by Frank Vespe
Because, well, we’re curious that way, we asked some contributors to The Racing Biz for their New Year’s racing resolutions.
When the dust had settled — for some folks, “New Year’s resolution” apparently means “resolution I make a week or two into the new year, if I have good intentions” — we had a couple handsful to review.
They broke down, roughly, into three types: those we hope someone else will do to advance the well-being of racing in general (or in our state); those we intend to do for the sport’s well-being; and those we intend to do because, well, we want to.
I’m personally partial to the first kind; I’m a big fan of making resolutions for others to carry out. That way, I don’t need to modify my own behavior.
In this vein, Nick Hahn proposed that Colonial Downs “invest, or at least invest more wisely, in Virginia’s racing future in lieu of cutting expenditures to improve the bottom line.” He also hopes that the Virginia Racing Commission’s blue ribbon committee come up with creative ways to improve racing in the Commonwealth, and that the state’s lawmakers provide racing there the tools it needs to compete.
Not to be outdone, Marylander Richard Hackerman — whose Warrioroftheroses just ran third in the Fire Plug Stakes at Laurel — had several wishes for commissions and tracks to undertake. He calls for racing commissions to review “use of the whip in racing” and give “consideration of raising weight limits so as give opportunities to ride to a more diverse group of people.” Also, we might add, so that the existing group of people can stop starving itself.
On a smaller scale, he’d also like to see a new escalator in the Laurel clubhouse and a safer paddock at Pimlico. And, on the same note, he promotes improved grandstand facilities at Laurel, Pimlico and Charles Town “to make attending the races as enjoyable for others as it is for me.”
Others have plans to advance racing’s well-being in 2014. Dan Tordjman, for example, says, “I hope to continue to be able to promote racing and open the eyes of younger people to the incredible thrills this game can provide.” He’ll also, presumably, be happy to take their money at the windows while their eyes gradually open.
Michael and Lynn Horvath say that they both “would like to continue raising funds and donations for Ferdinand’s Ball, a fundraiser for Old Friends Equine which helps provide a comfortable retirement for Thoroughbreds.”
And Teresa Genaro aims “to work on highlighting the work of the many organizations devoted to supporting the health and welfare of both the humans and the horses in racing.”
These are selfless — and commendable — goals.
But hey, let’s be honest: it’s more fun to see what people want for themselves than what they want for others.
Genaro, for example, intends “to bet more horizontal exotics,” which is the very essence of an achievable goal. And Hackerman calls for “12-horse races, except 4 horse races if my horse is entered,” for which, well, who can blame him?
Hahn hopes “to cover more of Virginia racing outside of the Triple Crown and live meet at Colonial Downs… [because] too many great Virginia racing stories especially on the farms remain untold.”
Photographer Laurie Asseo says that she “resolves to go to the track as often as possible and bet more long-shot exotics in my quest for a life-altering payout. Also, as the late Joe Pons said, I’ll never pass up a chance to stand in the winner’s circle.”
Speaking of remaining in place. Bobby Zen will travel far while remaining at his desk. In 2014 he will “finish my research for handicapping book #4. I have some cutting edge concepts that will help the handicapper, and will get them to book format.”
Yes, but will they be cutting-edge enough to help me? We can only hope.
Ted Black, on the other hand, does not see himself standing; he sees himself in motion. “I resolve to celebrate my birthday [March 21] by visiting four tracks – Dover Downs, Charles Town, Laurel Park and Rosecroft – during a three-day span from March 20-22,” he says. Ambitious, pointless, and great fun — that’s a New Year’s resolution!
Speaking of being in motion, Michael Horvath says that wife Lynn has a resolution for him to accomplish: to ride their retired Thoroughbred Lacrosse Moon one day. No word on what Lax thinks about that.
Tordjman, too, hopes to be in motion in 2014 — heading to the Breeders’ Cup with his father, “who taught me everything I know about horse racing (including how to rip up my losing tickets).” Sound fatherly advice, indeed.
In the end, our correspondents had good ideas and great plans for the year ahead.
Can’t help but wish them great success, and leave you with this bit of sound advice from Laurie Asseo:
“I also resolve to bet the gray horse. If I’d taken my own advice to my coworkers during Kentucky Derby week in 2005 (when all else fails, bet the gray horse) I would have had Giacomo to win at 50-1.”