On Thursday, a feel good story about twelve year old Joey Chindano winning his first harness race, a matinee at Goshen Historic Track last week, was sent out in a press release. A potential future star in harness racing who indicated he would like to have a career driving made his debut, partially thanks to his father who trains horses. primarily for the benefit of his son. What a great story it was, a look at the potential future of harness racing.
On Friday, thanks to Harnesslink, we find out the youngster who could have been the future of harness racing has hung up his silks for good, and a father who was training horses has gotten rid of his racing stock, now out of the business. From the highs of two Sundays ago to the lows of last Sunday, what happened?
According to Harnesslink, the presiding judge of the matinee racing (a different judge from the grand circuit meet coming up next week) meet, told the twelve year old and father that he could not race his own horse in the three horse matinee race. Needless to say Chindano was crushed, very well ending a career, nipping it in the bud, and getting a trainer to quit the business. Something was missing, it didn't make sense that the judge would just ban him from driving his own horse.
According to Harness Racing Update, there was concern with a twelve year old driving a two year old in a race based on the driver's limited experience. To be honest, I see the judge's concern and it seems totally reasonable. However, if there was no rule which stated an inexperienced driver could not race a two year old, the judges should have allowed Chindano to drive the horse after talking to his legal guardian (his father) to ascertain the boy's experience. This apparently was not done and now the youngster is out of racing along with his father.
I must admit to being somewhat conflicted about what happened. To have any inexperienced driver driving a green two year old is a risky proposition; after all they are more likely to go off-stride and do something unpredictable. However, it is the family's own horse and there was no stated track rule which prohibited a youngster from driving a two year old in a race, obviously not anticipating a need for it. What I can say is it was an unfortunate situation, handled badly by both sides.
The track should have consulted with the guardian of young Chindano to check on his experience with the two year old in question, possibly getting the guardian to sign a waiver when the entry was taken. The Chindanos' should have given it a day or two before deciding to leave the business, enough time to realize why the decision was made; not allowing the twelve year old to drive the two year old to protect the young man, not to hurt him. Cooler heads all around could have prevented the whole situation.
Hopefully, the Chindanos will reconsider their decision. After all the youth is our future. However, if they don't, the blame should not fall on Mr. Fielding, the judge in question. Hopefully, Historic Track or the State of New York will come up with a rule regarding this type of situation so this type of situation in the future may be avoided.
Woodbine/Mohawk to Shutter Doors on April 1, 2012? - WEG CEO Nick Eaves is alluding to the potential closure of Woodbine/Mohawk if no new source of revenue comes into the WEG tracks to replace the Slots at Racetracks program. Yes, there is enough wagering at the track to support much more modest purses, but apparently, there is not enough wagering to cover the operating expenses of the track. Posturing or a real threat? Only time will tell.
Casey Back in the Bike? My call here is it won't be too long until Walter Case Jr. is back in the bike in the state of Massachusetts. At this week's hearing the hearing officer had one question for Case, whether or not he has been arrested since he had his license restored in 2008? Case told the officer he has not been. My argument in this particular situation has always been if Case was fit enough for licensing in 2008, what has changed that the Massachusetts Racing Commission now feels he is no longer fit? Sounds like the hearing officer was asking himself the same question. We should know more by the end of next week.