Thursday, November 26, 2009

Secret Shame

Much has been written about the renaming of the Lady's Secret (gr. I) the Zenyatta, effective for the 2010 renewal of the race. Many racing fans are dismayed by the total disregard being given to Lady's Secret, myself amongst them. Aside from the general arguments that this change is being made too quickly, and what will happen in 10 years when another super mare comes along (both valid), here is my take on the situation as a young racing fan:

Lady's Secret etched her place in history two years before I was born. I did not know her as a racehorse, but I have learned about her legacy, much of which has been carried on in this race named in her honour. While I did not watch Lady's Secret race herself, I have watched numerous renewals of the Lady's Secret Stakes, and recognize it to be a prestigious event; any horse who has won or showed up well in this event is one to watch. On the flipside, I followed Zenyatta throughout her 14-race demolition, and need not hear more than her name to appreciate the wonderful champion she is, and the accomplishments she has made. The Zenyatta Stakes, however, is meaningless to me, and I am more likely to scan over it unintentionally on a racing form rather than give it the respect it deserves.

Secondly, it is not a secret (no pun intended) that the sport of horse racing is craving new fans. Watching its fan base age, the sport's leaders are tirelessly pondering ways to bring in younger followers. It is not easy, but, in this respect, it's also not rocket science: if we don't respect our legends of the past, how can we expect new fans to respect them, and understand what this sport is all about? If we don't respect our own legends, the heart, soul and foundation of this sport, business and industry, how can we expect fans to respect us?

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