The Internet was abuzz last night due to the claim of a $5,000 horse at Flamboro Downs last night. What could have caused such anger? The horse is Sydney Seelster, a horse which is partially owned by Sydney Weaver, a young lady with cerebral palsy, thanks to the generosity of the pre-claim owner. Through Sydney Seelster, this girl has been able to be part of the harness racing community. To say the horse has provided Sydney Weaver great joy is an understatement.
There is a grass roots movement to get Sydney Seelster back to her original owners so Weaver is reunited with her horse. It is being claimed by some that the successful claimant didn't know the Sydney Seelster story; let's assume that is correct. The good news is there have been offers to donate additional funds if it is necessary to claim Sydney Seelster back at a higher claiming tag. If you ignore some of the anger-fueled threats, it seems the racing community is coming behind the two Sydneys and that is a nice story; showing harness racing does have a heart.
Now let it be said, being aware of the connection between the two Sydneys, I would never have claimed the horse. However, let's play Devils Advocate for a moment. Sydney Seelster has been racing at Flamboro in the $5,000 claiming ranks for the longest time. Prior to last night's fourth place finish, Sydney Seelster had 4-1-0 record in her last five starts. Does the fact the horse is owned partially by someone who has cerebral palsy give the trainer the right to race in the same class with impunity? Perhaps some of the blame for the horse being claimed lies with the trainer for not moving the horse up in class thinking the horse was untouchable.
That being said, here is hoping Sydney Weaver is reunited with Sydney Seelster as soon as possible. After all, who doesn't love a happy ending?
Update: Sydney Seelster is in to go on Wednesday in a $7,500 claimer. As previously mentioned, the claimant didn't know the story. While he wants the horse to go back to Sydney, ORC rules don't allow this to happen as easily. It is reported he has asked the Sydney's team to claim the horse back at the higher price and they will be reimbursed for the difference in price to get the horse back.