Back in 1988, the March of Dimes Trot was held at Garden State Park. In this race, some of the greatest trotters in the world converged on Cherry Hill, NJ to compete in what turned out be one of the greatest races of all time.
Almost as important as the race was the marketing opportunity afforded the sport; a tie-in with a national charity, the March of Dimes. The March of Dimes was able to sell raffle tickets where the winners were determined by the outcome of race. It was a win-win situation. Harness racing received positive publicity; the attention of people who never saw a harness race before paid attention for one night; a charity was able to raise needed funds.
Why is harness racing not doing this again?
Yes, there were problems with raising funds for the purse which put the race in jeopardy but there is no need to create a special race for this type of fundraiser; we already have a race which would fit the bill. The Hambletonian.
Think about it. The race is the most prestigous race harness racing has in North America and we already have it on television. Constructing the drawing correctly, we can have an untold number of people who never saw a harness race turn on their television that August afternoon to see if their ticket is assigned to a horse in the Hambletonian; the ratings for the broadcast go up. Put a couple of commericals for the charity in the broadcast (similar to the NFL's United Way commercials) indicating how the industry supports the work of this charity and build some good will. Harness racing wins, a charity wins.
Seems to be a no-brainer to me. Why it can't be done this year, is there any reason it can't be done in 2010?