Change Needs to Happen: Part 2

By Laura Pugh, of Horsin' Around

Well, last blog certainly drew a crowd; let’s see what kind of reviews I get for this one.

For this blog I have several things I would like to discuss, so sit back and please try and keep awake. First on the list is the creation of teams. This topic will tie into the rest as the post continues. Every sport has some sort of team, track, football, baseball, basketball; even event riding has team events, where a country or school is judged on team performance as well as individual. The way this would work in horse racing is that 0wners would obviously take the role as team owner, trainers as coaches, and horses as the players.

The reason we should adopt this new format, instead of the one we currently use, is because it will more than likely draw in new fans and keep them interested. Fans will be able to become interested in a long lasting team instead of just the career span of one horse, making them more likely to stay interested. The great horses will still be remembered for the records they broke and the feats they accomplished, just as greats of other sports are.

With the new installation of teams needs to come a point system that will be able to determine championships in an unbiased manner. For the end of the year awards, the champions will be determined by which team or individual has amassed the most points throughout the year.  The team/stable with the most points at the conclusion of the year will be crowned champion owner. The trainer who gains the most points is the champion trainer. The MVP, or Horse of the Year, would yet again go to the horse who gained the most points through the course of the year. This also would apply to divisional championships as well, like champion sprinter, champion older male and three year old.

The points could also be used to decide what horses may be allowed to compete in a championship event, such as the Triple Crown races or the Breeders Cup. In my last blog I mentioned the Derby field being reduced to 14 horses. The 14 horse eligible to enter the Derby would be chosen by points accumulated by a certain horse in their respective prep races. Of course the amount of points a horse would amass would be determined by the grade of the race and what place the horse crossed the finish line.

As for an event such as the Breeders Cup, the point system may differ per race. The Classic, being open to all horses, could be determined by the top seven older horses, male or female, and the top seven 3 year olds in the point standings. This format could go for any other race that is open to all horses. For juveniles you use the same criteria we used with the Derby, by selecting the top 14 horses in terms of points. For races like the Ladies Classic, the format would be the same as the Classic, except you would only choose the top seven older fillies and the top seven 3 year old fillies.

This proposed format would go a long way in terms of drawing fans to the sport. The point system would much easier for general fans to understand the selection process and determine what horses will be in a specific event. The installation of teams will make it much easier for them to stick with the sport since they will be able to stick with their favorite team, even when their favorite horse has been retired. These changes to racing may seem rather unconventional now, but they could be what makes the sport competitive with the likes of baseball and football. Sometimes an unconventional touch is all something needs to attract some attention.

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