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Vic Zast

From the perspective of being an owner, an industry pioneer in corporate sponsorship, a track president and fan, Vic Zast writes the "Destinations" column for The Blood-Horse. His five-star ratings of international events have shed light on racing in all corners of the globe - from England, Australia, Hong Kong, Dubai to Japan.

Vic is a regular contributor to MSNBC.com, a columnist for the Illinois Racing News and has written on racing for ESPN.com, National Public radio and The Age, Australia's leading daily.

Vic makes his home in Chicago and lives in Saratoga Springs in August.

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Friday, June 11, 2010


BC to Avoid Competition that Arlington Can’t


(CHICAGO, IL – June 11, 2010) Arlington Park would be a good place to be today if you want to buy a horse. Eight of the nine races will be offering claiming possibilities. You could halter a runner for as little as $5000, and nobody interested in doing the same will be there to interfere with your intentions.

The concrete walls of Dick Duchossois’s massive grandstand will echo like an empty canyon this afternoon. There’s so much going on in the Windy City that going to the horse races – these horse races – will be last on the minds of Chicagoans.

Beginning at 9:00 am, there’s the televised first game of the World Cup soccer tournament. At 10:30 am, over one million people are expected to line the streets in the Loop for the Stanley Cup championship parade. At 1:05 pm, Randy Wells takes to the mound for the Cubs against the White Sox in the first of three inter-league games between the cross-town rivals. By the way, how do you think he’ll do after celebrating until 3:00 am in a bar with some Blackhawks?

Horse racing prospers in areas where there’s little else but horse racing to entertain folks. Perhaps that’s why the Breeders’ Cup will announce today that its end-of-year event will be scheduled for relatively quiet Louisville. Louisvilleans (is that what they call ‘em?) still think horse racing is major league sport and the places which make sense for staging the Breeders’ Cup aren’t available.

The choice of location is a mistake for several reasons. European participants won’t like that the track provides a home team advantage. Those lucky enough to be at Santa Anita the past two autumns won’t find balmy temperatures, majestic views and interesting things to do during their visit. The day (and a little of the previous night) will be all racing, no celebrities, no diversions – boring. But, at least, there won’t be anything else going on to compete for attention.

Written by Vic Zast

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