Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Kudos to a Technicolor Breeders' Cup

I've been critical of the Breeders' Cup for a number of reasons, most notably the decision to stage consecutive meetings on the synthetic surface at Santa Anita Park and its laying the potential groundwork for a withdrawal from some of the series' recently added races, particularly the Breeders' Cup Marathon.

But a comparatively small decision announced Tuesday by the Breeders' Cup gets a big thumbs-up from me.

This year, the horses will race with the standard U.S. system of color-coded saddle cloths, rather than all in the now-familiar Breeders' Cup purple.


The decision was reached after the Breeders' Cup consulted with its Fan Advisory Council and through the input of horseplayers across the U.S. and Canada. And it's a great move.

I realize that in certain major races (usually due to a corporate sponsorship) and in many foreign jurisdictions, single-color saddle towels are frequently used. But I greatly prefer the U.S. system -- red saddle cloth for the No. 1, white for No. 2, blue for No. 3, etc. -- because it takes a field full of brown and red horses (with the occasional gray) and makes every one of them "a horse of a different color," even at a distance.

I have a pretty good set of eyes, but as a bettor, fan or even an owner it can be difficult to follow "your" horse through the field, despite the fact that the jockeys are wearing silks and caps in the connections' colors.

The distinctive block of defining color that each different saddle cloth provides gives all observers the best opportunity to keep up with the progress of each horse in the race, from gate to wire.


  1. I know you missed work so much while you were away! :-)

    Glad to have you back at the DD!

  2. I notice you posted in the thread with the pretty-colored horse.

  3. The funny part was they consulted their "Fan Advisory Council" with the decisions they've made I didn't know they had any fans.

  4. But seriously folks. The Chief deserves credit for posting a piece that I wanted to to do at my own blog.

    I do not believe in redundancy when posting,
    so instead I created a poll to gauge the public reaction to what for me is a positive step by the Breeders Cup.

    If Mr. Craven does not object to democracy...
    you may vote at my blog...


    The machine is pre-programmed to prevent ballot-stuffing and the booth will remain open until November 5th, 2009.

  5. Absolutely I do not object to democracy. I would die for it. Or at least seriously inconvenience myself.

    Jokes aside, yes, I'd die for democracy if necessary. Much to my great fortune, and the fortune of all Americans, many thousands have served and died in my stead to forge and protect this democracy.

    Not that the votes we're casting over at your blog are QUITE so serious a matter.

  6. I'm so happy to read this. I get so frustrated watching a race I care about (a good race; a great race; a legendary race!) and not being quite able to tell who's who because I haven't memorized the stables' silks.

    Thank you, Breeders Cup people!

  7. Well that's great news on the democracy front. ;-)
    Approaching the first 60 votes and it appears to be a landslide.

    Makes you wonder what took the Breeders Cup so long on an issue that was overwhelmingly unpopular with the general public.

    Let's hope the Breeders Cup does not wait as long on other important issues studied by the Fan Advisory Committee.

  8. I'm a little surprised 18 percent (at this viewing) of your voters feel that ditching the purple saddle cloths is a "step back" for the Breeders' Cup brand.

  9. LOL Chief.
    I think the 18% could be voting out of spite.
    Either the Breeders Cup or against silly ol' me.

    No matter, these 18% seem have been barking pretty loudly for the color purple (and against me) for years. Nothing like a sobering dose of truth: correct decision by the BC.


I welcome comments, including criticism and debate. But jerks and the vulgar will not be tolerated.