Is Horse Racing Like the Wizard of Oz?

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This Writer Thinks So

by J. N. Campbell for The Sports Haven

L. Frank Baum’s “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” can be likened to many facets of sport.

Today, the state of horse racing is allegorically connected to L. Frank Baum’s classic tale, “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.” It’s a landscape that is brilliant on the surface, full of diverse and fascinating characters. However, if we drill down a bit and look hard enough, there’s negligence, mismanagement and nothing short of a decentralized state.

Running through our Oz is, of course, the Triple Crown trail. Like the ‘Yellow Brick Road,’ it’s bright, shiny and seems to link the country behind the sport. After Belmont, however, we become lost and lose interest. The state seems minor, even irrelevant to a larger audience.

Certainly, local ovals are well-attended on major race days — but on a regular basis for the most part, patrons are like Baum’s munchkins (no jockey jokes here, mind you!) — well-meaning, but cogs in a larger mysterious wheel. Problems arise stealthily as take outs fluctuate, odds change after the gates open and officials shave pennies off winnings called breakage, like licks from a lollipop.

Thus, bettors feel diminutive and under-served. Track leadership is like that munchkin mayor, unsure of the future now that the Wicked Witch of the East is dead.

Speaking of those that fly on brooms or cast spells, they remind me of our super trainers. Regionally, they  …

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About Editor

Rich Nilsen is a 16-time qualifier to the National Horseplayers Championship (NHC), an event he has cashed in four times. He was the first player to finish in the top 10 twice. He cashed on the NHC Tour for 2018 with a 19th overall finish. Rich was also a winner of a $24,000 package into Kentucky Derby Betting Championship I. A former executive with Brisnet.com, Rich is a graduate of the University of Louisville Equine Business Program and is founder of AGameofSkill.com, a site devoted to horse racing education and promotion.

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