordan beat writer for the Asbury Park Press and Jane Meggitt columnist for the local Examiner nobody had heard of My Starchip or Funny Malentine the two major mares lost in the blaze. In addition the fact that one or both had competed in the Hambletonian Oaks also drew blank stares.

After one long time network personality discreetly inquired if indeed there was anything here for his viewers to identify with, we suggested that perhaps a horse of the year could suffice. That too drew a blank stare until we likened “HOY” to a “most valuable player” which is how Rocknroll Hanover made it to national TV.

In short there was ample interest once exposed but they didn’t have a clue what we were about prior to getting here.

Like Cole Porter rhapsodized in Lets Misbehave “if you want a future baby go out and get a past”. Same idea applies to media coverage. Do something newsworthy! And not just something negative!

Debbie Little spoke volumes in the April trot in her references to KEY RACE scheduling conflicting with news deadlines.

Ironic how the “other story” currently blaring headlines brings an old TV commercial to mind. You know the one where the viewer would try to differentiate between the live performance and the one recorded on audiotape prompting the tag line of “is it live or is it Memorex?”

Which is something this and other sports have been grappling with for too long now as the differential between real and ‘enhanced” performances gets even murkier. It’s even more ticklish when records change hands in the process as major league baseball has abruptly realized. Moreover the inability to differentiate between real and enhanced performance can get rather expensive when stalwart steeds turn out to be less than that in breeding sheds down the road!

The key component here is not increased speed but the ability to maintain top speed longer which in a game of noses heads and necks can be the difference between winning and finishing fifth!

Ever notice how often the runner gets nailed one or two yards short of the goal after a long gain? This is usually the result of the ball carrier losing energy after the prolonged burst while the defender given his more advantageous starting point is able to catch up and make the tackle.

In football “sprints” are measured at 40 yards as players seldom have to dash longer distances except perhaps for the infrequent long returns.

Consequently the horse able to maintain his burst longer than the others is going to win more photos. This is something every professional handicapper is acutely aware of!

Been thinking, if we can keep tabs of the exportations, why can’t we keep accurate tabs on the EARNINGS of these creatures once overseas.

Pathway under dam records list Ruby Crown’s son Scarlet Knight as winning some $644,000 which he did in this country. However, catalog pages have him approaching $3 million in actual earnings- quite a differential. Obviously the information is available and obtainable or the pedigree compilers used by the auction companies would not have access. .

Would seem that some kind collaboration is needed here!

Bob Marks



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