The good, bad and ugly of 2018

The good, the bad and the ugly in 2018

December 28, 2018

by Ron Gurfein

THE GOOD

• The arrival of, Oliver, my second grandchild, in a four-month period.

• Harness Racing Update

• Adriano Sorella / Jimmy Freight. The best positive media PR in ages in a sport bent on negativity. Thank you.

• Jimmy Takter’s retirement. A very smart man has decided to put health ahead of money. A good friend and a great horseman has taken a path less traveled for his good and the good of his family. I wish him well.

• My trip to Coolmore Stud in Ireland was a fabulous experience. Seeing the great stallion Galileo and No Nay Never the up and coming new kid on the block owned by Lindy Farms and David Reid was great. They have a museum on the grounds that is a treasure chest of all the trophies and memorabilia from the racing and breeding achievements of the Coolmore stallions and racehorses. To top it off the people of Ireland are as warm as warm can be.

• Justify winning the Triple Crown. After seeing the Santa Anita handicap victory, I was one of the first on the bandwagon and my readers got to share in the profits. The second Triple Crown winner for Bob Baffert in this decade. Amazing.

• Purses are great throughout the industry with few exceptions. Indiana and Ohio and Massachusetts all showed huge increases for their indigenous races as well as overnight events.

• The sales results were unreal. The opening sessions at both major sales was an experience of a lifetime for the people in attendance.

• Atlanta, the fabulous filly trained by Rick Zeron and driven by Scott Zeron wins the Hambletonian beating the boys. The first filly to win in 22 years. I remember the last one well. What a wonderful scene in the winner’s circle with Scotty and Rick who could not have been more gracious in victory.

• New faces were sighted in the winner’s circle at the Breeders Crown. Marcus Melander and Verlin Yodor topped off magnificent years with their first Crown titles.

• How about Blake MacIntosh and Courtly Choice and Matt Kakaley and Dorsoduro Hanover.

• McWicked. Need I say more?

• Best year for first year stallions I have ever witnessed. Father Patrick, Trixton, Captaintreacherous and Sweet Lou all have give us reason to look forward to the performance of their sophomores.

• Kentucky crushing North Carolina.

• I see fresh hope in the resurgence of The New Meadowlands

• I still have a job….

THE BAD

• Steve Williams’ premature passing. Terrible loss to his family and the entire industry. He was a wonderful man and will be missed by all.

• The Pennsylvania Racing Commission has three major positives disappear for almost a year and then decides not to prosecute because of the lengthy time involved. Lovely.

• Kentucky killed by Duke in the first important game of the year.

• Miami Marlins send Stanton to the Yankees and all the other good players anywhere they could. It’s the same thing they did after winning the World Series.

• Reallocation of racing funding in Ontario will help the thoroughbreds and hurt us.

• The Lazarus failure in America representing Taylor Made’s first major step toward entering the standardbred arena seems a sad situation involving what could be a new major player.

• Where is our sports media? Nick Surick had almost a dozen horses scratched on one day in the state of New Jersey and with the exception of a blurb from Harnesslink with no explanation at all there has been nothing published anywhere. If that happened to a top thoroughbred trainer it would make the New York Times. I consulted with two major media personalities and my answer was we don’t like to promote negativity. Another said I have requested information from the New Jersey Racing Commission and they didn’t return my request for further information.

• Shame on the Hall of Fame selection committee for diluting the 2019 induction ceremony into a circus. It is a great honor to be selected, but to share induction with a busload certainly takes away from the experience. They would have been better off splitting the new members into two years. On top of that, where will they put all those people and what time will the speeches end? Maybe they will add morning Brunch to the agenda. It’s like having a six-way tie for Best Actor at the Academy Awards.

THE UGLY

• Gun violence.

• Gun laws.

• Politics, politics, politics.

I wish you all a healthy and happy New Year.

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