Giving Racing Thanks, 2019

It wouldn’t be hard to compile a list of 2019 racing regrets and recriminations. It wouldn’t be hard to catalogue criticisms of the industry, not after a year in which Thoroughbred racing in the U.S. found itself in the public eye for all the wrong reasons: equine fatalities, trainers paying millions in restitution for financial impropriety for underpaying their stable staff,

It wouldn’t be hard to just keep an eye on the calendar and count the days until 2019 is over, bidding this year a not-so-fond farewell and hoping that 2020 will bring something better.

But even in the midst of an annus horribilis, we can take a few minutes, especially this week, to give thanks for what is good in this corner of the world, to spotlight some of the people who don’t often get the spotlight, and to find out what they’ll be giving thanks for when they sit down on Thursday for a Thanksgiving meal.

Under Joel Rosario, Covfefe gets her first Grade 1 in the Test at Saratoga. NYRA/Coglianese photo

Joe Appelbaum, owner, breeder, gambler, president of the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association

In racing, you get to be outside most of the time. For so many of us, our jobs are inside, in front of a screen; it’s soul-killing. My favorite times are when I’m outside watching workouts, or watching a race, or walking around a racetrack. At the track, I can use my brain and be in a beautiful physical environment. That’s very appealing.

From a business standpoint, I’m grateful that we’ve been able to reduce workers’ compensation costs in New York by 36 percent over the last two years. Two years, this was viewed as a crisis, and while we want to reduce it even more, that’s a big savings for our trainers. Hopefully, it helps them to do business in New York.

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