Horse racing ready for rebound
By Jay Cronley
Special to ESPN.com
My feeling at Preakness time, 2002, is that the future of horse racing will be extremely bright because of crossover fans from the following sports.
Baseball: There is no steroid testing in baseball. You would think that might upset the people who are not taking steroids. Evidently they're too terrified of being hit over the head with a bat by a psycho juicer to say anything.
If you take your family to a major league baseball game and show up with box seats, a ticket-taker will probably say, "What's the special occasion?" It's that expensive.
Just look who's sitting behind home plate: Rich kids, drowsy seniors.
Golf: The "tour" now lasts 16 days. It is comprised of the majors, with the weekly grind now aimed at nourishing the field players.
College basketball: Is removing the phrase "student athlete" from the sport's vocabulary out of the question?
College football: An average single wing team, Nebraska, recently played for the national championship.
Pro basketball: This game looks like one of those shows that used to be on at 2 a.m. -- Gladiators, that's the one -- where people in helmets and elbow and knee pads tried to crash through the palace guards and jam a ball through a ring without being beheaded.
In pro basketball, it is possible to put somebody in the hospital without picking up a personal foul. It's like pass interference in football - cant catch it, no penalty. In pro hoops, if the basketball probably isn't going in, no foul.
Boxing: One flew into the cuckoo's nest.
NASCAR: To my knowledge, this is the only activity that can be won during a time out.
Pro football: About the only loyalty being displayed is by players nobody else wants. Tradition is a thing of the past.
Ice hockey: Takes three sources to confirm what you think you just saw on the tube.
Here is what fans crossing over to thoroughbred racing will like the most: Horses can't talk.
2. Magic Weisner: Local closer who probably wouldn't mind a home mud advantage.
3. Straight Gin: Another could use a little help from above; rain would be a blessing.
4. Crimson Hero: Maiden winner.
5. Medaglia d'Oro: Was ridden like a horse in a China shop in last.
6. Harlan's Holiday: Will be Glad to see old rival Booklet.
7. Easyfromthegitgo: Was all over Repent.
8. War Emblem: Company's coming.
9. Table Limit: Bankroll is only $64k.
10. Booklet: Morning line odds of 10-1 must be for first mile only.
11. Menacing Dennis: Longest shot in field; $2 says this one isn't last.
12. Proud Citizen: Deserves to be tired.
13. Equality: Much improved when last seen; off eight weeks.