JC / Railbird

The Male Gaze

Last year, I had a little fun with the view that women pretty up the racetrack, as expressed by trainer Louie Roussel and fellow blogger PowerCap. Today, TT news editor Ed DeRosa takes aim at a Churchill Downs banner ad that unfortunately plays not-so nicely on the same perspective. You have to go to his Big Event Blog to read about this marketing misstep (and to see the banner — I’m not going to post it here). His analysis of the ad is spot on; about all I can contribute is that equating women and horses is always disconcerting (at least to this woman), and adds to the overall creepiness of the banner.

Somewhat related, and on a more serious note, an anonymous hotwalker recently recounted a few startling, and all too plausible, experiences with men on the backstretch (via Sid Fernando). It’s one thing to brush off a lousy ad, it’s another to brush off an unwanted hand — and really, why should women have to do either to enjoy being at the track, whether as fans or workers? [That reminds me of a Railbird oldie-but-goodie: “Here’s a She-Tip for You, Andy Stronach.” For the record, the She-Tipsters were never deployed.]

To round out the post, here’s a profile of New York trainer Linda Rice, which includes the following relevant anecdote:

She turned to her dad and confessed, “I want to be a trainer, just like you.”

Clyde Rice measured his response before speaking it. He told her, “That … would be a lot easier if you were one of my sons.”

Ain’t that the truth. And in racing, clearly, not only about a career in training.