Giving Racing Thanks

By Teresa Genaro of Brooklyn Backstretch

Race fans are a flagellating group; click on almost any racing website, open almost any trade publication, and you’ll find a host of people dissatisfied with some element of the sport:  the betting opportunities; the medication rules; the trends away from the track and to the breeding shed.

But in the spirit of the holiday, I suggest that we suspend our criticism and for a least one day, celebrate what we love about the world of Thoroughbred racing.  This particular list trends towards New York, as is appropriate for a Brooklyn-based blogger.

This week, I give racing thanks…

…for the wisdom and stories of Allen Jerkens, and for the generosity with which he shares both.  

…for organizations like the Belmont Child Care Association and Backstretch Employees Service Team, for never losing sight of the people who take care of the horse, and for working tirelessly on their behalf.   

…for the grits and apples in the track kitchen at Keeneland.  

…for Ginger Punch, the Queen of Saratoga; horses are lucky to have one race for the ages at the Spa; this year, she had two: the Go for Wand and the Personal Ensign.  She ran like a champ both times, and none of us who saw them will forget them.  

…for Saratoga, its charm and its history, and because racing there is like racing nowhere else.   

…for Proud Spell and her win in the Alabama, and for what it meant to her trainer and her jockey, after an awful spring.    

…for Commentator, who thrilled the crowd in this year’s Whitney.

…for Evening Attire, because he raced until he was ten and went out a winner, earning a berth in the Breeders’ Cup.  

…for Richard Migliore’s return to New York after a sojourn in California.  

…for Old Friends and its indefatigable leader, Michael Blowen.  

…for Big Brown.  Love him or hate him, he brought a buzz to racing, and he brought people to the track.  I won’t miss those fragile hooves, but I will miss the attention and popularity he brought to the sport.  

And you?  For what are you giving racing thanks this year?  

Teresa Genaro writes about (mostly) New York racing at Brooklyn Backstretch.

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