Final thoughts from the classics

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The 2013 Triple Crown is in the books and already the same played out, repeated year-after-year and unoriginal thoughts are being bandied about in print, on television or the radio. Probably on social networking, too.

The overall strength or weakness, depending on who you read, is one of the common themes. That’s always a pretty tall order just five months and a little more than a week into the year, and especially so when considering the uniqueness of this year’s series. Think sloppy track, slow track, tiring track.

The prep races are being dissected, too. This prep produced these horses who did well in the three classics. This other race was overrated. Synthetic was good. Synthetic was bad. Florida was good, California was bad.

Numbers are always popular. Final television ratings, attendance, handle, A, B, C list celebrities. You name it, it’s covered.

Wake me when that’s all finished.

And then the always faithful calls to “wait until the Travers” to see how the division will settle itself out. Because that happens so often. The five years prior to 2013 saw 13 horses win the 15 Triple Crown races. Of that group five-Da’ Tara, Summer Bird, Super Saver, Shackleford and Ruler On Ice-contested the Travers. The percentages for the five years before that are no better, with 12 horses winning the 15 races and only three running in the Travers.

So speaking of New York, a couple observations from this corner after spending a short weekend downstate.

First, it’s nice to be able to jump in the car, point it south and be inside Gate 6 at Belmont Park in three hours time.

Second, not 24 hours after my last blog post that included some amazement that people actually still rely on the New York tabloid newspapers to get actual news, the New York Post laid off three longtime employees who covered racing on the NYRA circuit.

That bit of news was of course met with surprise and sorrow from the colleagues of those three, but should also be a wakeup call to the people in charge of New York racing, whoever they are these days. Check that, all leaders of racing in the U.S. should take note when a paper with more than 2.1-million readers a day decides it can no longer invest in covering a sport like racing.

Maybe people were reading the tabloids all along for the sports sections. If that’s the case they’ll be getting the same racing coverage now that probably 95% of the papers in the U.S. contain.

Spoiler/self-promotion alert: Thank goodness for specialty publications (websites) like This Is Horse Racing.

Finally, from a fairly lengthy list of things that stood out during this year’s Triple Crown, one last observation.

Pimlico’s physical plant hasn’t changed much the last 10 years or so and is still nowhere near close to resembling Belmont Park (or Churchill Downs for that matter), but Belmont is starting to look a lot more like Pimlico. The show they put in front of the public on the stage that is the racetrack was much too good to be put on in front of a grandstand that in places looks like it’s falling apart.