Among the casualties of the current depression in prices for Thoroughbred bloodstock and racehorses are the sport’s publications, especially the Blood-Horse, Thoroughbred Times, and Racing Form.
All have been hurt by the external forces of the world economy, and all have eliminated staff or services to improve their balance sheets.
Yet none has suffered more than the Blood-Horse, which had another round of layoffs last week. Once the bellwether of the American horse publications, the Blood-Horse is a struggling member of the tribe, just like everyone else.
And perhaps the reason for this situation is a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of the publication and the sport that it is charged to cover.
The Blood-Horse is supposed to serve the industry with news, information, and insightful analysis. Yet the lure of riches and power lured the magazine from its proper role, initially at the expense of coverage for “loss leader” material and later at the expense of insight and intellectual clarity.
Even in times when breeders and stallion managers are flush with money and business is booming, the Blood-Horse was not a cash vehicle. It was a nonprofit with a mission of service to the sport for the benefit of the sport.
This subtle distinction is lost on some in power at the publication now who are too enamored of the luxury and power they have accrued at the expense of the industry’s flagship publication. And the result for the magazine and its loyal supporters in breeding and racing is that they are staring at a once-great publication teetering on the edge of a precipice.
What happens now?