Mike Brunker horse racing column: Using off into retirement

I have go through quite a few a retirement column more than my more than 4 many years in the information business enterprise, but I have hardly ever created one particular until finally now.

Friday is my past day at the Evaluation-Journal, a milestone that saddens, frightens and delights me at the same time.

I’m heading to skip my colleagues, I know that a lot. And it’s sure to acquire a couple of months of sheer idleness to break cost-free of the frenetic rhythms that have formed my times at the Hayward Everyday Overview, the San Francisco Examiner, msnbc.com and the Overview-Journal into a profession.

But possibly my biggest regret is that I’m stepping absent from a story I care deeply about, long before it’s carried out.

Horse racing stays mired in an existential crisis of its possess earning for also several good reasons to go into in this article. And as a fan given that a higher education newspaper editor dispatched me to Golden Gate Fields in the mid-1970s to generate a “feature about the ponies,” I relished the chance to existing a more nuanced look at of the activity than the haters would have liked.

Rather, we’ll uncover out with each other if the Horse Racing Security and Integrity Act was worthy of the quite a few webpages of paper it was printed on, and no matter whether Bob Baffert will be ready to escape the darkish cloud hanging above him from final year’s nevertheless undecided Kentucky Derby. Also, the final result of the drug conspiracy scenario against Jason Servis, who for a moment was a Kentucky Derby-winning coach.

I wish I could inform you wherever it’s all headed, but I frankly have no clue. The activity might hold on for an additional decade or two ahead of next greyhound racing and quite a few other animal sports into oblivion. Or it may well see the revival I’ve been predicting for years, as a new era discovers the pleasures of what to my mind is the most wonderful, enjoyable and fascinating activity at any time produced.

Time will inform, and it won’t whisper a word until eventually it’s superior and all set. But when it does, I’ll absolutely have my excellent ear cocked to listen to the extend contact.

As for what’s future as far as the Evaluation-Journal’s protection of horse racing, that’s a perform in progress. I’m instructed that senior editors are speaking about what that will seem like likely forward, but that it very likely will be targeted much more on significant functions these types of as the Kentucky Derby and Breeders’ Cup. There’s a risk that I once in a while could be asked to dust off the mothballs and reappear in these internet pages to produce about these clashes. Remain tuned.

But the weekly column is no extra, not surprising due to the fact I wrote it on a voluntary basis immediately after I completed my each day shifts on the metro desk, and there are handful of newsroom denizens these days with that sort of zeal for the sport.

I’ll usually have excellent memories of my 4½ decades as the RJ’s turf columnist, however, and want to use my final number of inches of area to thank people of you who read through, argued, phoned or performed along in the handicapping contests that ran in this house, offering the grand prize of a pack of breath mints in the early times.

I’m conversing to you Al, Bob, Charlie, Dean, Howie, Joe, Les, Mas, Tom, the Godfather, the Breeders’ Cup boys and so several some others who helped make producing this column the emphasize of my months. You know who you are.

Many thanks also to the racebook managers, regulatory officers and other business insiders who generously gave of their time to support the new kid get his bearings in the Silver State when I begun out, shortly following going below from Washington.

And with that, it’s time to saddle up 1 very last time and journey off into the sunset. Hope we fulfill up sometime in the shade of the IRS window.

A former model of this report improperly identified coach Jason Servis.

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