Who knew that one boost racing needed was an economic bust? For a decade now we've all been distressed by the speed with which our stars have been retired. All at once the flow seems to have slowed to a trickle.
The Thoroughbred Times ran a story yesterday that noted the return of eight of the ten champions from 2008. Curlin and Big Brown are the only champs from last year who aren't set to race this year. The article goes on to mention how Champs Elysees and Red Rocks were both kept in training simply because the climate is not good for new stallions. One might even say the climate is not good even for existing stallions as we see reports of stud farms up and down the country cutting fees.
I think we all recognize that the model in this sport was upside down. It seemed to be a race to the breeding shed. Glory on the track was simply a necessary preliminary step toward the ultimate goal of producing fine looking foals. The recent sales results have been extremely poor and it has the whole breeding industry gun shy. This could be a great opportunity to shift the focus back to where it should be: On the sport of racing itself.
Benny The Bull had been retired but the decision was made to bring him out of retirement. That's big news for a sprint division that's already looking pretty good. Now Team Valor has decided to bring back King of The Roxy who had been retired after last years Carter Handicap.
We've still lost two of the biggest stars in racing with the retirements of Big Brown and Curlin but there are signs that things may be different this year. Maybe we'll get to see another Derby winner at age four or perhaps we can hold on to the few stars we actually have in the handicap division.
None of us would ever wish for a recession but there seems to be a silver lining developing for racing.