Bobby Zen

First, the CHRB was put in a no-win situation. To paraphrase Board Chairman Dr. Gregory Ferraro, half of the state was going to be mad at the CHRB regardless of how they voted. And frankly, it is very sad that it even came to that, as I will explain in more detail momentarily.

While it is clear that the recent letter sent by Craig Fravel did not sit well with them, it seems that the Board understood the ramifications of not having racing in the North. Meaning that it would halt the California breeding program along with completely altering the lives of those who work up there.

Second, it is clear that the North and the South need each other. The North is the major center for California breeding, while the South will have the major racetracks. To lose racing in the North, as California Thoroughbred Trainers spokesman Alan Balch discussed at the meeting, will mean the loss of incentive for breeding to continue in California. And the breeding program is needed.

Third, California racing must have unity. As Dr. Ferraro stated during the meeting, the North and the South need to work together. That is why this is sad that last week’s meeting featured a no-win situation for the CHRB. Unity was needed years ago. It is long overdue.

Unity is essential for California racing to survive. The Golden State is filled with intelligent people who love the sport of Thoroughbred racing. Surely we can come up with solutions to make it thrive. As we all know, racing has been handed down from generation to generation, as evidenced by the families who have been involved in riding, training and breeding. And it is especially true as many of us learned of the sport through family members, especially parents. We do not want to be the last generation of California racing.

The sport has a rich history out here, going back to the days of Emperor of Norfolk and Lucky Baldwin. It has to continue as we move through the 21st century.

We must be innovative. We must find ways to reach a younger audience. We must promote this sport. We must work together. We can also work together to generate a stronger campaign for legislation relating to sports betting in California. That is definitely worth revisiting.

There is nothing like going to the racetrack to see live racing, or just being at a racetrack early in the morning. In both scenarios, there is a magic that exists nowhere else. And so many more should experience that brilliant magic.

And we also need to think of the backstretch workers, those unsung heroes of the racetrack, and their families. The tracks are literally their home. What happens to them if California racing goes the way of history? Where do they go? What will they do? This sport is their life. We need to remember them, the track employees, and of course, the horses. What will happen to the horses? We must certainly not forget them.

As someone whose life changed for the better after first attending the races in 2007, I can say the current state of California racing is very distressing. I do not wish for it to go away, so I am calling on all groups involved with California racing to work together and find solutions. It can be done. It must be done. Otherwise, we face an unspeakable alternative.

Let’s work together.

 

Alan French

The post Letter to the Editor: Alan French appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.

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