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My Breeders Crown Challenge.

The View

We used to go to Roosevelt every weekend and there would be 30,000 people in the crowd. There was nothing like it.”

“In the wintertime, at Greenwood, they’d race on Saturday afternoons, and the place was always packed. It was amazing. On Boxing Day they’d often get more than 10,000 people - now those were the days!”

“When they first opened the Meadowlands it was THE place to be. The crowds were huge… the Woodrow Wilson actually went for more than $2 million!

“I went to the Hambo - it was so nice to be at the track when there was such a big crowd and all that atmosphere.”

If I had a dollar for every time I heard or read a line like these, you probably wouldn’t even be reading this right now because I’d be rich, and retired, and sitting at the cottage. And I’m not saying these statements/quotes aren’t true, because they absolutely are. In fact, I was one of those people packing Greenwood Raceway, many times during my youth.

There’s nothing like being at the races in a big crowd - even though it doesn’t happen all that often anymore. And I’m guilty of that too (not attending live). It’s easy to stay home - watch on your big TV, from the comfort of your recliner, fridge not far away, making your bets on your phone or computer. But the racetrack experience suffers for it.

This year, in Ontario, we’re lucky. Woodbine Mohawk Park is hosting all 12 Breeders Crown championship finals on October 25th & 26th, with the eliminations a week earlier on the 18th & 19th. So let’s go - everyone.

How many of you have ever attended a Super Bowl, a Stanley Cup Finals game, or a World Series game? Tickets to an NBA Finals game in Toronto last spring were running well into the thousands of dollars, and people were clamouring for them.

The Breeders Crown is our World Series. It’s our Stanley Cup Finals, and I, for one, will be there. My challenge to you, whoever you are, wherever you live, is to be there too. No excuses.

Some of you reading this live in the Maritimes. What is that, maybe a 15-16 hour drive? Piece of cake. Pick up a few friends in Quebec on your way through and split the cost of the gas.

Alberta, B.C. and the rest of the Canadian west? You’re even closer - just 4 or 5 hours (if you fly of course).

New York City? Jersey? Pennsylvania? Much closer! Pittsburgh is actually only 5 hours away - you won’t even need a hotel room if you don’t want, just head back home after the late double.

Lexington? That’s easy, I drive there every October and barely stop more than once for a tank of gas.

And for all of you American readers, don’t forget the currency exchange. You’ll get a $100 hotel room here for about $70 - that’s practically free.

My point is this: We often complain that the tracks are empty - no atmosphere. We reminisce about the ‘good ole days’. So it’s time to put up or shut up. Don’t be a hypocrite. You want to go to the track and enjoy a big crowd with lots of atmosphere? Then get your ass to Mohawk for the Breeders Crown. No excuses.

I’m not looking for a pat on the back or anything, but here’s what I did recently, to ensure that I’ll be there:

I’ve coached a Midget AA hockey team for many years, and last summer when my manager and I were looking for an away tournament for this year, we agreed on one in Ottawa - on the weekend of October 25-27. When I realized the conflict, maybe a month ago, I told her of my gaffe. I said that we had to change it. Her reply was simple: “I don’t care if we switch it, but I’m not telling Cheryl - you are.”

Ugh. Cheryl is the woman that works in our hockey office. She’s great at what she does, but when someone changes a tournament date it messes with the entire league schedule, and creates a LOT of extra work for her. And let’s just say, nicely, that us coaches all know that you don’t want to get on Cheryl’s bad side - true story.

So I did it. I found us a new tournament and I told Cheryl… and I lived to tell my story!

So if I can do that, trust me, you can get your butt to this year’s Breeders Crown and help create a fantastic weekend that’s worthy of our sport’s greatest horses.

Dan Fisher
[email protected]


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