Sunday, October 26, 2008

Breeder's Cup: European Perspective

Julian Muscat of the UK TimesOnline, has written a very cutting European view of the events of the Breeder's Cup.

I for one am happy to see the Europeans come here and win. We call it a World Championship but we don't even pretend to try and have it at Ascot or Longchamp. We invite European horses to come to the United States, run an opposite direction, compete on a surface just as foreign to them as it seems to many of our trainers, and yet they win and win big on day two.

Muscat writes "....As worthy as were previous renewals, the 25th Breeders' Cup broke significant new ground here on Saturday. It was cathartic from a British perspective: four winners from nine races redeemed what has otherwise been an eminently forgettable season. But the broader question concerns American reaction to an occasion when their horses were put to the sword. Will Americans rise to the challenge in the spirit that has transformed the Ryder Cup into a leading sporting event? Or will they clamour for a return to a dirt surface on which their horses used to bloody European noses? "

If Curlin's connections didn't like the surface they should have stayed home. For months now all we have heard from the owner and trainer is the hesitation to step onto Pro Ride. Curlin has nothing to be ashamed of or apologize for. He flew to Dubai this year and dominated. He tried a Turf race against legitimate Grade 1 horses and he came up a bit short. Instead of spending time at a dull Woodward in August or Belmont in September, perhaps he should have been at Del Mar, or Keeneland, or Santa Anita drilling on the future surface of the industry. I am not attacking an owner like Mr. Jackson in any way because if we had more owners like him we would have had a four year old Hard Spun, a four year old Street Sense, a four year old Rags to Riches on the race track, but the hand wringing over the surface sounds like excuse making now that Curlin, valiant and game as he was, failed to win.

The gene pool is small. The European horses are closely related to our American stars. The rules for the Breeder's Cup are our rules, the tracks our tracks. It's time for American owners and trainers to get serious about being the best.

Julian's article can be found at :

The Turk was fascinated to read and listen to so many opinions about the steroid ban and what that means to what we saw this past weekend. The California Horse Racing Board took steps to ban any horse administered anabolic steroids on or after August 22nd. Banning steroid use only helps level the playing field and eliminate built in excuses (you know, like the ones about Artificial Surfaces).

The snippets of Julian's article I quoted belong to the UK Times Online.

Copyright 2008 Times Newspapers Ltd.

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