So you may be asking why embeded this video of a crazy guy walking a tight rope, or "slacklining" as we call it in climbing.
It is pretty simple...we're hurting as an industry. We are bruised and have been roughed up a bit with the economy. Everyone, and especially the small farms, are walking a tight rope. A co-worker suggested the analogy of; we are all in the same library or reading the same book, even if not totally on the same page.
I want you all to know we hear you and are thinking and praying for those in the industry who are feeling the pinch, or punch for some of you. It has been overwhelming for me to hear of all the cuts and sacrifices that people are having to make. There are a lot of reasons, and we can point a few fingers, but in the end we have to do what we have to do.
Reflecting at Thanksgiving, I thought how I am thankful to have been in this industry for a year and a half now. Starting off knowing absolutely nothing, it's great having the honor of asking the people around work, who are hidden gems with an abundance of industry knowledge, and experience on all aspects of in the industry...and they always have answers!
This has been a good year for the industry in some regards. The Breeders' Cup races were all so impressive and fun to watch. Plus, we were able to enjoy Zenyatta, Curlin, Big Brown, Peppers Pride, and Einstein have amazing years. Just to name a few.
On top of the wonderful athletic memories of this past year, we accomplished something that most other American sports have not been able to comply with and continue to struggle with. In fact, it's been done in a short amount of time. That is ban steroid uses and tighter safety standards. Sure more can be done, but this year's events have fueled a fire showing how even the most decentralized industries are capable of governing themselves. Just look at all the states banning steroids and sales companies, like Keeneland, now offering steroid testing.
This industry is wonderful and resourceful. It is totally capable of
thinking outside of the box if it is willing to go beyond the status
quo and what used to work. Now that dosn't mean we should try to fix
things that are not broken. We are all in this together, from fan to foe...for if there is no industry to gripe about what is Peta even going to do with their free time?
We were able to good naturedly gripe about this crop of 3-year-old boys and reminisce about last year's crop. We were able to sit and gripe at Lenny and Steve develing in various industry topics. It's good to have things to discuss. I mean Einstein and Zenyatta are both coming back next year!
Now, we still have a ways to go to get out of this funk and must shoot for the stars. Some will say issues stem from overbreeding, too many stallion and breeding ventures, lack of loan accessibility, and people not spending money to attend tracks or wager. All of those are pretty evident problems.
Dan Liebman has written several pieces about these issues in What's Going On Here.
In these tough times there are many challenging examples to refer to, but the industry has a chance to become lean and mean. The struggles make us stronger in the end, as we learn from mistakes and hardships. We are all on the same page as far as hurting, but some are worse than others. Budgets are slashed so industry related costs are being reduced. Some great resources have come about, such as free horse adoptions on TheHorse.com. Many small companies have the opportunity to aquire new highly skilled employees who have been laid off due to downsizing needs as well. For some, TOBA may be a good resource for industry questions, maybe try that route.
So this is my encouragement and my stance for my industry: dream big, think deep, and remain optimistic. Though grounded in reality and dealing with uncertainty, tomorrow will come.
What things help you escape or ease the tough times in our industry?
In happier news:
I was reading ForbesLife, one of Forbes' spin-off publications, and it presented a list and details for the top ways to spend your money on entertainment and travel. Number five or six I believe, was the Kentucky Derby two day event, and man was I excited to read that. They gave all the hot spots, pricing for tickets, places to go and be seen for both Oaks and Derby days ect...it was a wonderful to see horse racing featured in such a prominent national publication not really geared to racing. I could not find the article on their website to link to, but www.forbes.com is their website.
6th Race - Finger Lakes - Friday, December 5th, 2008
ALLOWANCE. 6 Furlongs Dirt. Purse $17,400. FOR THREE YEAR OLDS AND UPWARD WHICH HAVE NEVER WON THREE RACES. Three Year Olds, 121 lbs.; Older, 124 lbs. Non-winners of two races since November 5 Allowed 2 lbs. A race since then Allowed 4 lbs. (Races where entered for $15,000 or less not considered in allowances). (02:30 PM) (9)
PP Horse A/S M/E Wgt Jockey Trainer
1 Hank's Dream 3 G L 117 Messina Robert Barrow Paul W.
2 C T Chimes 3 G 119 Davila, Jr. Michael A. Lecesse Michael A.
3 Sophie's Splinter 3 G L 117 Grabowski John A. Ferraro M. Anthony
4A Storm's A Comin 4 G L 120 Baez Jose Miller-Saul Beth
5 Keen Impact 4 C L 120 Castillo Elaine Ciaio Charles A.
6 Live Action 3 G L 117 Alvarado Nazario Coffey Marialice
7 Takmeoutodabalgame 4 G L 120 Suarez Gabriel Buckley Jonathan B.
8 Arrrrr 4 G L 120 Carr Dennis Englehart Jeremiah C.
9A Northern Blue 5 G L 120 Baez Jose Miller-Saul Beth
Einstein won the Clark Handicap. So a shout out to my boy there. Helen Pitts, his trainer said that she "never had a horse that loves his job so much." As Einstein has proven he truly can romp on turf or dirt and with the best, such as Curlin and Kip Deville.
Obi Wan finished 3rd yesterday in race 3 at Penn National
Frank the Barber
Date: December 2, 2008
Track: SANTA ANITA PARK
Distance: Four Furlongs
Time: 49:00 Handily
Track Condition: Fast
Surface: All Weather Track
Date: November 29, 2008
Track: GULFSTREAM PARK
Distance: Five Furlongs
Time: 1.01:60 Breezing
Track Condition: Fast