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Churchill Downs West?

So, why the Churchill Downs Silicon Valley adventure?

“Why Silicon Valley? Because that’s where we can build a team of people on the cutting edge of technology innovation, and because we’ll benefit from the perspective of those outside the traditional racing business,” Evans said. —Frank Angst

I am all for the emphasis on technology (as I have been in this business for ten years), but having lived and worked in Silicon Valley through the dot-com boom, I don’t see this offers much beyond absurdly high rents for office space and the opportunity to hire employees who get angry when you don’t give them free, high-quality beer of a Friday afternoon. (You may hear the voice of experience on this particular issue). I worked with a lot of smart people there — but no more than anywhere else. Truth be told, in terms of innovative thinkers and skilled programmers, I’ve worked with better here in Philly, in New York and in London. The proximity to Bay Meadows is unlikely to inspire much vision either — let’s face it, it isn’t the Twin Spires in appearance or number of graded stakes.

If you’re looking to build a team of people on the cutting edge of technology, you hire the best from wherever they happen to live and have them work remotely; I’ve never found a zip or postal code an indication of ability.

(In fact, all my best ‘incompetent employee I’m not allowed to fire’ stories come from the Bay Area — ranging in order of weirdness of the kid with the stolen car business on the side to the one who would fall asleep, but keep moving his hand on the mouse to look busy — truly a rare skill. I did once have a very smart, skilled colleague who regularly brought a battle axe to work, but he was something of an exception).

I’m sure business meetings at Churchill Downs are lovely with the renovations; meetings at the Macaroni Grill on 101 are not as compelling a proposition. Still, it’s an interesting notion I’ll be following.

In local news, the Pennsylvania Nursery Stakes has been moved to December because of the quarantines at Monmouth and elsewhere. I’d been hoping to get an in-person look at Hard Spun; I wonder whether he’ll show up for new date or look for another race.

And finally, get well soon, Perfect Drift!


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