Wednesday, March 05, 2008

An Online-exclusive Letter to the Editor

Okay, horses and enthusiasts, it's been a while since I last scribed my thoughts, opinions, and factoids about the Sport of Kings. But as many of you know, I'm a busy Mom; there are numerous projects associated with that institution known as "elementary school", such as decorating Valentine mailboxes, reviewing fractions, making lunches, and assembling a hacienda made out of nothing more than an old Girl Scout cookie box, some red paint, and a piece of 3-year-old taffy. I have a couple of pretty good excuses.

But what's the media's excuse?

Of course, I would be referring to the dwindling space devoted to horse racing in the newspaper.

Living here in North Texas, I'm fortunate that a fine newspaper, the Star-Telegram, is delivered directly to the end of my driveway on a daily basis. And usually on Friday, or sometimes Saturday, there's a column by turf writer/cigar aficionado and good friend to Post Parade, Gary West. But imagine my dismay - nay, absolute frustration! - when I cracked open last Friday's paper, all giddy and excited to read the Professor's review of Curlin's sparkling performance in Dubai, only to the read the following:

Curlin off to fast start

Curlin begins his pursuit of greatness with a win in Dubai, writes Gary West in his online-exclusive horse racing column. Read it at www.star-telegram.com/horseracing. And be sure to click on the Ads by Yahoo.


Alright, I made up that last part. However, the Star-Telegram, in its effort to publish at least 2,176 articles and opinion pieces about Jason Kidd, has relegated its horse racing column along with its distinguished former President of the National Turf Writers Association author to the cyberworld.

Perhaps you're thinking to yourself, "What's the big deal about some race in Dubai? They don't even allow wagering there, much less sell Michelob."

Unfortunately, it doesn't just end there with the occasional turf column accessible only on the web. Simulcast results, including those of notable stakes races, are becoming scarce in the daily paper. I observed that results were sometimes published a couple of times a week, theoretically when space permitted, in the smallest font found on the planet, and are conveniently placed by Girl Soccer scores and the Bass Fishing report. Sunday morning I paged through the sports section to find out who won the Santa Anita Handicap and there was nothing. A stakes race with a $1 Million purse couldn't even score a half-inch brief in the paper. But do you want to know what did make the sports section? Kea Kometani's top 5 Hawaii-based TV shows, his favorite show being Lost because he apparently has the hots for Evangeline Lilly.

I find it rather disappointing that horse racing coverage is lacking in mainstream media. I'm sure that the racing industry is frustrated as well, especially in an era of attempting to find a new fan base. But its becoming the standard that in order to read and follow the sport, one has to be tuned-in or tapped-in or teed-up or whatever the phrase is, to the internet. Not that it's a bad thing because it gives me, an under informed horse racing fan, a forum to write about horse racing. But I'd rather be reading about it in the morning paper, while sipping my coffee at the kitchen table.

2 comments:

Superfecta said...

Couldn't agree more. I have friends in Australia who are shocked to discover that racing is never in the news here - you can't miss it there. I think we could take a page from their book.

applebys traveler said...

Curlin might have some favorite TV shows based in Hawaii:

1) The Don Ho -....rse Show
2) Lei-ght Night With David Jersey-man
3) Hawaii 5-0 to 1
4) Bay Watch