February 2, 2011

One of the great benefits of modern technology is the ability to connect across space and time with our favorite race horses, giving fans an intimate look into their lives in ways that have never been possible before.

An excellent example is the Zenyatta website, rich in information including videos and charts of her racing career, as well as a diary that updates the now-retired Horse of the Year’s daily activities. Add to that the nearly 63,000 people who “like” her Facebook page, and we’re talking about one of the most savvy information campaigns currently in action—and one that, for the sake of the sport, others should seriously consider mimicking.

Before Zenyatta, there was 3-time Melbourne Cup winner Makybe Diva whose website, unfortunately, hasn’t be updated in quite some time, although her Facebook page is still active. Others with sites include Kentucky Derby winners Mine That Bird and Funny Cide.

These are rarities, though. Most of the time it is fans themselves that lead the charge in keeping their favorites in the limelight. On my Foolish Pleasure blog, I have repeatedly dealt with the Hall of Fame-worthy racing achievements, as well as the progeny of Xtra Heat, one of my all-time favorite race horses. Now, fellow Xtra Heat aficionado Laurie Asseo has compiled a Flickr page that you shouldn’t miss exploring, while Xtra Heat’s Facebook page is often updated with photos and even videos of the great mare and her foals.

As part of a greater movement to keep racing in the spotlight—and, truly, to bring new (younger) fans world-wide to the sport—it’s time for owners and breeders to embrace modern multimedia and interactive outlets like Facebook, Flickr, YouTube and Twitter, in addition to personally hosted web pages. With some commitment and minimal cost, social networks provide for fan interaction and stimulate interest, which is a “win-win” situation. So embrace, don’t fear, the modern information superhighway, owners!


Anonymous said...

Thanks, Valerie! The Zenyatta web page is tremendous; loads of great stuff for her fans. My all-time video of her is still "Zenyatta working" on Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hv49V2RzgHw


Anonymous said...

You forgot to mention John Shirreffs' videos of the horses in his barn. Those have been around a long time, and the Zenyatta Facebook page was run by someone not even connected to the horse until the last half of 2010. The Blind Luck page has been updated with firsthand video even longer than the Zenyatta page. Other good Facebook pages include The Usual Q.T. and Global Hunter.


Anne S said...

In days gone by, Sunline had one of the first ever racehorse websites. Also Northerly had one as well.

Needless to say I was a regular visitor.

BTW That Zenyatta blog is totally amazing and quite amusing

Valerie Grash said...

God, I miss Sunline :-(

I can watch her two Cox Plate victories over and over and over again...

I need to start paying attention to the juvenile situation there, Anne. Who's looking good for the Slipper?

Anne S said...

The Slipper picture is looking a bit hazy at the moment, though the Blue Diamond is becoming clearer what with another sensational win by Sepoy today.

It's hard to keep up with the juveniles, especially in Sydney, but something will no doubt emerge in the coming weeks.

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