Good news for standardbred interests in California. Reports indicate an agreement in principle has been reached between the Cal Expo fair board and a partnership consisting of European Wagering Services (EWS) and Golden Bear Racing. The aim of all parties is to have this agreement approved so licensing of the new operator and date allocations may occur in August by the CHRB. Since a new operator will be taking control of the standardbred meet at Cal Expo, a contract between the new meet operator and the CHHA must be in place before the August meeting as well. Of course, while things are looking promising, we need to remember until things are signed, sealed, delivered, and blessed by the CHRB, it's not a done deal.
Racing may not be resuming on August 24 as originally planned for before Cal Expo decided to get out of operating the standardbred meet, but the important point is there is still life in California harness racing.
Meanwhile, when standardbred racing returns to Cal Expo, it will be with a ban on clenbuterol which has been implemented for a one year period with a withdrawal period of twenty-one days.
On the other side of the coin, the Observer-Reporter, a Washington County, PA newspaper, in The Meadows own backyard asked a poll question where they mentioned Dave Palone (here is a nice article about him) is about to set a record and asked how many people follow harness racing. The results indicated: 11% said yes; 69% said no; 20 said don't care. I must confess, I would love to see a similar poll regarding thoroughbred racing in the area, but the standardbred industry has its work cut out for itself. If there is any hope for thriving, the sport must revamp the game to make it more modern and appealing for the gambler. While promotions will get some people in the gate, if the product is faulty, what is the sense?