Friday, 1 January 2010

'10 Predictions

Silvester, the annual ritual of Germans quite literally blowing up millions of Euros in the form of fireworks, had a foggy renewal last night. Unlike most other countries, German New Year's Eve fireworks are an amateur event, meaning millions of cheap rockets being launched by tipsy family fathers and close-to-passing-out youths. Not coincidentally, Silvester is also the mother of all paydays for the German hospital and firefighting supply industries. As well as the German producers of sparkling wine (there may also be a causal connection there). But frankly, after witnessing the bright boredom of organized fireworks on New Year's Eve in other countries, I absolutely prefer our customary mayhem.

In the spirit of randomly launching missiles for entertainment purposes, let's start this year off with a couple of random thoughts, labeled "predictions" to mask the fact that most of them aren't new:
  • Several more states will team up with casino operators to increase their respective gambling gains by cutting off the leech known as racing...
  • ... Horsemen will be shocked, while the racing media will act as if you couldn't see this one coming a mile away
  • The 2010 BC at Churchill Downs will produce about as many odd results as both Santa Anita Pro-Ride editions combined, and that's if there is no increment weather
  • Yet, haters of artificial surfaces will continue to think of OSA as the "weird" one
  • There won't be an American Triple Crown sweep this year (this is the only prediction I don't feel very confident about), which is why the media will once again go through its own annual firecracker ritual of declaring the series anachronistic and practically impossible...
  • Based on those articles, casual fans would never guess that only one Belmont mishap and a less-than-daring filly owner prevented us from very likely celebrating back-to-back Triple Crown sweeps in 2008 and '09
  • There also won't be a British Triple Crown sweep (let's face it, if an overwhelming Guineas and Derby winner skips the St. Leger in a year when all they have to beat are Mastery, Kite Wood and Monitor Closely, it's not gonna happen)
  • If there isn't a very public, very graphic breakdown of a prominent horse, we will hear a lot about the necessity of a major overhaul of American racing, but not much about actual reforms
  • Alex Waldrop will see it differently
  • I will once again find it hard to explain to friends and family why I keep following racing when I'm aware that almost every other sport does a better job at putting up a product worth following
(Image: New Year's Eve fireworks 2008/09 in Dresden; image from