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.