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On Track With Horserace Gambling
Horseracing desperately needs a hero. So with Seabiscuit long dead
and a year removed from the multiplex, Smarty Jones couldn’t have come
along at a better time. If the undefeated chestnut colt rides to victory
in tomorrow’s Belmont Stakes, thereby becoming the first horse to win
the Triple Crown in more than a quarter century, the beleaguered sport
will get a vital shot in the arm. But will a Triple Crown winner be
enough to revitalize horseracing, as some are predicting? Probably not.
After all, in the age of short attention spans and hundreds of cable
channels, just when the magnitude of a Triple Crown victory should be
sinking in with Americans, they’ll be tuning into the NBA Finals or the
latest reality show.
But that’s why, should Smarty Jones win on Saturday, what he does
next will be so important–because the colt’s owners, Roy and Pat
Chapman, have pledged that rather than retire Smarty and consign him to
the breeding shed, as is the current trend in the sport, they’ll
continue to race him. And if that happens, then Smarty Jones really
could save horseracing.
Divining the reasons for horseracing’s rapid decline in popularity in
the United States–in the late 1970s, racetrack attendance here was
around 79 million a year; in 1998 it was a mere 38 million–is a
favorite parlor game among sportswriters, academics, and people in the
horse business. Some blame the aforementioned short attention spans of
Americans. Others point the finger at the proliferation of other forms
of gambling: Once upon a time, horseracing was the only game in town;
now gamblers can play state lotteries or visit casinos.
entire article at:
The New Republic Online
2004 Online Casino News Archive