Triple Crown fairness
I’m certainly not a big horse racing fan since I only get turned on when it is Kentucky Derby time and the aura of a Triple Crown winner begins to surface in my brain. However, after the Derby, I have long wondered where the horses at the Preakness come from. Many are complete strangers — as are a good group of them at the Belmont. So when the co-owner of California Chrome spoke out after his horse lost its bid for the Triple Crown at the Belmont on Saturday, I found myself in 100 percent agreement and am glad someone finally had the courage to address the issue.
To me, if you want to vie for Triple Crown fame and fortune, you must enter and run in the Derby. Two weeks later the horses that are still capable of running can run at the Preakness. The field would undoubtedly be whittled down, as some owners will choose not to run for whatever reason, and the same would occur at the Belmont Stakes. At the Stakes there’d be no horse eligible to run that didn’t run in the prior two events.
Is this foreign to sports? No. In other major sports there are deadlines for bringing superstars, or ringers, to a team in order that they might be able to play in the playoffs, etc.
The deadline in horse racing should be a couple weeks before the Derby. This way, when you have a Triple Crown winner, you’ll have the best of the best, not a horse that specializes in only a 1-1/2-mile race. I concur with the co-owner and certainly don’t feel he is a sore loser or a crybaby. He is right on in his thinking, and the horse racing gurus should address this issue.
Not a poor sport
I am not a player, and I do not own thoroughbreds, but I’ve raised, trained, ridden and loved horses for 50 years. During that time I have followed the Triple Crown with an intensity that my family has grown to accept. It is hard to imagine a professional sport so committed to equality of competition that half of their races are graded and handicapped so that the best only competes with the best. That’s what makes sport. What would happen if they take away all the graded stakes and handicapping? It would not be sport, or particularly entertaining, to watch our local swim champion compete with Michael Phelps. Nor would it be sport to have him compete in a 400-meter race against some swimmers who were allowed to begin racing at the 200- or 100-meter portion of the race. No one would think that a fair competition.
The Triple Crown is designed to weed out the horses from those who have the heart and stamina to run and win all three races. I agree with California Chrome co-owner Steve Coburn and doubt we will ever have another Triple Crown winner — although I’m not so sure his horse would have won had only those that ran with him in all three races had been there. But to do less is simply not worthy of the sport of kings. Those who call the man a poor sport do not know this sport.
On June 5 James Waurishuk took the time to once again outline the talking points of those attempting to redirect the privacy debate away from illegal federal activity (“Edward J. Snowden: Tinker, traitor, liar, spy,” Other Views). Off the bat, a low score for originality, but I’d like to address this viewpoint.
Those accusing Snowden of handing information over to the Russians, of being granted asylum as compensation, of having ulterior motives, and then assuring us we’d be facing the same debate we’re having today if he’d gone through official channels? All of it is hunches — people deeply entrenched in the business making assumptions within their own tightly defined realm of possibility with absolutely no evidence substantiating any of their claims. They are appeals to reason against a man operating on an entirely different set of principles than they.
Ah, but Snowden has plenty of hard evidence — thousands and thousands of documents proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the federal government is explicitly guilty of repeatedly violating the Constitution on a massive scale under the guise of “national security.”
It shames me that a veteran who so selflessly made the decision to serve would place institution over Constitution. You continue to frame the debate as one about Snowden’s supposed treachery, and it’s not anymore. To the average citizen inquiring into the exercised power of the federal government, continuing to condemn Snowden looks woefully disingenuous.
He will face justice in time. But we need to remember that every federal employee, top to bottom, makes a solemn oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States, and their willing failure to do so is a much more pressing concern.