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Notice anything different about this magazine? Hopefully you did already and if you didn’t, keep turning pages. There’s a fresh look, largely steered by director of publications Barrie Reightler and her design skills, that hopefully makes Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred better.

The aim is to make readers feel welcome, so welcome.

The redesign starts with new fonts (typefaces, the actual letters you see), spacing and presentation, but will evolve to content items too. These days, print publications face continuous pressure on their space. Every page in this magazine costs something to produce – ink, paper, a writer, an editor, a photographer, a designer, computer software, postage and so on. Magazines and newspapers can’t simply go on the way they always have, not when people get news and information from so many sources. 

Chances are, if you care, you already know the results of every racing-oriented story in this magazine. Hopefully, you want to know more than the results, however, and that’s where we come in. You can read about breeder Goree Smith’s deep roots in South Carolina that produced recent stakes winner Swayin to and Fro. Another regional stakes winner, Bourbon Bon Bay, didn’t make her debut until late last year as a 4-year-old. Now, she’s an undefeated stakes winner for owner/breeder Erin Hlubik. 

You probably already know the outcome of the National Steeplechase Association’s 2022 season – how Leslie Young made a little history as champion trainer among a myriad of stories racing off in all directions. But did you know she played college field hockey and lacrosse at Lynchburg? We put a wrapper on the full season with 22 points of interest that hopefully make you stop and think, or at least read.

Beyond racing, writer Sandra McKee spent some time with Maryland sporting artist Carol Lee Thompson and her paintings of horses, hounds, (and cowboys too) and more during a 37-year career as a professional artist. You might notice something of a theme, and we’re trying to at least semi-regularly dive into the region’s rich connection to sporting art. 

Hopefully, you stopped at the front pages of this magazine. Mid-Atlantic Report used to be a collection of press releases and other news items that didn’t necessarily warrant full articles in a monthly magazine. Then the section shifted to include some lighter items – Names of the Month (send suggestions), numbers, quotes, whatever else we can gather – as an easy window into the magazine. We aim to expand the section, to open the window a little more. Climb on through. 

The same goes for the Post Time two-page photo up front and the one-page Past Time in the back. Stop and look, appreciate, feel the photo’s location for a second – without once looking at your phone or wondering if somebody tagged you in a Facebook post.

Somewhere back there, Rick Abbott is writing about January on a Thoroughbred farm. It’s work, it’s always work. Like those photo features, take a moment and read. He knows of what he writes.

I wrote a few thousand words about the region’s stallions. I could have written a few thousand more, but the start of breeding season always makes me think about what an inexact science breeding and raising Thoroughbreds is. The variables would choke an Apple M1 Ultra computer chip. That thing has 16 performance cores, four efficiency cores, 64 GPU cores, 32 neural engine cores and 114 billion transistors. I have no idea what that means, but I wouldn’t bet against the horses. All the cores in the world couldn’t reliably solve the riddle of Thoroughbred excellence. The stallions are holding their own in tough times. The national foal crop continues to shrink while the books of leading stallions in Kentucky continue to grow. Regional horses get squeezed. 

Breeders, farms, stallion owners and the various state organizations try to maximize returns, but it’s a long play. A new stallion for 2022 can’t really be deemed a success or failure until the end of the 2026 racing season (when his first two crops have had a chance to race) and even that might be early. The region should try anything and everything to incentivize stallion businesses – increase purses for state-sired races (the Maryland Million needs an s, for example), improve bonus structures for stallion owners, get creative when it comes to the sales (how about a stakes restricted to Timonium graduates by regional stallions?), look at what New York is doing with $500,000 races for 2-year-olds. 

But back to the magazine. You’ll see more changes as 2023 progresses. Have a look and send us your feedback. At the root of everything – races, farms, bets, jobs and yes even magazines – in this industry stands one of the noblest creatures on the planet. The Thoroughbred counts on us to do our best, and our jobs are never finished. 

Happy new year, and thanks for reading. See you at the races.

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