Billy Davis Jr. of Canada won his first international race in winning the Prix des Rencontres Internationales du Trotteur Français in Paris yesterday with Orage Mauzun in a 2,100 meter race in a 2:02 mile rate. For more about the race itself, you can read the story here.
The reason I am bringing up this race is yesterday someone talked about the race and mentioned while they liked the 2,100 meter distance, they didn't like the fifteen horse field, claiming it is hard for a horse to get out if they are racing on the inside.
You may see things differently from me but when I watched the replay, it appears to me despite the fifteen horse field, there is plenty of opportunity to make moves in the race. Whether the first 400 meters or so when you have time to position yourself for the middle part of the race or the last 700 meters when the packed field starts to spread and fan out where there is plenty of opportunity to position yourself for the stretch drive. To me it was not a question of large fields being stifling, it was more of getting used to a different style of racing, a form which can be just as exciting.
As is typical with all types of racing, it is the differences which gets people to dig their heels in, not wanting to accept change. Would drivers have to change the way they drive to adapt to large fields and longer distance races? Absolutely. Will customers have to be willing to accept such changes? Yes. The key is transition, not revolution. You don't change everything overnight, you gradually introduce changes to the racing product; likely having to drag some people kicking and screaming along the way. The key is the willing to persevere. If whoever is introducing gives up after a little resistance, we are destined for stagnation and decline. .