Lots of talk lately about the possibility of a revised racing schedule in New York; as Jessica Chapel recently pointed out, Jeremy Plonk proposes a year-round, nationwide schedule, and Paul Moran recently speculated that NYRA is mulling a winter hiatus from racing. Haven’t seen anything to suggest that such changes are actually in the offing, but if they are, it would represent a significant shift in racing as we know it here (at least for those of us young enough to not particularly remember the days of a New York racing off-season).
I like that racing happens year-round in New York; I like that pretty much any week, I can get to live racing without too much trouble. That said, I also recognize the merits of some time off, and I can imagine the excitement that would be generated when racing comes back to New York in the spring—not unlike opening night at the Garden, when my section-mates and I greet each other like long-lost family members after not having seen each other since the previous April.
Left out of the speculation I’ve read so far is how such a closing in New York would affect the people in the industry. How many people would lose jobs? How many related industries would suffer? What would be the economic impact? What would become of the smaller trainers who make their money when the big guys head south, and for whom shipping out and racing elsewhere in the winter don’t make good financial sense? What about the owners who would now be responsible for the care and feeding of horses without any income?
Again—it’s all just a rumor at this point. And while such a decision might make good racing sense, I know that I’d be a little sad about not heading out on the A train to Aqueduct to relieve the February bleakness, and I’d hope that some thought would be given to those left unemployed if it were to come to pass.
In other news: I’ve posted a few feed links over the last few weeks, as a way to keep up with this and other racing websites, and I really hope that this is the last one. This link will take you a list of recently-updated Thoroughbred Bloggers Alliance sites, providing the title, author, and first few sentences of the post. For a wider selection of racing reading, you can also check out Raceday 360.