Captaintreacherous returned with a 1:49.2 win over a good track to grab the 2014 Meadowlands Pacing Maturity in his seasonal debut. As usual, the Captain didn't blow the field away, but just enough to take the race. Saddled with post position 10, the Captain paid $3.80 which may be one of the highest win prices he pays for the year.
While I didn't see any booting which was a usual sight in the Captain's stretch runs last year, it did appear the whip went under the arch and there was some poking going on, but the legs and between them escaped the whip.. I just wish we would see the Captain race with a traditional stretch drive; the whip on the saddle pad and above the arches of the sulky.
In today's Harness Racing Update, Dean Towers discusses how standardbred racing is very fragmented when it comes to big race cards. A perfect example would be tonight's North America Cup card at Mohawk Racetrack. Here you have the best horses racing in five stakes races and you can be at your local track watching a regular card with no mention or coverage of the race card except in a simulcast room. I understand local horsemen don't want to lose racing opportunities, but couldn't they incorporate the 'big' races into their race schedule for the day so those races get the proper coverage they deserve? Off the top of my head, the Meadowlands Pace, Hambletonian, and Breeders Crown are raced in a vacuum, with the only exception being the trades magazines and websites.
How bad is it? Even at Gural-operated tracks, there is no special programming going on Hambletonian Day. Why can't Tioga and Vernon Downs do something similar to the promotion of the thoroughbred triple crown races, even if they raced during the daytime. Granted, the interest of the simulcast audience is overwhelmingly in favor of t-bred gamblers, but if tracks operated by the owner of the Meadowlands can't or won't do special promoting of the Hambletonian, how can we expect other tracks to come on board?
To gain interest and make it easier for patrons to bet these races, I would even consider going back in simulcast time when tracks would take a specific race from another track and put the race on their own wagering card. Granted, the pools won't be as deep as they would be if they were co-mingled, but these races would be highlighted at each track and there would be more betting on-track than there would be if treated as a regular simulcast race. Of course, how the commission would be split would need to be negotiated.
Speaking of North America Cup Night, here are my selections to win in the big races:
Race 4 (Goodtimes) - #10 Harper Blue Chip
Race 5 (Armbro Flight) - #3 Dorsay
Race 7 (Rose Are Red) - #4 Androvette
Race 8 (Gold Cup Invitational) - #5 Sunshine Beach
Race 9 (Fan Hanover) - #7 Fancy Desire
Race 10 (North America Cup) - #2 Micwicked