Janet VanBebber Blog

Let's focus on the positive.

Let's talk about some good things.

Not surprisingly, I’m a country music fan. On stations that I listen to, a syndicated DJ named Bobby Bones has a daily segment called, “Tell Me Something Good!” I love it, and appreciate his positive outlook on the world. It got me to thinking ...

It is so easy to be saturated with bad news. As I sit at my computer now, I choose to marvel in the good news, and ask you to join me.

For instance, isn’t it great that the racing commissions are working so hard to level the playing field and instill integrity back in our sport? Isn’t it great that we have more uniform rules among jurisdictions than ever before? Yes, cleaning up racing is a tough job. But let’s take our hats off to them for moving ahead aggressively in their efforts.

There is other good news, as well. For instance, aren’t we fortunate to participate in a business that offers 11 races throughout the country with a purse at $1 million or more? Awesome! 

Not only that, I’ve just returned from visits to both the TQHA and LQHBA yearling sale in San Antonio, and Kinder, Louisiana, respectively, where sales were extremely good.

In Louisiana, the high seller – On Point – demanded a whopping (and record!) $182,000 – and he is by a first-year stallion. TQHA’s sale jumped 24 percent in gross sales, and was topped by a $160,000 sale topper, Sunnyside. This is great news for those who invest in breeding stock, and indicates a strong horse-related economy.

So, my friends, before we get caught up in all the negative press, please change your perspective and put a positive emphasis on it. I am afraid that if we don’t recognize the good that our business is doing, the successes we are enjoying, then our future is dismal. It is up to us to create our industry’s self-fulfilling prophecy. Make it a good one.

At AQHA, we continue to move forward doing our part to make the experience of racing your Quarter Horse all it can be. We like good news. Our Challenge Task Force has devoted a lot of time to studying ways to improve the purse structure for the Bank of America Racing Challenge, and has made recommendations for the first tier of changes that will improve the program.

We have a Next-Generation Initiative that is working on projects that will serve as a valuable tool when welcoming a newcomer (of any age) to the business.

We participated in a New Owner’s Experience at Remington Park, and offered the protocol to our other affiliates as a means of educating people about the industry.

We have hosted two Hispanic Forums to increase communication that AQHA is here to serve this important part of our industry, and established an open line of communication to make improvements.

As we embark on new horizons, some of our programs are being redirected. In 2007, the Wrangler Racing Aces were formed as a group of handicapping professionals sent to Hialeah Park to teach the track’s patrons how to wager on Quarter Horses. Since that time, the group of dedicated handicappers have made appearances promoting our sport at tracks all over the nation and contributed handicapping articles in print and online. We sincerely appreciate their expertise and dedication to racing, and the tracks that have graciously welcomed them over the years. A special thanks to Martha Claussen for her management of the program, and to each of the Aces for their contributions to our industry. Be sure to thank them when you see them at the track, or during their remaining Aces visits this year – their valuable contributions will continue in other industry outlets, including social media.

Speaking of social media … now there is some good news! A year ago, the Q-Racing Facebook page had 7,000 followers. At present, the page has eclipsed 17,000 followers, and the number increases daily. The interest in Quarter Horse racing is alive and well, and we are reaching an expanding market! We are delighted to see that we are able to engage with such an audience, and encourage you to join the fun.

That’s all for now. In the coming days, I will be in Ruidoso, then on to Los Alamitos for races and Del Mar for a meeting with the Racetrack Medication and Testing Consortium. 

If you see me, please don’t hesitate to “Tell me something good!”

AQHA News and information is a service of the American Quarter Horse Association. For more news and information, follow @AQHARacing on Twitter, “like” Q-Racing on Facebook and visit www.aqharacing.com.