Happy Holidays from Michael Consani
Tis the season to be jolly and if you’re a horse player, there is a lot to be jolly for in the upcoming weeks. But now is a time for some Holiday wishes to bestow on friends and family and the special horseplayer in your life.
The biggest Holiday wish we can all hope for is for 2021 to have a return to normalcy, something we really haven’t had in the last nine months. There is nothing that compares to being able to visit your favorite track, whether it’s beautiful Belmont Park in New York or seeing 100,000 plus at Churchill Downs for the Kentucky Derby, life has not been in the same in 2020 and we can only hope that 2021 will be significantly better.
Another Holiday wish as a horse player is for more quality races in the new year. There is nothing more disappointing than looking at a card and seeing a race that only has 6 or 7 horses, most of which have no business being raced and really only have one or two horses that have a legitimate shot at winning. Seasoned handicappers will always put their money on the horse that will most likely win and if the card only has a small field, bettors will not have ample opportunities to make a buck without some luck.
The horse racing industry has always had a bad reputation, usually well earned, and another wish for 2021 would be to have a central governing body that would unite, similar to how Baseball has MLB and Hockey has the NHL, all the various tracks, trainers and owners to produce a higher quality product. First and foremost, a central governing body could institute policy and regulations to reduce the number of horses who are given unnecessary drugs or are raced in unhealthy conditions and schedules which would hopefully reduce significantly the number of equine deaths per year. A governing body could also force trainers and owners to be more transparent and perhaps limit how many horses they can enter in one race.
There is also too often an appearance of impropriety that plagues the industry as a whole. Often, there are races where at one track, what looks to be a racing violation during a race can result in an overturning of the order of finish where at another track, no change is made. For example, in California, whenever there is a Steward’s inquiry or an objection after a race, the stewards will review the footage and try to determine if there was an actual foul committed. Even if they do determine a foul occurred, they may not make a change if they feel the foul did not impede the actual order of finish. Now if that same race happened in New York, a different set of stewards may disqualify the winner even if the foul would not have changed the finish. As bettors, we just wish for consistency in rulings and not to have subjective decisions made.
We have a lot to look forward to in 2021. Right off the bat in January is the Pegasus World Cup Championship on the 23rd. It will feature the return of the 2020 Belmont Stakes winner Tiz the Law who will be looking to bounce back from a disappointing 6th place finish in the 2020 Breeder’s Cup Classic.
The winter months also brings all the Derby prep races and, with some luck, have the Kentucky Derby once again run on the first Saturday in May.
Please share some of your Holiday wishes on my twitter page @AtTheWire