• Racing wants a Triple Crown winner

    POSTED Jun 4, 2012
    I disagree with the notion(s) that racing "needs a Triple Crown winner" or that such an occurrence would help the sport.

    Rather, I see it as racing wants a Triple Crown winner. This is our championship, and even those who plan to bet against I'll Have Another to win the Belmont Stakes probably won't be too disappointed if they experience him winning it to become the first American Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978 and 12th overall.

    And should that happen, what happens next? It's impossible for me to fathom a wave of flash mobs overcoming America's racetracks in the days and weeks following the Belmont Stakes. What's the marketing message there, "I'll Have Another won a horse race to win the Triple Crown, and we have horse races too!"

    No, racing needs the possibility of a Triple Crown more than it needs a Triple Crown winner--at least in the short term. This is the time to get people to the track, OTB, or watching on TV. If a chance at a Triple Crown doesn't get people to pay attention, then the fact a horse did it won't either.

    Some fans bemoan the lack of a championship season in racing, and while there really isn't one for most divisions, there is for three-year-old males, and the Triple Crown is it. I'll Have Another has already won the preeminent race, and now he is going for the championship. This is a racing fan's chance to witness a coronation--a true "where were you" moment in the Sport of Kings.

    I wasn't alive when Affirmed won the Triple Crown, and as a fan of Cleveland sports teams, I'm running out of family and friends who can tell me about the last time the Cleveland Indians won a World Series. My son was born last year, and I hope to be able to share at least one of the memories I share with him is about seeing a horse win the Triple Crown.

    All this is not to say that I'll Have Another winning wouldn't provide racing with some opportunities. Certainly anywhere he raced for the rest of his career would be a big deal--especially this year and if Bodemeister shows up. The handicap division is deep this year, and I'll Have Another taking on the likes of Wise Dan, Game On Dude, etc. would certainly spice up the fall racing calendar.

    But win or lose, what's really going to be different about Thursday nights at Charles Town or even the Travers Stakes? The answer is nothing unless my colleagues in the business have done all they can to get people excited about this race coming up. If racing fails at that then there's nobody to market the aftermath to anyway.
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