With horses bred from every nook on the Earth converging on North American soil to settle just who is best in the world is its best sell. Unlike how we call our baseball, football, hockey, and basketball teams "World Champions" when it would be a slam dunk for other countries to beat these teams (save football, but give them time). Could the Lakers beat Argentina? Phillies beat Cuba? Penguins beat Japan?
But with the Breeders' Cup is different. When English Channel defeated Dylan Thomas on that bog at Monmouth he became the world's best turf horse. See you at the Eclipse Awards. That's the beauty.
Still, the problem doesn't rest with the denomination of "world champion," rather we don't know who half these horses are. Who knew who Henry the Navigator or Raven's Pass was last year? Maybe some folks who frequent the Bunbury "Pub" at Saratoga knew, but who else?
If the Breeders' Cup is to still remain a championship of the world, its appeal has to increasingly come from marketing the stars of the world: horses, trainers, owners, the same way (if even that can be said) in North America. At least people here have heard of Jess Jackson and Jerry Moss, Bob Baffert and Nick Zito.
There must be a call in the industry to bridge the business from other continents because, yes, it is HUGE over THERE, wherever there happens to be. Perhaps if Americans saw the zeal of racing in Japan, France, and England, and could pick out a horse's name from overseas, then maybe there can be a greater grasp of pride for our equine stars beyond a Rachel Alexandra or Smarty Jones.
The Breeders' Cup has it right in that it is a global championship and for that it should be proud. But as is often the case, the United States is so myopic such that our teams and our flag wave above all others.
Just think, if we knew more about the global horses as a whole and our horses stomp them into the Pro-Ride, how much more gratifying will that be?
Just think how much MORE embarrassed we would've been when had we known who Raven's Pass was when he beat the world's fastest horse, and my love interest, Curlin.