A 2019 Horse Racing Wish List

Welcome to this year-end edition of America’s Best Racing’s Main Track. This week’s story marks a departure in several ways.

This will be the final weekly Main Track story as it will give way to a new format in the coming weeks and months.

And since it’s New Year’s Day, there’s no better way to say goodbye and head into a new year than to offer some resolutions of sort – only in this case it’s a wish list for things that will make 2019 a fantastic year.

Let’s start the glad tidings with good health and a safe year for the all of the sport’s human and equine athletes. Tragedy can happen anywhere at any time in all facets of life, but let’s hope that we do not have to endure another tragedy like the San Luis Rey fire in 2017 or the death of exercise rider Odanis Acuna for a long, long time.

After that:

  • It may sound greedy, but how about another Triple Crown winner? After 37 years without a sweep, it was a blessing to experience two in four tries. Back-to-back Triple Crowns may be asking a lot, but it happened in 1977 and 1978 so why can’t it happen in 2018 and 2019?
  • How about something relatively simple, like major tracks coordinating post times so that two or three races do not go off at the same time? Sometimes it’s unavoidable, but in the case of stakes races, a little cooperation would be a wonderful thing.
  • It’s in the hands of Mother Nature, but a lot less rain in the Northeast during the summer and fall would be very welcomed.
  • How about some real progress in unified drug rules? It might be a pipe dream, but maybe one day, if enough people demand it, it just might happen.
  • While we are mentioning items with the same probability as achieving world peace, how about a little more civility on racing Twitter? It’s one thing to disagree. That’s fine. Yet what makes no logical sense is why having a social media account empowers people to say things they would never say to someone’s face or why people think harsh, nasty, or snarky talk will convince rational people to see things their way. If anything, it turns people off.
  • Let’s add a happy marriage between sports betting and horse racing. As more and more states adopt sports betting, hopefully racetracks will have a place at the table for those negotiations and benefit from a surge in gambling.
  • And let’s also see a bigger commitment to aftercare programs for the Thoroughbreds who are the wheel that drives the sport and should never be taken for granted.
  • Finally, let’s not ask or the moon, but let’s have a great year of exciting racing, filled with a variety of stars who put on a grand show throughout the year and the kind of weather that allows fans to enjoy places like Saratoga, Del Mar, Keeneland, Santa Anita, Oaklawn, Gulfstream Park, and Belmont Park to the fullest.

That, in a nutshell, will make it a spectacular 2019.

Happy New Year, everyone.

And for a look back at 2018, check out: