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Sunday, November 12, 2006

Final Thought

- Here's a final thought on the pulled Haskin article and the explanation posted here and elsewhere by Ray Paulick. When he wrote "Steve was not hired to write editorial commentaries on industry issues," I think on industry issues is the key phrase. Mr. Paulick continues that the Bloodhorse and its website "are not blogs or vehicles for personal commentaries appearing in articles meant to convey news and information." But to me, you can't write columns such as Haskin's Derby Trail or Countdown to the Cup columns without expressing your personal opinion on at least some things. Though he generally has refrained from commenting on industry issues (as he certainly will in the future), Haskin's columns are filled with his subjective judgment on subjects such as which horses are improving, which may or may not be better, or worse, than their last race looked on paper, or who's pedigrees make whom the best-suited for the race at hand.

And sometimes, in the course of making these evaluations, he'll write something like this, as he did after opening weekend at Keeneland:

Speaking of Polytrack, it looks as if you can throw form for the most part right out the window judging by some of the weird winners over the weekend.
One maybe could argue that this comment does concern an industry issue, that of how severely form on synthetic surfaces will differ from that on dirt. That's an important question that will impact, among other things, when, or if, we'll see Triple Crown and Breeders Cup races run on a synthetic surface. Haskin was expressing a personal opinion here based on limited data, and I called him out for it at the time.

I don't mean to suggest that Ray Paulick was being inconsistent; I agree that the Bernardini remark was clearly an editorial commentary on an industry issue. The Polytrack comment may or may not have indirectly touched on one. I'm just trying to make the point that fact and opinion are hard to separate in an industry in which the latter is the driving force behind almost every aspect of the game.

1 Comment:

Rob said...

I think 'industry issues' is indeed the key phrase. Ray Paulick and the Blood-Horse are in a tricky position because the magazine is owned by the industry it covers (it is published by The Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association).
The magazine needs to speak with a single voice on industry issues and I guess that voice is Paulick's columns/editorials or the rare clearly identified opinion piece.