This author has many people to thank for their kindness and cooperation during the past 12 months, not only with articles we’ve written, but also in the care of our thoroughbreds.
To name each and every person would be a daunting task, but suffice it to say that we offer our sincere appreciation to those in the Pennsylvania horse racing industry, and many in New Jersey and Delaware, too. It is a joy to write about the farms, horses and people in the Mid-Atlantic region.
May the New Year bring health and prosperity to you all.
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Letters, we get letters. One of the most interesting ones to cross our desk came about two weeks ago from H. R. M. Hobson in Sherman Oaks, Calif.
Hobson writes of his belief that Zenyatta should be Horse of the Year, but he also makes an interesting observation. In the moments before the Classic, one of the ESPN announcers spoke directly to jockey Mike Smith via wireless microphone, but not to any of the other jockeys.
Hobson is of the opinion that the announcer planted "last minute ideas in Smith's head that would be hard for anyone to shake and disregard. The announcer's faceless voice behind the microphone mentally distracted Smith's concentration, which should have been solely on the race and nothing else."
Hobson then goes on to call for a "total ban on any media contact with jockeys before a race." "This should be a standard operating rule of proper conduct and applied to all sports," he wrote.
I have often been appalled at ESPN's interview strategy after the race - having the winning horse and jockey amble up to the booth where Jerry Bailey and his colleagues sit and answer questions, while the horse should really be kept moving, taken to the winner's circle, and then cooled out properly. This, combined with Hobson's view that ESPN's pre-race interview strategy is also flawed, should make the suits at that network take a long, hard look at how they are covering the Sport of Kings.