Well, we figured it was about time – to start the Nation blog! HorseRacingNation recently hit its 2-year-anniversary, and what a ride it has been! Over the last two years, the site and our fans have grown by leaps and bounds so we wanted to start by saying “Thank You” to all of our supporters.
When we started building HRN way back in the summer of 2008, it was hard to believe it would have grown the way it has. HRN started as an idea between a few passionate racing fans, and we are glad that as it has grown the core has stayed the same – it is all about passionate racing fans.
A few milestones: HRN now has Top 250 fan rankings for several categories, over 100,000 horses in our database, and an amazing roster of 14 bloggers!
Here Come The Bloggers
If you’ve been around HRN for a while, one thing you will notice is the rapid growth of our bloggers. It’s hard to believe that it was only December when Brian Zipse came on board and moved his ZATT tack to our shedrow. Since then, a baker’s dozen of bloggers have followed, covering a slew of great topics! Please be sure to support the HRN bloggers and their great original content – by reading, commenting and sharing with friends!
Across the Pond - Mary Schweitzer
Around the Oval - Melaina Phipps
Bay Area Backstretch - Don August
Dead Heat Debates - Laura Pugh
Distaff Runner - Brian Appleton
Fast Times at Belmont Park - Joe Depaolo
Kentucky Derby Super Screener - Mike Shutty
Race Talk with the Girl Next Door - Angela D'Amico
Racing at the Jersey Shore - Matt Shifman
SoCal Scoop - Marc Doche
Thoroughly Woodbine - Adam Hickman
Tournament Tracker - Bill Downes
12th Crown - Eric Kords
Zipse at the Track - Brian Zipse
As HRN grows and so does our fan base, we’ll be rolling out new features all the time. But, even as we do, there will be imperfections – of both the technological and of the human kind. On a couple of issues, we hope you will bear with us:
The “Zenyatta Wars” – One thing is for sure, racing fans are very passionate about the all-time great fillies and mares. Zenyatta, Rachel, Ruffian. Where do they rank amongst each other? Where do they rank all-time? Wow, that’s a tough one. And a fun one to debate. Everyone has their own opinion, we know that. But let’s be sure to keep a healthy level of respect for each other and these great horses. People throw out extreme opinions and comments all the time, and that’s what makes it interesting, but if we disagree let’s remember to shoot down the opinion and not the person.
So, do the “Zenyatta Wars” dominate the home page conversation too much? Yes, sometimes they do. We have talked about relegating these discussions to a side page, and we almost did before Derby, but we ran into some technological limitations at the time. In time, these debates might end up in a separate conversation – but that is all part of the website and how it evolves. What will the home page look like one year from now? We don’t know exactly. What do you think of the “Zenyatta Wars”? Send us an email at email@example.com or comment below.
Voting issues – In our minds, one of the most exciting things HRN has been able to do is allow the fans to rank the Top 250 horses in several categories. At times, there are questions and comments on the site about people voting a certain horse a “1”. To this we want to respond by letting everyone know that there is a complex formula at work behind the ranking of each horse, and while the “1” votes are taken into account, they don’t dominate that equation in any way. Most of the more famous horses have hundreds of votes and all are taken into account. The best way to improve on the rankings is to keep voting on the site – for all horses!
International horses – Do international horses belong on HRN – Yes, of course! Do they belong in the rankings? Well, probably not, but that’s ok for now. Later this year, we will build a way to filter out the international horses from our US rankings. Who knows, that might even evolve into International Rankings? We might need some help from our overseas friends on that one.
Broken videos – Unfortunately, as people upload Youtube videos to HRN, from time to time people take down those videos from Youtube and the links remain broken. The most unfortunate occurance was when Jim Conti, a.k.a. Partymanners, had his main Youtube channel shut down. Jim had done a tremendous job uploading thousands of racing videos to Youtube for fans to enjoy for free. Hundreds, if not thousands of these were linked to HRN, so those links have to be rebuilt. This is a frustration to everyone, but the best way to fix it is by linking back videos you find on Youtube one race at a time. That way, everyone can enjoy them!
How Can I Help the Nation?
If you haven't already, just click on 'join for free' and fill out the simple sign-up page. It's as easy as that. You are now ready to contibute on HRN!
There are numerous ways to help and one of the simplest is just by adding content, especially for the all-time greats of our game. Great horses like Northern Dancer, Whirlaway and Kelso – are horses with incomplete race histories in HRN. If someone has the racing information, photos and videos to add – then they become something we all can enjoy. If you want to volunteer adding in data, feel free to jump in anytime and you can also post comments on that horse’s page if you are looking for others to help or to let everyone know that the page is complete.
We always need help keeping Stakes Tracker up to date – keeping track of future stakes races is the heart and soul of the racing fan and HRN. We are also looking for help in keeping up with the 2-year-olds. As you spot up and coming 2-year-olds, make sure to vote for them or add them to the database. HRN will have the most complete database of 2-year-old winners anywhere around.
So What’s Next?
Well, as fans love to dispute their favorite fillies and mares of all-time, we would love to add an official ranking to the site. And speaking of debates – who is the best rider out there? The best jocks of all-time? That might be a fun debate. Something to look forward to later this summer.
What else would you like to see on HRN? What would you like to see more of? Less of? Send us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org or be sure to comment below!
Thanks for your support of THE NATION!
Mark, Mike, Travis and Brian