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Will Avioli stand up to Stronach?

The new man at the helm of Frank Stronach's Magna racing operation is named Greg Avioli, who spent the last several years running the Breeders' Cup. I like Avioli and think he did his very best to improve and grow the Breeders' Cup. But anything he may have done in the past or accomplished won't matter one bit unless he is able to two utter two simple words to Stronach and utter them often. They are: "No, Frank."


Stronach likes to surround himself with Yes Men and that is among the main reasons his operation has set new standards for being dysfunctional and continually coming up with the world's worst ideas. Nobody, or so it seems, has the guts to say, "No, Frank." And by rolling over every time Stronach comes up with another bad idea that can only fail, they are doing Stronach and the sport a disservice.

That's how we got such things as the Slider, the purchase of Great Lakes Downs, the quadruple quadfecta, the Horse Wizard and the Sunshine Millions. One can only imagine what goes on behind the scenes at a Magna meeting, with Stronach coming up with the latest harebrained idea that has no chance of succeeding and his minions all nodding in approval and telling the boss just how darn smart he is.

In some respects, you can't blame the Yes Men. Stronach changes executives about as often as the rest of us change our socks. At last count, there have 112 general managers at Gulfstream since Stronach took over and 216 at Santa Anita. It's easy to imagine that having the gumption to stand up to Boss Stronach is career suicide. Agree with Frank. Keep your job, at least for a while. It's as simple as that.
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