Home should not be where the headlines are
Forgive me for a moment while I dust off my soapbox and preach on the salaciousness of the media. I can handle it in the New York Post; I accept watching it on Inside Edition; I expect it with TMZ.com.
But in horse racing? Please.
Recent racing-related news outlets and sports pages covering the tribulations of the daughters of racing figures has been appalling to me as a father -- and as a graduated and trained journalist. If you don't know the events I'm talking about, you're only a titillating Google away in today's society from finding it out for yourself.
How the daughters of Funny Cide's part-owner Jack Knowlton and jockey Jose Santos are even remotely considered public figures, much less niche industry once-removed people of public interest, is beyond the stretch of my reason. The racing public wants to know who's going to win the fourth at Aqueduct, not this nonsense.
Is it news? Yes. Local news. Crimes were committed, and it's part of the police blotter and the media's watchdog role to report on it. No doubt the public has a need to know. But outside of the local areas where these alleged crimes were committed, the actions of these relatives of "famous" people simply aren't newsworthy -- only absolute garbage to grab headlines.
Had Santos been an active rider during the timing of his daughter's legal woes, then perhaps the story takes legs as newsworthy to the sports and racing pages. Will it affect his riding? Will he miss time from the racetrack for the courtroom, etc. That would make the story similar to the Andy Reid saga with the National Football League's Philadelphia Eagles franchise. But Jose Santos is retired for Pete's sake.
While I personally have been guilty of attention-grabbing moves like putting together a clean-tasted modeling pictorial of the Beulah Twins in a racing magazine, these were not crimes that destroyed families and livelihoods. No one's names were thrashed through the headlines as they tried to put their families back together. Still, in fairness, I cannot claim to reside in complete Sainthood.
But in an industry well-known for serving beer in the press box, and some of the most famous writers noted for pulling out a bottle of their finest scotch or whiskey from their desk drawers as they work, it comes off even more two-faced.
Give an extra hug to your daughters tonight. And, as an editor, please don't ask your writers to scribe about someone else's.
Turning the soapbox over to you ...
The unthinkable happened last week. Somewhere between the spam filters and the pools of phish, a new sheriff took over my E-mail in-box.
Supplanting the obvious contenders -- you know, "Feeling lonely tonight?" or "Guys, tired of not pleasing your wives?" -- the dominant E-mail subject line this past week was "pick six." Last week's commentary on the relative worth of the pick six wager drew many responses.
Remarkably, the positive E-mails out-numbered the negatives by about a seven-to-one ratio. It's not remarkable to find agreement, only rather to actually read about it. The silent majority typically is just that -- silent.
Most often, writers in public forums like this are flooded with personal attacks, profanity-laced diatribes and general assessments of our ignorance levels. Oh, yes, I got a few of those this week, too -- mostly from industry insiders and track management types.
Here are some snippets from what you were saying to me last week in what has turned out to be one of the more talked-about columns on my tenure here:
And finally, this is just the kind of rant that you read with a sense of urgency. Hope you don't mind me including it at more length:
Jeremy Plonk is the editor of The HorsePlayer Magazine and its Web site, HorsePlayerdaily.com. You can E-mail Jeremy about this topic or any other racing-related topic at email@example.com.
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