Wow. That's a hard blow to the sport. While ST Times was cutting back on the type of content they had (dropping race results and play by play) in the last couple issues I didn't think they'd cease this publication.
Sure its being folded into MidAtlantic Thoroughbred but I fear it will be as steeplechase is now in The Chronicle of the Horse - an occasional nod with one devoted issue a year.
And, look, we could go on forever doing it the way we’ve been doing it, it makes money, always has, serves a purpose, always has. But the challenge is over, the freshness dead. I loved writing the Colonial Cup recap, trying to explain the intricacies of the race, the delicacies of the moves, the enormity of the moments. Demonstrative and Matt McCarron awed me and I tried to awe the reader. That was fun. But, calling and emailing 30 trainers in March for our annual spring horse roster, that has run its course. To be lied to, ignored, brushed off, nah, I won’t miss that.
While the paper is gone the sport does have this to look forward to:
The Virginia Racing commission last week approved pari-mutuel wagering for the spring and fall Virginia Gold Cup steeplechase races at Great Meadow near The Plains.
For decades, bookies set up chalk tote boards and took bets at Broadview Farm in Warrenton, where the spring races took place until 1985.
Local officials tolerated the illegal betting.
When the Virginia Gold Cup moved eight miles north to Great Meadow, however, organizers prohibited the bookies from plying their trade because of increased media coverage and the attendance of Gov. Charles Robb.
Either way, race fans may Gold Cup submit bets via smartphones or with tellers who at the events, according to Dr. Allison.
Technological advances have helped make pari-mutuel wagering more affordable for the Virginia Gold Cup Association, he said.
The association’s leaders hope the new offering will help compensate for sponsorships, which have declined since the recession.
The 88th Virginia Gold Cup races will take place Saturday, May 4.