The Brock Talk

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Birthday Wishes

Today I’m 51. Or as I like to say, I’m a ’59 model. So for today’s post I thought I would share with you a few things I’d like to have for my birthday – arrogance and self-centeredness included.

I’d like to have an education for all those who disparage the true greatness of Zenyatta and Rachel Alexandra. But what the heck, what’s a birthday without clowns?

I’d like to save Hollywood Park. My goal out of college was to become a marketing director at a major track. I made it as far as interim marketing director at Hollywood Park. My consolation was that I lasted longer than the marketing director that replaced me – so I have that going for me. But the number of lifelong friends I made in my years at Hollywood Park remains a treasure today. I have an emotional attachment to the track of lakes and flowers.

I’d like to have a restriction of 75 on the numbers of mares a stallion can breed in a year. At the very least it is better for the stallions. At the very best, the simple law of supply and demand will drive up sale prices, produce higher quality race horses and put less of a burden on those that try to find homes and careers for retired racehorses.

I would like to see racing voluntarily move toward shorter race meets and eventually evolve into a sport with a season. If we don’t, I’m afraid economics will do it for us (see California). It works at the very high end of the sport in places like Saratoga, Del Mar, Keeneland and now Monmouth Park. It works in the middle of the spectrum at the California fairs and to a degree at Emerald Downs and Washington State racing with no winter tracks and only the Seattle season of racing. It also works at the very lowest end of the scale in places like Gillespie, Texas; Sonoita, Arizona and countless other fair tracks around the country.

A Rose Bowl victory for my beloved Arizona Wildcats.

A maximum take out of 15%. To heck with it! I said it! Again, I’m not sure how long this sport will survive if they continue to ignore simple economics. I’d do the math for you… but it’s my birthday. So you’re going to have to believe me. If you don’t believe me, don’t feel bad though – track management doesn’t.

I’d like to see Frank Stronach out of race track management.

I’d like more horse racing marketing targeted to women. Hats, dresses and horses. Capitalize on Friday night racing. It makes no difference if you’re talking about a marriage of 50 years or a high school date – there is a very large distinction between who controls the money and who spends it. This lesson for my fellow men and track managers has stood for thousands of years.

Yeah it’s my birthday. And I want it. Rachel Alexandra meets Zenyatta. I don’t even have to use any birthday karma really. This could be the most anticipated Breeders’ Cup Classic ever.

I’d like to see Sean Miller right the ship that is University of Arizona Basketball.

I’d like to see the scale of weights in horse racing increased. Forcing jockeys to weigh 114 pounds is only decreasing the talent pool while having an adverse health effect on some of our current stars. I wrestled on a nationally ranked team in junior college. I wasn’t any good, but I have a valid perspective on what four or five pounds can mean to an athlete in a weight sensitive sport. Think about if this would have been done decades before. Can you imagine the greatness of a 125-pound Laffit Pincay? Can you imagine the battles between Jerry Bailey and Gary Stevens at 125 pounds each? I don’t even want to think about Angel Cordero Jr. walking into the jocks room at two pounds over at 127?

I’d like to see Mine That Bird win his first race of 2010…. And justify those reported smiles on the face of trainer D. Wayne Lukas.

I’d love it if we didn’t need the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund or the Don MacBeth Memorial Jockey Fund.

I have plenty of more birthday wishes for horse racing. But I have a Hollywood Park/Birthday Pick-6 to get to.


railrunner said...

Happy Birthday!! I hope some of those wishes come true, especially the Zenyatta and Rachel Alexandra match-up in the Breeders' Cup Classic.

John said...

Yeah, I also hope some of your wishes come true. I've never been excited about Zenyatta vs. Rachel, but if it's going to happen, best it does in the Breeders' Cup Classic where Quality Road, Blame, et al, will also be there (hopefully everybody makes it sound).

I spent a few days at the U of A on a baseball trip in the 1970s. Very beautiful campus.

Best wishes in your pick-up 6. You deserve winners; after all it's your birthday. :)

Silent Sunday said...

You have some very valid wishes Brock!! Hopefully they will come true. The jockey's weight has always been a concern, that would definitely be a great one to come true. Happy Birthday.

Shonna said...

The jockey weights are something that nobody ever talks about. Thank you for bringing attention to this topic that continues to plague our sport.

Tony_Fig said...

I'd bet there are others who would like to see Stronach leave racing in California and Maryland especially.

John said...

Happy B'day. Unfortunately wishing won't get rid of Stronach, I've been using that method for years :-(

Celeste said...

Happy Birthday, Brock! Great post and wonderful wishes - may they all come true for you.

Chicago Guy said...

Happy Birthday. Can't agree more with your Stronach wish. 41 years of Oak Tree at Santa Anita down the drain.

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