Upon returning from Gulfstream Park following this years Florida Derby, I felt like a lone voice crying out in the wilderness.

Its not so much that I loved the new Gulfstream. I didnt, but I wanted to be fair. Management there made modifications over its debut season, improving on some of the more egregious changes that were roundly vilified by racing media, horsemen and fans.

Change is never easy. And maybe, just maybe, Frank Stronachs vision for the future isnt wrong. Gulfstream doesnt need to hold 30,000 fans, except for one or two days a year anymore. In 20 years, racing fans might be more comfortable at a racino/simulcast facility with live racing part-time.

Lets get real; the paradigm has changed.

To me, the biggest problem with the new Gulfstream is that there was an old Gulfstream everybody loved. I miss that place, too.

After the events of Tuesday, Stronach has lost me forever, even if I must acknowledge he was the driving force that initially saved Maryland racing, the reconstruction of the Laurel turf course, at his behest, at the forefront of that renaissance.

But I can no longer support a man-- even if that man sincerely believes hes doing whats best for the future of the racing industry and his poor stockholders--who fired arguably Americas best racetrack executive.

Its not so much that Lou Raffetto Jr. went into a bad situation and made it better; smoothing over the ruffled britches of horsemen that have had plenty to be ruffled about, engendered cooperation with competing rivals in neighboring states and was a driving force behind making racinos at Maryland tracks a future reality.

But Raffetto was more. As a former racing secretary, he helped to create a new racing calendar necessitated by the loss of racing stock to tracks with higher purses in nearby racino states, keeping Marylands simulcast product viably competitive.

Closest to my heart, however, was that he was a friend of the player, experimenting with a lower takeout for a 10-day period this summer that he had to know would cost a revenue shortfall in the near term but was willing to try something to spur business while giving back to Marylands beleaguered fans.

Raffetto is sure to land on his feet. Hes too talented not to be picked up by some racetrack group that encourages speaking truth to power.

But maybe the sport would be better served if racetracks showed some guts and vision, banded together, and made him the first Commissioner of Thoroughbred Racing.