EDITOR’S LETTER This issue marks the fourth anniversary of American Racehorse, which is a bit surprising to me because it doesn’t seem nearly that long since this magazine started as Southern Racehorse covering just two states, Texas and Oklahoma. I had serious concerns whether a printfocused venture could succeed in a digital world of 140-character tweets and Facebook posts considered too long if people need to click “more.” Of course, I’m happy to report that the magazine is indeed succeeding and has added coverage of nearly a dozen states and state breed associations since those original two. Starting in 2017, however, there will be a slight change to the format of the magazine. After the upcoming November/December issue, we will switch to a quarterly format instead of six bi-monthly issues. While the magazine has been even more successful than I could have imagined when it first launched, rising postage and printing costs are hard to ignore, especially during the summer months when advertising is light, and the fact is that it takes a tremendous amount of time to get each issue to print with a limited but dedicated staff and no full-time employees. The good news is that this new format will allow us to include more long-form articles, like the one in this issue about the gone but not forgotten Ak-Sar-Ben racetrack in Omaha, Nebraska, and the excellent piece in the previous issue about King Ranch. We plan to include more articles like those in the future. So you are going to receive a thicker, more robust magazine, but you’ll just get it four times per year instead of six. The annual Stallion Register in December will remain unchanged. Obviously a quarterly magazine is not ideal for delivering timely news content about the racing industry and from the 12 state associations we have partnered with, but neither was the every-other-month format. We will continue to deliver the same level of news coverage in the magazine, and at the same time increase our efforts to deliver information through our website, americanracehorse.com, and through social media on our Facebook page at facebook. com/americanracehorse and via @AmerRacehorse on Twitter. I encourage you to use those to stay up to date on everything happening in the Southwest, Midwest and Midsouth regions. For those of you who have paid subscriptions, we will extend your subscription by increasing the remaining number of issues you will receive by 50 percent. So if you signed up for a one-year subscription (six regular issues) and have four left, we will increase that to six, and we’ll round up any partial issues for those with an odd number of issues remaining. Getting back to this issue, I like to think that I’m a member of a somewhat exclusive club of people who have been to more than 50 racetracks in their lifetime. I’m not even sure of the exact count, as I racked up quite an extensive list during my time working for the American Quarter Horse Association. Some were big and beautiful; some were small and rundown. Some were forgettable, and some I would love to visit again. I would imagine many of you have the same feelings about the racetracks you’ve been to over the years, and opinions might vary about particular tracks. One track, however, seems to be almost universally remembered with great fondness: Ak-Sar-Ben. While American Racehorse doesn’t cover racing in Nebraska, which sadly has struggled mightily since Ak-Sar-Ben closed, the track that got its name from spelling Nebraska backwards had a big impact on racing around middle America. Many of today’s leading horsemen got their start there, and some of today’s racehorses can trace their pedigrees back to horses who ran there. Even though it’s been closed now for two decades, I still hear it come up in conversation fairly often and see references to it on blogs and racing-related websites. Although I never made it to Ak-Sar-Ben in person, I think I have a pretty good feel for what made it special. On the surface at least, there wasn’t anything that distinctive about the Nebraska oval. No pink flamingos like at Florida’s Hialeah Park, no grand marble staircase like at Illinois’ Arlington Park and no iconic twin spires like at Kentucky’s Churchill Downs. But that might have been part of why the track still lives on in the memories of so many—it was the horses
4 AMERICAN RACEHORSE • SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2016
Published on Sep 14, 2016
Published on Sep 14, 2016
This issue of American Racehorse magazine features a long-form article about the magic of Ak-Sar-Ben racetrack in Omaha, Nebraska, plus a lo...