Hopefully you exercised your civic duty earlier this week by
voting. Americans often forget how fortunate we are to have a voice in the
process. Regardless of where you stand on any issue or how you feel about the
outcome of the election, there's something positive we all can take away from
the experience. When people make up their mind and take action, change is
I'd like to think we can apply that lesson to racing.
Changes have already started in the industry and to hear
Alex Waldrop tell it, bloggers have been a major catalyst for some of those
changes citing the new Safety
& Integrity Alliance as "a direct result of
While this is great news, we bloggers certainly don't
represent every point of view and don't even have all the good ideas (gasp!).
And while some of the best insights and ideas are proposed around the web as
comments on blog posts or discussions on boards such as PaceAdvantage, the odds of
anyone who can act on those excellent ideas actually seeing them is probably
hovering generously around 50-1.
Appointed Fan Committee. The only agenda at SAFC is to make sure
you're heard. SAFC is a
website, not an actual committee, that Jessica Chapel of Railbird and Raceday360 and I started over the summer.
"It's come to our attention that we're
not going to get invited to share our thoughts or provide our feedback in a
formal setting any time soon.
of this discovery we've created this site to do just that."SAFC
offers a way for fans and players to share their ideas, provide feedback and/or
positive reinforcement to the industry as a whole. Since so many of the issues
cut across organizations and jurisdictions, it's hard for an individual with a
good idea to be heard by all of the appropriate stakeholders. To counter this,
we collect all of the submissions and create and deliver reports for any and
all organizations that have a stake in the issues at hand on a (somewhat)
For instance, this submission went to ARCI and NTRA:
"Set A Standard Release Time For All Entries and Morning Lines -
Why are the morning line odds not released at the same time for every track?
Santa Anita is notoriously slow while Keeneland is generally a full day ahead
of every other track."
And this submission went to the Jockey Club
Breeders should be charged $50 more to register their foals and
that $50 should go into a fund such as the TCA which provides money to the
people who care for and rescue thoroughbred horses.
Take a look around the reports section to see
what's been sent to whom.
As more proof that change is possible, the Breeders' Cup,
the seemingly last bastion of impenetrable decision-making, has propped open
its doors to fans. Peter Rotondo Jr., VP of Media and
Entertainment and Peter Land, CMO have agreed to meet with Self Appointed Fan Committee
(and a few friends!) next week to hear what the fans have to say as they
evaluate this year's Breeders' Cup.
Now that the Breeders' Cup is over and we've all had a
chance to experience the changes, the time has come to share your thoughts. Get
thee over to SAFC and let the Breeders' Cup know what you think! Hate
the purple saddle cloths? Love the new Filly & Mare Championship Day? Still
think the name Ladies' Classic has to go? Love or hate the amount and type of
races? Tell them.
stands a chance of affecting change, in part, by collecting all the feedback
together in one place. So, for example, Land and Rotondo can make a much more
compelling case to the BC board to change the saddle cloths if there are 300
submissions about it, or 3,000 as compared to the current three.
While it's certainly a great sign, this meeting is a first
step and our gracious and well intentioned hosts can't make too many, if any
changes without first discussing it with their board. But let's help them out
and make their job easier by giving them a LOT of feedback and ideas to mull
over for Breeders' Cups to come.
To be included in the process, one must actually
participate. The door is open and they're ready to listen, but it's up to you
to shove your foot in the door and make your voice heard.