Commentary

It's a great sport

Updated: April 11, 2011, 4:41 PM ET
By Jay Cronley | Special to ESPN.com

It happens every May: An intern tells a mainstream media member that the big horse race in Kentucky is due, and soon it's on the air. Horse racing, like boxing, is down for the count. And now, today's strike and drug use news in the "major" sports.

Here are 57 reasons why horse racing remains one of the best sports going.

1. The tattoos are on the inside (of a horse's lip)
2. Unlike NASCAR, wagering is permitted
3. It's exciting
4. You have to be smart to win consistently
5. Dummies still try
6. It's colorful
7. Slot machines fuel the sport
8. Slot machines are highly addictive
9. Jockeys share a locker room
10. Cash plays
11. There are 80-some-odd tracks in this country
12. A little can win you a lot
13. Average dolts set the odds
14. More newspapers than horse tracks are going under
15. Experts can't pick a lick
16. Average suckers love cheap favorites
17. Santa Anita is back to basics, dirt
18. Small tracks frequently out-produce big tracks
19. There are no strikes or lock-outs
20. There is regional loyalty to three-year-olds
21. Free parking
22. Mud
23. Announcers have good grammar
24. HRTV (don't forget mute button)
25. Dime supers
26. The Breeder's Cup (prolongs careers)
27. There's only one house skim per exotic wager
28. There's no hurry
29. It's one of the last outposts for legal characters
30. Luck is supposed to even out over the long haul
31. There's no advertising on the silks or horses
32. Rolling doubles (surely you can find one horse a day)
33. Tote giveaways
34. Horse movies have happy endings
35. Horse TV shows involve thugs
36. Male and female horses compete against one another
37. The Daily Racing Form has all the info
38. Most "How-to-Pick" books are marked down
39. All winners have "value"
40. Hardly anybody drops dead at the track
41. The IRS accepts losing tickets as proof of a loss
42. Tip sheets hustled by people with nicknames
43. Most turf exactas pay $50 minimum
44. Dead heats, which figure to be impossible
45. Female jockeys are under-bet
46. Old people have manners
47. Nobody uses the men's restroom after a win
48. The rail, where deadbeats gather
49. The element nature of spa racing, and Santa Anita
50. Horses that pay $100 to win
51. Exit-level celebrities at the Triple Crown races
52. The call to the post
53. Horses names
54. Handicapping experience pays off in the long run
55. Reason to dust off the binoculars
56. Big winners get to breed
57. Horses seldom talk

Write to Jay at jaycronley@yahoo.com.