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, a columnist for the Illinois Racing News and has written on racing for, 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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Saturday, December 18, 2010

On the Sixth Day of Christmas, Fans’ Vote

(SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY – December 18, 2010) Not surprisingly, the movie Secretariat got blanked by the Hollywood Foreign Press. Except for a curious 4-star review by Roger Ebert and a handful of notable critics, the reviews weren’t good. Nominations for the Golden Globe Awards are often puzzling. But, by and large, the winners go on to do well at the Oscars. Cream rises as a result of consensus; it’s not accident.

Given the number of horse racing fans that saw Secretariat, you can be certain that Disney’s cinematic fairy tale about Penny Chenery would have not been dismissed entirely from Golden Globe consideration had movie-goers cast ballots. Likewise, given the right to vote for the Eclipse Awards, horse racing fans would produce the same referendum. They would lead with their hearts and not with their heads. This is what those with the Eclipse Awards vote at the NTRA, the Daily Racing Form and the NTWAB believe. But what’s so bad about emotion?

Anytime a result is determined by human subjectivity instead of by direct competition, an element of interpretation enters in. With the exception of Richard M. Nixon and Lyndon B. Johnson, each US president since John F. Kennedy ascended to office for reasons primarily cosmetic. The electorate liked the way they looked and found comfort in what they said. An electoral majority formed from the participation of disparate elements, ranging from individuals who knew the issues completely to those who couldn’t tell you which of the parties each candidate represented.

It is understandable why the vote for the Eclipse Awards is restricted. Like the Golden Globes and the Oscars, the program is an industry property. As hard as it is for fans of the sport to comprehend the difference between how a professional employed by the sport faces his responsibility and how they might if put in the same place, a difference exists. Moreover, when something’s been done the same way for a long time, changes to that way don’t come easily.

On the sixth day of Christmas, horse racing would be well served by giving those who follow the sport a vote for the Eclipse Award winners. There are myriad ways to accomplish this while still keeping true to tradition.

Vic Zast invites you to visit his Web page at and to follow him on He will post six more wishes in the last days before Christmas. Return to TrackWords daily to keep up with them.

Written by Vic Zast

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