If you have looked at the nomination form for the Meadowlands Racing and Entertainment late winter series, you can't help but note there was a cut in the number of late closing series this year; this done to provide more overnight opportunities for horsemen during the winter when other tracks are closed. One advantage of the changes is it allows additional funds to be dedicated to the remaining late closing events, making them more attractive. Another advantage is it makes the races better betting events overall because instead of the same horses moving from one late closing series to the next series, it puts the horses into the general horse population where they will need to compete against different horses. I mean do we need the Jr. Trendsetter and Jr. Trendsetter II? I say no.
Last year a few of the 'name' stables was dominating series with two or three horses racing in an event, sometimes in the same elimination which makes for fewer betting interests. While those stables may enter the few stakes which remain, it means with overnight races they can't reduce ten horse fields to six wagering interests as often. In addition, the smaller stables will not find themselves sitting in the barn as much because they don't or choose not to pay nominating fees.
I must admit, there is one change I don't care for and that is the movement of the Presidential Series to February and going from two preliminary legs and a final to a single elimination and final. I recall the days the Presidential was a series where the best horses raced three or four weeks straight before the final. It would have been nice if the Presidential could return to be the great event it once was. A series with the stature of the Levy Memorial.
Best wishes for a speedy recovery for John Pawlak. If you don't know John yet the name sounds familiar, there is a reason as he tends to host many of the USTA's broadcasts such as Inside Harness Racing. We look forward to John returning to host the programs he has in the past.