Monticello Raceway pays tribute to our retiring fourteen year old war horses with the Au Revoir Race tomorrow (December 31, fourth race). This race provides race fans with a rarity. With permission from the NYSRWB, Monticello is being allowed to race pacers against trotters (the trotters draw inside) in a wagering event. While trotters and pacers frequently race against each other in qualifiers, they usually don't race against each other in betting races since pacing is a faster gait. Here are my selections for the $7,500 Au Revoir Race:
6 - Am I Next A 7-2 - Driver change may be key to final victory.
2 - Numberonefan (t) 4-1 - Maine shipper likely to fall short in the stretch.
4 - Bonn Star N 5-2 - Lebanon shipper needs early speed to launch closing attack.
3 - Satin Time N 3-1 - Best efforts been on larger ovals.
1 - I'm Dam Goog (t) 9-2 - Will find it tough against pacers.
7 - Uphill Battle 10-1 - Northfield invader has lacked luck this yar.
5 - Oop's Whatapromise 12-1 - Don't see at all.
Andrew Cohen penned a piece for the USTA website where he suggests paying tribute to the owners of some of our most 'underachieving' race horses. As usual, Cohen's article has drawn some differing opinions. Some ask why we should reward failure; others wonder what kind of person would keep on with horses that are 0-43 and those that raced numerous times without even picking up a check.
People are missing the point of this article. It takes a special kind of person to be willing to keep on with horses like these. Many people would have cut their losses a long time ago; keeping horses like these does not make business sense. Are they foolish? To a degree perhaps, but when harness racing goes through its unavoidable retrenchment and our fair weather owners abandon the sport for more lucrative investments, owners like these will be the ones keeping racing going through the tough times. That deserves recognition.