On a day of reflection of our blessings, horse racing should be somewhere on the list, below health and family. Things for which I am thankful include outstanding racing after the Breeders' Cup this weekend, Pegasus Stakes 2.0, last season's Triple Crown race winners coming back as 4-year-olds, the end of Gulfstream West, daylight standard time arriving and, of course, all of our regular readers and commentators.

This is the day to reflect upon how fortunate we are. Racing is down the list of our blessings, compared to health and family, but it is still an important element of so many of our lives for the pleasure, entertainment and occasional profit it provides. I hope you share many of the following thoughts.

I’m thankful there is racing life after the Breeders’ Cup. Aqueduct, Churchill Downs and Del Mar have stakes-loaded cards this coming weekend. Many of the biggest stakes will be run on Friday. Churchill has the Grade 1 Clark, the Mrs. Revere and the Dream Supreme. The Comely, Gio Ponti and a state-bred stakes are carded in New York. The Hollywood Turf Cup will be renewed at Del Mar.

Why are so many stakes on a weekday? It’s because tracks across the nation realize there are millions of people off work and available. I would be really thankful if I thought the Breeders’ Cup was paying attention.

Pegasus produces again

I’m thankful for the Pegasus Stakes. Problems still abound with how the race is funded, which brings into question whether the concept is viable on an ongoing basis. However, on the track, there will be another attention-grabbing showdown in Pegasus 2.0.

Gun Runner vs. Forever Unbridled might not pack the wow factor of Arrogate vs. California Chrome but the battle of the sexes injects a fascinating element . When the two face off a couple of days after the Eclipse Awards, it will be the Horse in the Year vs. the Female of the Year.

Without this gender clash, the Pegasus would amount to a romp in the Florida sun for Gun Runner, who has trounced almost every other horse likely to show up.

More to anticipate

I’m thankful that for the first time in memory, three different winners of Triple Crown races are coming back to race as 4-year-olds. I wish perfectly healthy BC Dirt Mile winner Battle of Midway was also coming back.

Fie on the breeders who took him away from us prematurely but it’s par for the course for the most greedy, selfish people in the game.

Pharoah stands alone

I’m thankful we haven’t had a Triple Crown winner the past two years—but only in retrospect. I rooted for Nyquist and Always Dreaming to replicate what American Pharoah accomplished, the only horse to sweep the Derby, Preakness and Belmont in four decades.

But the fact that they didn’t underlines how extraordinary Pharoah’s feat was. If there was a Triple Crown winner every year or two, it would become ho-hum. Every year that goes by without a Triple Crown winner only enhances appreciation for the amazing talent it requires and anticipation every spring that this could be the year of the next one.

Viva Frank Stronach

I’m thankful for Frank Stronach. He might be a little eccentric and some of his ideas come off as strange but every one of has the goal of advancing racing, a rare business attitude in an increasingly bottom line world.

Stronach is one of those people who will not be fully appreciated until he is no longer on the scene.

RIP Gulfstream West (I hope)

I’m thankful (or is it hopeful?) that the upcoming week could be the final one ever for Gulfstream West. It’s a travesty that Florida allows this faux meeting to qualify Churchill Downs Inc., owner of what used to be Calder Race Course, for a casino.

I’m not thankful for the state officials, who sanctioned this and for Hialeah to qualify to keep its casino license by running a couple of worn-out nags about 100 yards eight times a day for 40 days.

The latter all but eliminates any hope that “the most beautiful track in the world” will spend the money to get back into the thoroughbred picture, regardless of what happens with Gulfstream West, which provides an essential break--if it were a real race meeting--from year-round racing at real Gulfstream.

Decoupling, which failed in the Florida legislature last year, faces better prospects this coming spring because one of the issues that short-circuited it, casino expansion in the state, has been settled in the courts. Passage of decoupling will free CDI from the obligation to lease its vacant lot adjacent to a racing oval to Gulfstream.

Good riddance

Del Mar out of the picture

I’m thankful Florida, New York and other major venues I play have better photo finish cameras than Del Mar. How many more faux deadheats must there be before Del Mar does whatever is necessary to get it right.

I guess I’m thankful, too, that there were no really tight photos at the Breeders’ Cup.

They can do it, if asked
I’m thankful for Voodoo Song, the New York bred who won four races, two within four days, during the 40-day Saratoga stand. This fortified my belief that the only reason horses don’t run as often as they used to is because they are not asked to.

They are babied by trainers who collect their per diem whether the horse is in the barn or on the track.

Racing Form does right thing
I’m thankful the Racing Form has opened its editorial copy, albeit for only 30 articles a month.

It’s in the Form’s interest to promote racing to the greatest degree possible. No major newspaper still maintains a racing beat writer. Without the Form, there would be no daily coverage of the entire racing world in one place. This would work against the Form’s ADW site.

Cyber sites, including Horse Race Insider, the Paulick Report, Thoroughbred Daily News and the Blood Horse, have become essential for racing information and opinions but they typically prioritize regional coverage and national high spots. Only the Form has coverage of virtually every track, every day.

The price of the print edition has become so expensive it virtually rules out attracting new customers. This will eventually lead to the same kind of attrition that is bringing down print newspapers. I don’t think many in racing realize how important the Form is and the negative effect its absence would create.

One week to go

I’m thankful for the end of daylight savings time because the onset of earlier darkness alleviates at least some of the post dragging that has become a trademark of racing at Gulfstream.

That said post dragging is a minor annoyance that doesn’t detract from how thankful I am that Gulfstream’s prime winter meet is only a week away.