Quality Road can't seem to catch a fast track, but he ran a great race too.
But, man, the older horses stink, stank, stunk, and not just in the JCGC. And it's not their fault. Many of these horses would be picked last in a lineup for dodgeball.
The problem is that the older horses stick around because they were never that good to begin with. The brilliant horses, the ones fans would love to see run — oh, let's be edgy, 13 times —start their retirement a tad early. So let's mandate that all horses run into their fourth year, at least.
The breeders will have a problem with this, and certainly owners who are sitting on pocket aces waiting to cash in on their BIG HORSE, may find fault in this. But what if we re-calibrate the compass? What if we said that, 'Hey, a loss in this race will not compromise his value at stud.' Or put in long-term racing incentives that reward breeders and owners who keep a future stallion in training. What are you losing in that one year? A dollar sign could be put on that easily, but think about the long term payoff:
1. Keep the stars around longer, thus giving the sport a better chance to draw in more fans.
2. By drawing in more fans you may get more owners down the road that remembered when a Curlin ran as a four year old. Little race fans make big race fans who might own a horse some day.
3. It makes the product of the older classic races much more appealing. And in so doing makes racing palatable outside the Triple Crown for the fringe fan.
4. The more horses that are recognizable, the better the Breeders' Cup will be since an increased number of horses will be in the vernacular.
Otherwise, more and more people won't touch this sport with a .... 39 and a half foot pollllllle!