Happy Hallowe’en

Sat down to write and just happened to click on the OTB channel in time to see the Grey Ghost Starter Handicap go off at the Meadowlands…taking a page from Calder’s gimmick races, the Meadowlands celebrates Hallowe’en by carding a race for grey/roan horses only, and follows that with the Witches’ Brew for filly and mare sprinters. I am tempted to rail again about another ill-named race for female horses, but in the spirit of the holiday, I’ll resist.

Last week I wrote about Judiciary, the two-year-old filly who took an unguided tour of Saratoga. She raced at Aqueduct today and finished sixth. Perhaps she’ll turn up in downtown Jamaica?

Thursday at Aqueduct sees the return of CP West, owned, trained, and ridden by the same men as Juvenile winner War Pass (Robert LaPenta, Nick Zito, Cornelio Velasquez, respectively). CP West last raced in the Travers and after breaking his maiden at Saratoga in ’06 has raced in graded stakes company without winning. He’s in the ungraded Wild Again, racing against Buffalo Man (scratched from the Breeders’ Cup undercard) and Pink Viper, who won the Count Fleet earlier this year and who was briefly considered a Derby Contender.

On Thursday evening a group of interested parties will gather at the National Museum of Racing in Saratoga to discuss what might happen if New York racing stops in January. Yesterday at Aqueduct, representatives from various Northeast tracks gathered to talk about their common interests. Alan writes about this in more detail.

Following a theme about which both Railbird and I have written, Paul Moran wrote Monday in his At The Races blog about the dominance of New York horses at the Breeders’ Cup last weekend. He also unapologetically writes about the lure of profit in a business that is generally unprofitable for horse owners. While I can’t say that I totally espouse his point of view, I agree when he suggests that it is unreasonable to expect horse racing to be a purely “philanthropic endeavor,” given the high cost of taking good care of horses. Why would we expect owners and trainers to disregard profit, when we, in our chosen professions, don’t do the same? I would suggest, too, that a concern for profit and a concern for equine welfare are not mutually exclusive propositions.

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