Thoroughbred racing has long been an after-thought in the mainstream sports world. Media coverage is almost non-existent, except when the Triple Crown races and Breeders’ Cup come around. Racing has and continues to lag far behind other sports in media coverage for various reasons. Let’s face it, if you don’t handicap there is not much there for you, unless you’re a real enthusiast of the sport, which I am both. Things do not necessarily have to be that way however. Thoroughbred racing has a lot to offer.
There is not much anyone can do about horses not sticking around. Owners can do what they want—it’s their investment not ours. So I ask, what can anyone do? I can start by saying there are things so-called media experts can stop doing. Let’s start with the all-knowing Paul Moran who recently wrote a blog entry stating that bloggers themselves are not part of the “new media” Okay, yet Mr. Moran sees fit to have a blog. Why, because he is smarter, more educated, and in the know from years of being in the industry. Or so one may think. Anyone who places a bet, or follows racing, is part of the industry regardless of how Mr. Moran or anyone else feels about it.
Paul Moran’s blog entry on January 7, 2009 What exactly is racing’s “New Media?” was weak, filled with presumptions, and flat-out insulting to the world of online bloggers, whether one calls themselves an Internet journalist or blogger. The fact is simple and straightforward. I think Paul Moran has superb credentials, but is no more qualified to write a blog than anyone else. And further more he is not in a position to dictate whether bloggers are part of a so-called “new media”. The fact of the matter is they already are and have been for a good period of time. And this goes for all bloggers, not just horseracing bloggers. Mr. Moran states the only qualifications for anyone to have a blog is simply owning a computer and having some spare time. As if to say anyone who does have a blog is nothing more than a person who owns a computer and has nothing better to do. If that’s the case, the same can be said of Mr. Moran, who as we know owns a computer, so we think. Sometimes I wonder if Mr. Moran owns a cell phone, or chooses to still communicate via smoke signals. The generalizations made in his blog entry are inaccurate and unfair.
Mr. Moran will tell you what he has accomplished on his blog. On the left side is a long list of his accomplishments and achievements. Impressive, but for an individual who has long been synonymous with racing, one does not need to tout accomplishment’s in order to prove that their word and opinion is far better then yours or mine. Many self-proclaimed experts will do this on their blog, and I’m, not impressed.
I will agree that the word blog is a bit ridiculous, and I do not care for the word at all, but it’s no more ridiculous than Mr. Moran’s baseless insults on his own blog, no less on blogspot.com, a contradictory action in itself. Mr. Moran, does not like the word blog? A word of advice to Mr. Moran, get your own website. That’s what I did. There are a lot of things in the racing industry we do not like, and negative feedback from a prominent racing writer is certainly not something that should be embraced, or taken as gospel, when the people that do have a blog are in fact trying to promote a sport, that in some eyes is dying. That’s an entirely different topic for another day.
Paul Moran’s comments on his blog in regards to current day bloggers as not being part of “new media” is also an elitist statement in its own right. Paul Moran’s message is clear and to the point. He is more qualified to write a blog than you or me. That’s the message here, and if you read a blog, take it for what it is, some rant from some person that works two jobs to make a living, barely has any real knowledge of the racing game, and is lucky enough to actually own a computer and have some spare time.
What constitutes who and what an expert is I ask? It’s not someone who will tell you, it’s the person who produces the material. Certain blogs and or websites have a theme, and focus on what that particular author knows best. And anyone who has a blog, and or website, should focus on what they do and know best.
At ThoroughbredZone we focus on the one thing the sport is, and will always be about, the thoroughbreds that run their guts out each and every day throughout racing tracks around the United States. There are many links to websites that detail the history of the thoroughbred. We also focus on the big racing days, such as the Kentucky Derby and Breeders’ Cup. These are the biggest day’s in racing. There are also many photo albums that have been taken throughout the years at various tracks on the website. And we also follow young talented horses as they progress at ThoroughbredZone. We also try to give a person who is interested in racing an idea of what the thoroughbred is, and there is a section for thoroughbred newbies.
