Dogwood had a table at the Eclipse Awards bash at the Fontainebleau in Miami Beach in late January, and I was generally impressed with the event. I am not proud of the fact that we have not supported it very much in the past. Dogwood has won two Eclipse Award championships, and, of course, we were there for those. But many have been held in California where we have little business. That's our excuse, weak though it may be. The other evening I was struck by three things, none of which should have been surprising: The charge of 26 bucks to valet park, the staggering amount of glamorous cleavage on display, and the conspicuous absence of some racing leadership luminaries, who should have been there.
I suppose every candidate to receive an award delivered eight or ten people, but after that there were not a lot of attendees. There were 600 on hand, but there should have been a 1,000. I thought Kenny Rice was marvelous as the MC, a very tough job. The Fontainebleau, and the people who produced the program, made it move along at a good clip. There was a lot of ground to cover and a lot of speeches were perhaps a little too long, but even those were appealing. You can understand people getting a little bit wordy. It's a big night, a big thrill to win an Eclipse, and they need to thank a lot of people. Speeches were good, although, one guy saw fit to take a crack at the composition of a racetrack on which his horse did not run well, even though he won the award. And I also think it is not a night for political commentary. It ought to be devoted to horses. No one gives a damn about what you think of the administration. The little guys in racing that win the Eclipse Awards are probably the most endearing. Some of the gigantic operations that win the breeders' and owners' awards are not quite as poignant as the others.
One nice touch of the evening was when Alice Headley Chandler received her Award of Merit. She embodies a lot of the great things about breeding and racing Thoroughbred horses, and has certainly paid her dues, and has a pedigree that is filled with distinguished people who have also contributed a lot to the game. Her remarks were short, appropriate, and right on the money.
We were at a table for ten, and seated at the table were Ray and Carol Paulick. Ray Paulick has a very popular blog on our industry, and when I extended the invitation for him to join us he asked if it would be considered impolite if he did some blogging at the table during the evening. I said I thought that would be fine. One lady at our table remarked afterwards that she thought that man who kept fooling with his iPhone was quite rude. But when I explained that Ray has asked if that would be a problem, and I had answered that I thought it would give our table a little added panache, she quite understood. The running blog that came from this turned out to be very colorful.
Ours is an industry of self absorption. It's been described as a fragmented industry with no central point of control. And Lord knows that's the truth. However, this is one night when everyone seems to be pulling together and there's much to be said for that.
This is Cot Campbell and this is my view.