JC / Railbird

Backstretch

Racing’s Working Class

Unappreciated. Endangered.

PowerCap responding a New York Times piece on the Big A:

I contend that Aqueduct holds a different type of charm. Certainly in this world there are diverse experiences and tastes — especially in New York. Aqueduct is a remnant of old working class New York …

The New York Times on NYC OTB workers facing their future:

After that, she said, she would have to find another job soon because merely maintaining her health insurance would cost almost $500 a month. “I’m good at everything,” she said, rattling off her qualifications. “I can serve food. I can run a register. I can stack boxes. I can baby-sit kids.”

From John Scheinman’s report on uncertainty in Maryland:

“I think it’s kind of a shame what they’ve been doing so far,” said jockey Forest Boyce…. “The most amazing thing about this industry is they employ all levels of education, from people who just got out of jail to people that graduate from Yale.”

The Washington Post on the last day of racing at Laurel:

There are 85 trainers with 969 stalls at Bowie and 68 trainers with 1,059 stalls at Laurel Park. “There’s going to be a lot of unemployed, homeless, helpless people with nowhere to go,” says Pickett, 30, who was one semester shy of a law degree when she chose to work with horses full time.

If Churchill CEO Robert Evans’ 10-year business model for racing is right, we’ll be reading more of these stories in the near future as the industry contracts.

Cry of the Little Guy

From the Boston Herald: “What a difference a day makes, huh? … What a difference a day makes. All those million-dollar horses and fancy suits, and look what happens. I thank God he won. I thank God he won.”

Blinkers Off Returns

Special correspondent Blinkers Off is once again roaming the Churchill backstretch and filing irreverent posts …

While this idiocy was going on, Papa Clem went out and whistled three furlongs in 34 seconds. A very fine reporter, actually paying attention, said the horse looked like he wasn’t even trying…

Tom Law, managing editor at Thoroughbred Times, picks him.

Later on, Nowhere to Hide went out for a gallop at 8:30 a.m. Nick Zito looked embarrassed to be there with such a popgun. All I could think of was the year he ran five and had a plastic fence installed around his barn to keep away the riffraff. This year, he’s running the riffraff.

This spring, though, instead of posting on Railbird, Blinkers Off is over at Raceday 360, which is beginning its expansion into original content. More on that development sometime Friday, right after a couple database issues afflicting the site this evening are addressed (items are slow to add, pages may be slow to load). Also, a bit of Oaks, and more Derby.

After →