NEWS BLOG (WSAU) At the radio station, some of our computers were down this morning. All of our news scripts, sound bites, and national Fox News Radio reports are delivered via computer. No computer, no news. It reminds me how much things have changed. We’re far removed from the days of typewriters, audio tape, and teletype newswires. People who couldn’t adapt or keep up are doing other things for work. Our technology was back up around 5am. Listeners probably didn't notice the difference.
The down-time in the newsroom game me a chance to think about Saturday’s Kentucky Derby. I had hoped to have my Kentucky Derby horse picked out by now. I haven’t had enough time to study the charts and past performances, and probably won’t until tonight.
But even without taking a close look at the runners, I know this. Picking a winner in America’s most-famous horserace is an exercise in flexible thinking. The game of horse racing has changed. The characteristics of a winning Derby horse have also changed.
Years ago I knew what a Kentucky Derby winner looked like. It was the horse that came closest to fitting these criteria:
• A horse that had a good foundation as a two-year-old, usually consisting of five or six races, one of which should be a win at a mile or more against stakes-level competition.
• A horse that has at least one speed figure greater than 100 as a 3-year-old.
• At least two more wins against high-level competition as a 3-year-old, preferably at a race of more than a mile.
• A pedigree for running longer races instead of sprints.
• Blueblood human connections; from a top stable, with a top trainer and jockey.
But today’s thoroughbreds are not as sturdy as past generations. They don’t race as often. Some will enter the Kentucky Derby without winning as a 2-year-old. Others will have breeding that doesn’t suggest they can go today’s distance. Some will have raced in claiming races at smaller racetracks, and will still be competitive on the sport’s biggest stage. If I’m unwilling to break with the old dogma, I’ll likely overlook the winning horse.
The Kentucky Derby is timeless, yet it is different. Like so many things, change is inevitable. The variable is whether our thinking keeps up.
Operations Manager, Midwest Communications-Wausau