Horsemen have yet to respond to a decision by the Meadowlands, Tioga Downs, and Vernon Downs to hire an investigator who will be responsible for ensuring the integrity of racing at the respective ovals. I expect the horsemen in New Jersey to go along with the program but suspect the horsemen groups represeenting horsemen at Tioga and Vernond Downs may be challenging the proposal thanks to prodding by outside influences. Whether they will be ultimately successful in derailing the program in the end is another issue, but what will be really important is despite all the proclamations of wanting a level playing field, it may be the horsemen group's actions which will speak the truth.
One thing is for sure, don't be expecting the horsemen to provide funding for the proposal but that is another issue for a different day.
But what about the program itself as described (page 1)? Will it solve all the problems of cheating and is the program somewhat overreaching?
Of course it will not solve all the problems of cheating, with respect to drugs but it should make a big difference. One thing for sure, it will put those horsemen who violate existing medication rules on notice. Unfortunately, some horsemen will still attempt to push the envelope, at least until they see some trainers sent packing. The selection of the testing lab in Hong Kong is an excellent choice as they are considered by many as the gold standard when it comes to detecting prohibited substances.
That being said, as known thus far there appears to be some overreaching by Jeff Gural; his intentions to share test results with the racing commission. As a private operator, Mr. Gural is within his rights to have horsemen agree to a testing program in order to race at his tracks but it is not his right to play regulator. If tests come back positive, he has every right to decide someone is persona non grata and ban them from participating at his tracks, but he has no right to provide test results to the local racing commission.
Then comes the question of due process. As a private operator of his tracks, Mr. Gural has the right to exclude whoever he wants. That being said if Trainer A is asked to leave mid-meet, it won't take a rocket scientist for other track operators to conclude they were caught violating medication rules. As a result, it is matter of fairness to offer horsemen the option of having a split sample tested before excluding them.
Overall, what Jeff Gural is proposing is a bold proposal which on the whole should be applauded, but some changes are necessary.
Pick-4 Players, You are Obligated to Play the Pompano Park Pick-4
Starting this Monday, Pompano Park is introducing a 10% rake on their Pick 4 for the balance of their meet. The pool may not be the largest but anyone who plays the Pick-4 has an obligation to suppor the wager at the Florida track.
Gamblers have been complaining about take outs for years and here is a track willing to cut the rake to a rate which is virtually unheard of. If horseplayers are unwilling to support this wager, you have no right to expect other tracks to cut their take out rates. So horseplayers, it is time to put up or shut up.
Change or Eliminate the Sires Stakes Programs
Thre is a story in HRU (page 2) which goes into greater detail as to why Perretti Farms is opening a stallion station in Pennsylvania. More important is a proposal to open up the NJSS to the off-spring of broodmares who spend at least 180 days in the state prior to foaling, something I have been talking about for ages. Hopefully, the proposal will be accepted.
To be perfectly honest, the sires stakes programs in all states should be scrapped as they no longer advance the goals orginally established. When these programs were established, there was no semen transport so standing a stallion in a state actually served a purpose in bringing broodmares into the state to be bred and to remain until the foal was born. This brought jobs into the state and resulted in developing a real economic stimulus to the states.
Now, what is the real economic benefit of standing stallions in most states? Broodmares seldom leave their homes to be bred or foaled as the semen comes to them. There is no real economic benefit to having a Rocknroll Hanover standing in a particular state, the economic value is now where the broodmares reside. Instead of having sires stakes programs, states should have programs for the offspring of resident mares. Having such programs will induce breeders to ship their broodmares to a particular state to be bred and foaled. A strong program will bring an influx of broodmares into the state and provide the economic engine standing stallions used to..
Deer Racing Anyone?
See what happens when a trio of deer apparently decide to take to the track to show some horses how racing is done at The Meadows.
It doesn't look like they can trot a lick but it's good to know if they can't work out their gait issues, there is a future for them as steeplechasers. How far is it to Presque Isle Downs?