The NYSRWB has approved live video streaming of standardbred and thoroughbred racing in 2013, meaning New York State tracks can continue to show their races live on their websites. While we applaud the action, my question is why in the year 2012 does this need to be an annual decision? Make no mistake, the industry is not one to quickly innovate, but when your racing operations are so tightly controlled by a state agency, it makes it that much harder to innovate.
Of course, this begs us to ask another question. In states where racing is controlled by the same state board which regulates casino gaming, there maybe an inherent conflict of interest within the boards themselves. Let's say New Jersey combined their casino control board with their racing commission. With the lobbying dollars flowing from Atlantic City casino interests, who is to say such a combined board would act equally in the best interests of the casino and racing industries? Would it be more likely for the board act in the best interests of casino gaming and let horse racing wallow in the status quo?
Congratulations to trainer Linda Toscano for winning the Trainer of the Year award, becoming the first woman to win the honor. For years owners would never use a female trainer but they have become widely accepted. Of course it begs to be asked, with women trainers now accepted, why is there still such a hesitation to use women drivers? Yes, there has been a few female drivers in the past who have had success, but it seems unless they own their own horse, good luck in seeing a female driver on the track.
I have said it before and say it again, it is a blight on the industry that it refuses to give women a real chance to compete in the sulky as it gives them on the training farms. The industry needs to take some serious steps to ensure women get a fair shot to make it as drivers. While it may be a long time for a woman to become Driver of the Year, there is no reason why women shouldn't be competing for Driver of the Meet these days.
We're in the New York Times (Positive yet)! - The story of Tattler's Jet who is making his final pari-mutuel start in the Au Revoir race at Monticello Raceway today is in the New York Times. Tattler's Jet has made 460 career starts behind the starting gate and will go out a champion regardless of how he finishes in today's pari-mutuel finale (USTA rules allow a horse to race past fourteen in amateur and county fair races).
Horses like Tattler's Jet need to be celebrated; the war horses are the one who keep racing going at racetracks competing in overnights and/or fairs. The champions are here for a relative brief time and disappear. This is one of the beauties of harness racing, its blue collar roots; something to be celebrated. With monté racing being added to the mix, we are showing how versatile standardbreds on the track and when they move 'graduate' to the show ring or mounted police units. So it begs to be asked, when are we going to stop trying to be like thoroughbred racing? We never will be as popular so don't try to be. Celebrate and market the sport as it is, a blue collar sport; a piece of Americana.