Why are people so concerned about European participation in the Breeders Cup? So much hand wringing is done over the BC's use of "World Championships" in its title and for the life of me I can't figure out why anyone cares? Does the World Series title mean less because we don't invite teams from France to participate?
I'm having a hard time understanding the support for Animal Kingdom or Shackleford as the Eclipse winner in the 3 year old division. Caleb's Posse won 5 stakes this year including the Kings Bishop, Ohio Derby and Breeders Cup Mile over older horses. It isn't "3 year old over a classic distance", it is 3 year old and clearly Caleb's Posse was the most accomplished 3 year old not to mention beat both Uncle Mo and Shackleford fair and square. Make the results on the track matter. Winning the Derby is every one's goal but lets be fair, Super Saver and Giacomo and other pretty ordinary horses have accomplished that. It is a shame that Animal Kingdom was injured but he simply didn't do enough. Shackleford's connections may be looking to gain the participation votes but he didn't win enough.
College basketball and horse racing have some things in common. Both have year end events that now overshadow the regular season and both feature far too many participants that only hard core fans would know. Do we really need five Breeders Cup races for 2 year olds? Especially now that most of the best horses don't even debut until Saratoga/Del Mar?
Zenyatta (who I believe was vastly overrated historically) would have won the Classic this year by 5. I don't think it is going to get better either. Is anyone really excited by the prospects of Rattlesnake Bridge and Stay Thirsty staying in training? Havre de Grace is scheduled to come back and hopefully she will compete against colts most of the year and not 'do a Zenyatta' and use a cup cake schedule to prep for the Breeders Cup. Seemingly the returning horses are better at 1 1/8th as she most likely is as well.
Everyone talks about the European dominance in the Turf events like that hasn't always been the case most years. I youtubed (is that a real word?) the BC turf race from the 1st Cup at Hollywood Park in 1984 and the winner was Lashkari over All Along and Raami. All were European breds and as a matter of fact the 1st five finishers were foreign bred and only the third place finisher was trained by an American trainer. What is really telling about the difference between training/racing in 1984 and 2011 is everyone of the 11 runners in the inaugral Breeders Cup Turf was coming off of a race within 3 weeks. Foreign breds ran 1,2,3,4 in 1985 as well. I guess Lasix was screwing up the breed then too.