Arrogreatest of All Time?
Sunday at this time of year is always devoted to HorseRaceInsider’s Triple Crown--Road to the Derby coverage, but not today. Not after spending the night-time with a gray racehorse a half-world away on a Saturday afternoon.
And I was so looking forward to the Derby playoffs, too, even if the UAE Derby has underperformed historically in a Kentucky context, and even if it didn’t appear via the PPs that we’d see the second coming of Animal Kingdom in Florence, Ky.
However, it’s true you never really know--and that also applies to what subsequently might step out of a horse van on the backside of Churchill Downs after having made a 1,600 mile road trip from Sunland Park, New Mexico. But the Derby is on hold at the moment.
Because at approximately 1 pm EDT Saturday, the preps and everything else--including the final round of Elite Eight NCAA play--would be rendered moot. Time and belief were suspended when a horse named Arrogate delivered a performance for the ages.
Now, after every big race that features a big performance and a big dramatic ending, I’m as guilty as anyone who makes use of a hyperbole machine. But not today.
This time there are no words to describe what a magnificent gray Thoroughbred did on a rainy, muddy night in the desert. The effort had to be seen to be believed, and maybe not even then. Much blinking was involved.
Hall of Fame Ballot Offers Many--Too Many--Worthy Nominees
The Racing Hall of Fame ballot arrived in the mail last week and it’s quite an eclectic lineup of 11 nominees. However, before we go on public record with our choices, this:
The Hall of Fame voting process historically has been problematic and a reliable source of great debate. Many approaches have been advanced over the years, some better than others, of course.
But the process currently in use, in our view, is not one of them.
Instead of breaking nominees down into categories, equines and humans, i.e. jockeys and trainers, all are lumped into one primary-type voting process.
So, for instance, who do you prefer, Javier Castellano or Goldikova? It might as well be the Pantheon of Apples v Oranges.
But that’s not the poorest feature, however. That distinction belongs to the voting rules themselves. It’s all spelled out in the cover letter:
1. You DO NOT have to vote for a specific number of candidates, human or equine.
2. You are being asked to vote “Yes” for as many or as few candidates as you wish.
3. The top four vote-getters, provided they receive more than 50 percent of the vote, will gain election into the Hall of Fame.
For us the issue is two-fold: the worthiness of an equines v. jockeys and trainers, and the fact that a vote for more than one in each category in effect cancels a voters prime choice.
While it’s way above my pay grade (my tax returns are available in order to dispel any potential emolument violations, or worse) I offer the following suggestion:
How about one vote for equine, trainer, and jockey, and one wild card in categories where voters are torn between two extremely worthy individuals? The Hall of Fame Committee can, as it does now, decide the appropriate percentage to gain admission to the Hall.
Beyond the above qualifications, this is what one ballot looks like, no slights intended. The preferences were based on empirical observation and a great compilation of statistical data provided by Hall of Fame staffers: