JC / Railbird

Reworking the Schedule

Steven Crist on changing the Breeders’ Cup two-day line-up with the addition of the Juvenile Sprint to this year’s event:

There are several realignments that would work better, such as emphasizing juveniles or sprinters on Friday. My personal preference would be to run the seven newest races on Friday and the original eight on Saturday. Any of these schemes, or others, would work better than “Filly Friday Except for the Juvenile Sprint and Marathon and the Fillies Running Tomorrow Day.”

I’m partial to a juveniles Friday, which not only makes for a good story but better fits the implicit stakes hierarchy Saturday races sit atop.


The Breeders Cup is descending into a total CF. Keeping the original lineup on Saturday and the new races on Friday would be a step in the right direction. That way it would be easier for me to pretend like the phony “championship” races don’t exist.

Posted by Kevin on June 18, 2011 @ 11:36 am

As a fan and gambler, it’s really starting to wear on me that the so-called “big guns” in turf writing can’t see the forest from the trees on certain issues. It’s almost like the Crist’s of the world are doing the Breeders’ Cup’s bidding on the really shameful addition to the “world championships” by trying to make halfhearted arguments for the addition of another race yet at the same time admitting that these aren’t “championship” races. I mean, if the argument is that it won’t affect championships then why are you in favor of putting a non-championship race under the same umbrella as the real championship race? So, um, what was the point of the Breeders’ Cup again?

This past weekend was supposed to be a blockbuster of racing at the top level with numerous graded stakes. Yet no matter where one looked, whether it was to Churchill’s numerous graded stakes offerings or to the Phipps at Belmont or the Pegasus at Monmouth, there were short fields everywhere. By my count there were nine graded stakes on Saturday. The average field size for those 9 races were 6.8 starters.

The bottom line is that there is just *too much stakes racing* and not enough horses to support it. Further, another juvenile addition to the BC menu just adds another spot for connections of top horses to cross enter and pick their spots.

This blog has pointed out in the past the lack of 2-year-old allowance racing and one has to wonder how long it will be before a horse breaks their maiden in a Breeders’ Cup “championship” race.

Posted by o_crunk on June 20, 2011 @ 11:57 am

o_crunk is correct, of course. The problem – which mirrors broader American society – is that those in power in the industry have long chosen to make policy based on their own, often narrow self-interests. It is absolutely clear that there are too many stakes races held in this country, and the reason is that easy black type enhances the bottom-line of breeders, sales companies, consigners, and owners.

The U.S. is the only country (to my knowledge) that assigns Grade I status to “prep” races, and recently overnight stakes have been replacing what were allowance races at NYRA tracks (among others). Certain highly graded races (e.g. the Blue Grass) are even allowed to retain their status in spite of there being no reasonable basis for such lofty grades.

This is just one illustration of the deep structural problems facing the industry.

Posted by Tinky on June 20, 2011 @ 12:30 pm