Twelve wishes for 2012
Updated: December 31, 2011, 11:30 AM ETBy Amanda Duckworth | Special to ESPN.com
With the waning days of the holiday season upon us, it is hard not to turn our attention to the upcoming year. Below you will find 12 of my wishes for horse racing in 2012. Some are lighthearted, some are serious. All are well intended.Twelve: Although completely obvious, I sincerely hope racing gets its 12th Triple Crown winner in 2012. I don't think he/she will "save the sport" but it sure would be fun. Eleven: Medications. This 11-letter word continues to be racing's four-letter word, and something has to give. This upcoming year will feature the phasing out of race-day medications via graded juvenile races. I am not denying the need some horses have for Salix, but given the overwhelming percentage of first-time starters that race on it these days, it is clear the system is broken and North America's racing reputation is the one that suffers for it. I hope 2012 is a turning point toward something better. Ten: I want the 2012 Horse of the Year to start 10 times during their championship season. Considering that hasn't happened in more than a decade, I realize it is probably a pipe dream. But sometimes it seems the emphasis on "year" is missing when this award is given out, often out of necessity. Of course Rapid Redux could ruin this stat by getting named 2011 Horse of the Year, but that is unlikely to happen. Nine: I will be on cloud nine if we can get through the racing season without some kind of national scandal. No drug violations, no high-profile breakdowns, no questionable performances or egotistical actions. Let's all be on our best behavior and maybe a drama free 2012 is possible. Maybe. Eight: Here's hoping eight healthy legs and hooves make their way into the world for Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta's first foals. Four a piece, of course, as this wish is the equine version of the 10 fingers, 10 toes sentiment many parents have. Needless to say, I want all mares to have a happy and healthy foaling season, but these two little ones to be will be watched from birth by fans around the world. I hope these wonderful mares have easy foalings and take to motherhood like ducks to water. Seven: The seven-letter word I hope to see in print a lot this upcoming season is Frankel. He may be European's champion, but he is named in honor of the late American Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel. I would love to see him not only continue his winning ways but also make a trip across the pond. Six: If the powers that be at the Breeders' Cup have any idea of adding more races to the event, deep six them. Please. I am begging you. With a cherry on top and everything. At some point, quantity degrades quality. Five: I hope that you can take five minutes to think of how you can help with racehorses in retirement. Whether it is a donation of time, money, space or advocacy, everyone can do something. As a sport, we have to take care of our own. Four: Here's hoping the 4-years-old and up division can get it together this year. It was a bit all over the place in 2011. And on that note Three: Dear upcoming 3-year-old crop, Please be talented and entertaining and sound. For me personally, and I doubt I am alone in this, it has been since 2007 that a 3-year-old crop as a whole has really captured my imagination. Sure, three different horses won the Triple Crown races, but each of them were champions who rewrote the history books in some way. Anyway, do your best. Love, Amanda Two: It would please me greatly if owners and breeders took two seconds to take part in the Jockey Club's checkoff program. Started in 2009, the program gives industry players the chance to financially assist thoroughbred retirement efforts by including additional funds (in the amount of their choice) with their foal registration fee. One: One single horse that wins the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont. I mean, it can't hurt to ask twice, right? And while I am at it, make him a gelding. Amanda Duckworth is a freelance journalist who lives in Lexington, Ky. Write to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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