Just off a plane back from a funeral, I posted some random (and passing thoughts) about the Breeders’ Cup. Shortly thereafter, we received some comments which we have posted (as we always do).

Wallowing around in a sea of unread email, I missed one comment and I didn’t see it on the blog’s comment moderation page for some reason. When the writers first comment was not promptly posted as noted above, the response was thus:

“That it is still not posted may lead me to believe that controversy and dissension are not allowed on this blog…”

In addition, “Life is what it is Mr. Petty and we can’t pick and choose what we want to be decided as real enough for discussion; certainly not if one is interested in the future of horse racing in the Commonwealth. But maybe that’s why the majority of racehorse owners in the Commonwealth don’t bother to post here. I have been warned repeatedly about the VTA. Now let’s see if this post makes it.”

Of course, I promptly posted the comment and noted that its original posting was an oversight. I didn’t think the commentors original post was particularly controversial, and, even if I did, we would post it anyway – we always do. All topics are open for discussion here, the more the better. Needless to say, someone suggesting that we would censor such a comment in this forum while simultaneously portraying us as the “bad guys” was disconcerting at best.

What frustrated me the most was the “I have been warned repeatedly about the VTA comment. I’ve been involved with this organization in some capacity or another for some 30 years and I know the people who work here and who have served on the board over those many years and/or on various committees are dedicated to one thing and one thing only – improving the industry. Everybody may not always agree on how best to do it, but everybody is clearly dedicated to doing it

Bottom line is this is an organization of members. The staff acts at the behest of a board of directors that is chosen by a process that involves those members. We don’t have any agenda other than to improve the lot of Thoroughbred racing and breeding in the Commonwealth, and I’m taken aback by comments that suggest we are part of the problem as opposed to part of any extremely difficult to find solutions.

Do I make some decisions and or some policy? Sure, I do, that’s what I get paid to do. But having said that, I don’t think you’ll find anybody out there who will tell you that I’ve refused to hear their side of any issue or was unwilling to give any opinion/idea fair consideration or representation in the process. My door’s open – I’m hanging out here in cyberspace, all input is welcome and always has been.

Exactly what has this reader been “warned” about? Is it that we tirelessly lobby the Virginia General Assembly to try and expand wagering so the industry participants will have more purse dollars, breeders fund dollars and live racing days? Is it that we will get together with Governor elects’ transition team as soon as possible and try to position the industry for some political change that might lead to real economic growth or is it that we will organize and attend meetings in the next few weeks with decision- and law-makers in an attempt to expand our Breeders Fund?

Are the “warnings” about how we pour the majority of our resources into managing and promoting the Breeders Fund while trying to increase the earning potential and commercial value of Virginia-bred horses? And that we do that with a fund that is four times smaller than Maryland and West Virginia’s and seven times smaller than the Breeders Fund in Pennsylvania?

Is it that we work closely with the Virginia Racing Commission and the Virginia H.B.P.A. to create more and better economic opportunities for the Commonwealth’s owners, trainers and breeders? Or is that we try our damndest to get Colonial Downs to see the value of Virginia’s breeders and horsemen?

Or is it that the organization is always desperate for resources to keep that effort going as unlike other breeders associations in major racing states, the VTA staff is responsible for raising 30% of the annual budget while not raising dues since the early 1990’s?

Simply put, I’m perplexed by these “warnings,” and everybody at the VTA welcomes any dialog that might clear up this misunderstanding.

ON A COMPLETELY UNRELATED NOTE, the Virginia TB Blog made an appearance on AOL Fanhouse the other day. AOL’s Fanhouse is a very large sports website with contributors who enjoy national reputations. It was fun to have the blog noticed and represented in the “Around the Web” section at Fanhouse. We have been picked up before at places like The Paulick Report – but that is an industry website and Fanhouse is a national sports website like ESPN, Yahoo Sports or Fox Sports.

ON YET ANOTHER NOTE, now that I’ve had more time to think about it, I’d have to vote for Zenyatta for Horse of the Year. What Rachel Alexandra did this summer was amazing and I think it is unfair that some folks will penalize her because they don’t like her out-spoken owner Jess Jackson for some reason or another. But, that aside, for reasons valid or invalid Rachel did not show up on Championship Day and Zenyatta did. Zenyatta then promptly won the most important race on the most important day in spectacular fashion. So, she gets my hypothetical vote.

All comments to contrary are certainly welcome! – Glenn Petty