In the Hudson Filly Trot at Yonkers Raceway, Windsong Soprano returned to her early season form with a mild upset in 1:56.3. For sure, her evening was made easy with the two elimination winners, Yursa Hanover and Seaside, going off stride in the first turn. While I had picked Windsong Soprano to win, I must confess I was happy to see the two elimination winners going off stride.
The Yonkers Trot was an easy walk in the park for Judge Joe from post position one with his wire to wire win in 1:56.1. I must confess, being most of his wins this year have been in state restricted races, I did not take him seriously. That being said, I think his best efforts will continue to be on the half mile oval. My only disappointment in this race was Celebrity Athena went off stride during the race so we really did not get a chance to see how good this filly was in comparison to the colts.
At Balmoral Park, the American Nationals were held for the 3yo trotters. Muscle Hill as expected won the colt stake in a track record 1:52.3. Muscle Hill basically stayed back slowly advancing until he reached the stretch at which time he took off. Looks like is ready to take on all comers in the World Trotting Derby.
In what was probably the most competitive race out of the quartet of stake races, Southwind Wasabi won the filly American National in 1:54.3 followed by Celebrity Juliet. At the end, these two were off by themselves. Of note, was Celbrity Deville who broke once again. It seems like Deville is another Hot Shot Blue Chipl when she's flat she's good but she is just as likely to jump.
Following up on my blog entry yesterday regarding the new whipping rules being implemented in Ontario starting September 1; other racing discussion boards have comments that whipping is a perceived problem which does not exist; whipping does not keep us from developing new fans and gamblers.
Well, the Ontario Racing Commission has documented all the submissions and background materials used in developing the new policy. Of particular interest was a survey taken at Grand River Raceway of patrons and participants regarding whipping. The participants in the sport that responded for the most part did not see a problem with whipping; mostly calling for the enforcement of existing rules. That being said, there were a few comments from participants which may be eye openers; you will need to review the survey to see these comments yourself.
Now, as to the fan's response to the survey, their views on whipping are much different from the participants. Here are some numbers to consider:
- 38% of the patrons feel whips are not necessary at all as a safety tool for training and racing. A minority for sure, but not an insignificant minority.
- 41% of the patrons feel whips are not a necessary tool to encourage a horse's performance during a race. Again a significant number.
- 60% of the patrons disapprove or feel disgust regarding the use of whips during a race.
- 74% of the patrons would prefer less or no whipping during a race.
- 71% of the patrons feel based on their experiences with friends, family and acquaintances that the people they know would not or would be hesitant to attend the races based on their perceptions of the use of the whip.
So much for the myth that whipping has no impact on developing new fans. How many of our patrons who disapprove of the use of the whip in a race will finally see one whipping too many and go home never to return? How many people/gamblers never try harness racing because of the perceptions they have regarding whipping?
There is certainly a disconnect between the participants and the patrons but you know what? If you own a business, you can sell what you want but if it is not what your patrons want, you go out of business. The ORC is trying to address the customer's wishes.
For those states/provinces that have not yet dealt with the whipping rules, I have this to say:
The problem is real. You need to deal with it.