I do consider myself an expert in the sense that it’s what I do and know. We don’t necessarily post opinions on a daily basis the way some other blogs do. And anyone else who has a well-put together blog is no less an expert than Mr. Moran who touts his long list of accomplishments for all to see.
Bloodhorse.com, the preeminent racing website on the Internet, has even added a section for blogging articles on their homepage from the Thoroughbred Bloggers Alliance. The Bloodhorse gets it. Mr. Moran does not. Some blogs may have more substance than others, but the common theme is they are about thoroughbred racing for the most part.
Another issue that has come to my attention is the way the sport gets covered on the Internet by other websites and media. Equidaily.com is a popular website that collects its content from other websites, such as links to stories, and occasionally a blogger or two that might post something of interest. The website is designed in the same way the successful website Drudgereport.com is designed, and there is a distinct similarity in these two websites style and layout. Both are easy to navigate and read.
Equidaily.com is considered a one-stop source by many racing fans for news and information in the thoroughbred horseracing industry, however they too have done their best to treat bloggers as second-rate citizens in the world of thoroughbred racing as well. Occasionally a blogger will have a link posted, but more often than not, they go unnoticed.
Recently I had submitted photos, that I had taken from the 2008 racing year and posted them on website as ThoroughbredZone’s 2008 Pictures of the Year. Many of these photos captured some of the biggest racing moments from 2008, but were not considered worthy of being linked to on Equidaily.com. Promoting and showing pictures of thoroughbred race horses, that one would not normally see, has been deemed not worthy by Equidaily.com, just another example of why the sport lacks the fan base other sports might have.
I sent an e-mail looking for a simple explanation as to why the photos were not considered. I was answered back with a contradictory e-mail stating that they don’t accept photo submissions. The only pictures that they would link to are professional quality photos that stand out for some reason. Or perhaps an amateur photo that offers an unusual take, or goes with an interesting story. The last sentence basically would qualify anyone who takes a picture at the track to have a photo submission at least considered, since any picture taken is unique and different. I’m sure racing fans and non-racing fans alike are not too concerned about what camera took the photo. As in Mr. Moran’s case, the same holds true here, so what qualifies a professional picture? Viewers do not necessarily concern themselves with things like that, if the photo is a good one.
The err of most racing fans has been usually directed towards owners of thoroughbreds and racetracks. However that thought process should at least be altered a bit in light of such negative press directed towards bloggers and people who take pictures that can only enhance the popularity of thoroughbred racing throughout the United States. More mainstream coverage is needed for racing to continue to move forward, and Equidaily.com could be in a position to do that, if they choose to.
To those I say the more blogs and horse pictures, the better. The sport needs and will continue to need, as much positive press as possible, not negativity towards those that follow the sport.
The shift of media outlets in this world have transformed greatly over the past decade and will continue to do so with the introduction of social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, mobile devices, and more bloggers as we move further into 20th century. The avenue for the racing fan continues to expand to far reaching parts of the world. There are also message boards on the Internet that are a place where the common fan and experts a like can mingle, such as Paceadvantage.com, ThoroughbredChampions.com , Dmtc.com and Pedigreequery.com. Joining one of these forums is always a good way to share opinions and get feedback It’s always a good idea to join or look at these particular forums, than to ignore them all together. The problem is many people don’t know about them. No links to these sites can be found on Equidaily.com either.
Thoroughbred racing is at a crossroads on how to promote the sport. The only way for racing to continue to move forward into the 21st century is to embrace this “new media” of Internet journalists who put their time and effort to produce racing material. Blogs and/or Internet journalists are part of the “new media”, whether Mr. Moran is willing to believe this or not, and will continue to be for many years to come. Opening the door to this particular group of people will bring new fans into a sport that has yet to find a real way to do so. A new type of fan, a younger more computer savvy fan can be introduced to the exciting world of thoroughbred racing. New ideas are what the industry needs, not the same old, recycled, information that still continues to be put forward by the same outlets.