Commentary

A new year, thank goodness

Updated: December 27, 2010, 8:45 PM ET
By Bill Finley | Special to ESPN.com

Here are 21 reasons I won't miss 2010.

1. Ernie Paragallo makes bail, freed. Despicable acts from a despicable person.

2. Maryland tracks on brink of closing.

3. Meadowlands on brink of closing.

4. New York City OTB goes bust.

5. Takeout increase in California. Here's how to revive the game -- soak the horseplayers.

6. The Belmont Stakes. Everyone who matters bailed on the Triple Crown.

7. Cheap races at Saratoga. Sorry, but this is no place to run a $10,000 claimer for non-winners of two lifetime.

8. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

9. Rachel Alexandra at 4. The biggest disappointment in a long time.

10. HullabaLOU.

11. Kentucky racing. Ellis and Turfway hanging on by a thread. Turfway guts stakes program.

12. David Williams. (See No. 11)

13. Life At Ten Breeders' Cup Distaff debacle. We're still waiting for answers.

14. Stronach to Oak Tree: Drop dead.

15. Study: Synthetics safer. Clamor for return to dirt continues.

16. Only 27,180 horses born in 2010, a 12.4 percent drop from 2009. Who's going to fill the cards of the future?

17. Churchill and Magna pull out of NTRA. NTRA, a good concept, has no chance if major players won't support it.

18. Michael Gill, Penn National jockeys boycott. Good for the jockeys. Still, an ugly story.

19. Louisiana HBPA election allegedly rigged.

20. Michael Martinez injured, paralyzed. They absolutely have to find a way to make this sport safer for the jockeys.

21. Miami Herald: "(horse racing) will probably be extinct in 20 years." Gloom, doom and more gloom and doom.

14 Reasons I Can't Wait For 2011

1. Uncle Mo.

2. Comma To The Top. What a neat horse. It's so easy to root for the overachievers.

3. Slots are coming to Aqueduct. At last, a break for New York racing. Now if they can just fix the OTB mess.

4. Jeff Gural will take over the Meadowlands. A smart guy who cares and has a lot of good ideas. Bet on him saving New Jersey harness racing.

5. Another year of Blind Luck.

6. Goldikova. A four-peat in the Breeders' Cup? Incredible.

7. Someone is sure to come in, take over and fix New York OTB, running it the way it always should have been run and not as a haven for political patronage jobs.

8. Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and another World Series win for my beloved Red Sox. Hey, there's more to life than just horse racing.

9. To Honor And Serve.

10. Exchange betting, hopefully, will make its debut in US, in New Jersey. You're going to love it.

11. "Luck" will debut. A show about horse racing with A-list actors on HBO? Should be terrific stuff.

12. Gulfstream will have a 10-cent Pick Six. This promises to be the best betting innovation of the year and will give the little guy a chance to hit the Pick Six. They're also going with a low15 percent takeout on Pick Fives, which will cost just 50 cents. They're going to have the best betting menu in the game.

13. Calvin Borel. Can he actually win the Derby again? Will he snap again?

14. It won't be worse than 2010.

Bill Finley is an award-winning racing writer whose work has appeared in The New York Times, USA Today and Sports Illustrated. Contact him at wnfinley@aol.com.

• Bill Finley is an award-winning horse racing writer whose work has also appeared in The New York Times, USA Today and Sports Illustrated.
• To contact Bill, email him at wnfinley@aol.com