Martha Maxine, the mare who turned out to be a horse died this past Saturday night at Mohawk Racetrack at the age of eight in the eighth race, a $30,000 claiming event. Maxine broke at the start and was distanced the whole way around until he fell at before the 3/4 pole. While the cause of death is not yet known, the horse was probably doomed the moment the race started. Martha Maxine was claimed out of the race, so unless there has been a rule change voiding claims when a horse drops dead in a race, the claimant is not going to be very happy.
Rumor has it the Liberals were not happy with WEG CEO and Preside Nick Eaves comments regarding the end of Slot at Racetracks program and how there was a good chance the last Queen's Plate has been run. Allegedly, the Liberal party's leadership had cancelled their tables for the big day at Woodbine. I guess the Liberals don't appreciate the public hearing and seeing first hand what may be happening, so the Liberals were upset that WEG hasn't just rolled over and died.
Running Aces last night set an all-time track record for an eleven race card handling $225,096. Not exactly big numbers for serious gamblers, but it is a step in the right direction; something not occurring often enough.
Harnesslink has run an article about Jeff Gural who is on a mission to get rid of the cheats from harness racing and how he has no qualms about using his exclusionary rights. Gural questions why other tracks don't do the same. A very good question. Also, Gural has gotten regulators and some trainers to agree in concept to standardize medication rules between Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York, following the New York model as a guide; that means regulated withdrawal times and the ability to look at veterinarian records. This of course is a start and since Gural initiated this discussion, one would expect a response by the SOA of NY. In fact, I am surprised a comment has not yet come out. I guess when there is talk about using New York rules, the SOA of NY can't find as much fault.
When asked about Lou Pena, Gural made an indirect comment which refers to the smell test that Pull The Pocket had talked about today. I for one, have a few other trainers in mind that would flunk my smell test. You don't have to know what someone is using to know they are cheating.
The tone of the article is somewhat muted. Harnesslink has not been particularly talking kindly about Gural, finding objection to some of the steps he has taken.
While we don't typically cover thoroughbred racing, the Paulick Report indicates Monmouth Park has the inside track for hosting the 2013 Breeders' Cup with all the nonsense going on at NYRA. I think this would be great for the NJTHA and I let me say I for one would be very happy if Monmouth Park was awarded the Cup.
Speaking of the Breeders Cup, one must wonder what the status is of next year's Breeders Crown if WEG can't support holding the event. I can't see the Meadowlands at this point being able to support it either. My guess is we may find the Breeders Crown at Pocono next year if the status quo falters.
Jay Bergman is probably right when he says the Meadowlands handle is suffering because a lot of the name drivers flee the Meadowlands for stakes races elsewhere, leaving the Meadowlands with less-recognized drivers. Bergman refers to the current meet as 'Tioga South' when talking about the drivers colony and horses. I personally don't mind the newcomers driving as I feel it opens up the prices a bit as the drivers are somewhat a wild card, but I can see where the heavy hitters don't. I'm not sure changing the racing schedule that much would help, New Jersey needs a spring meet for NJSS events and others. If there is a problem with the new drivers, it is they are being integrated in the spring. I would suggest attempting to integrate some new drivers during the winter months so come spring, they will have developed a reputation, good or bad.