Monday, August 31, 2015
Looking at the tentative agenda, it looks like the thoroughbred industry has come a lot further than the standardbred industry but we remain optimistic that real progress has been made.
Sunday, August 30, 2015
a) $500 fine and a three-day driving suspension for first offense in Ohio
b) $1,000 fine, a five-day suspension, and referral to OSRC for second offense within 365 days in Ohio
a) $300 fine for first offense in Ohio
b) $300 fine, a three-day driving suspension for second offense within 365 days in Ohio
c) $500 fine, a five-day driving suspension and referral to OSRC for third offense within 365 days in Ohio
a) $300 fine for first offense in Ohio
b) $300 fine and a three-day driving suspension for second offense within 365 days in Ohio
c) $500 fine, a five-day driving suspension and referral to OSRC for third offense within 365 days in Ohio
4) Kicking (3769-17-16 (C))
a) $300 fine for first offense in Ohio
b) $300 fine and a three-day suspension for second offense within 365 days in Ohio
c) $500 fine, a five-day driving suspension and referral to OSRC for third offense within 365 days in Ohio
a) $200 fine for first offense in Ohio
b) $300 fine for second offense within 365 days in Ohio
c) $500 fine, a three-day driving suspension and referral to OSRC for third offense within 365 days in Ohio.
A bill has been forwarded from a Senate committee in the NJ legislature which will allow wagering from mobile devices at racetracks and in the case over at the forever soon to come American Dream shopping complex. While you can currently do this using your ADW, presumably, it will allow you to wager as if you are on track, giving them a little more revenue. It's not exactly a game changer, but in NJ, every dollar helps.
The USTA is looking at having its own harness racing channel. If this comes to fruition, why not have the team of Steve Ross and Heather Vitale go national with them featured covering races across of America instead of a Pennsylvania broadcast? The show could be shown in the early mornings or the late night when live racing isn't available.
So the question being asked by those organizing Team USA nticipation of the Yonkers International Trot is who should be invited to participate as an American Representative? Should it be Creatine, JL Cruze, Natural Herbie, Obrigado, Resolve, or Shake It Cerry? You can vote for your pick here but save your time on voting for JL Cruze as his trainer has indicated they won't be coming. So far, Bee A Magician, Magic Tonight and now Timoko have confirmed their participation to the International.
With big races at Yonkers and Mohawk, you may have missed the best race of the weekend at Georgian Downs where the Honorble Earle Rowe Memorial Trot was contested,
When the dust settled, 25-1 Rockin With Dewey upset the field which featured Intimidate, Daylon Magician, and E L Titan.
A RUS event was contested as well as Georgian Downs with Tragically Shipp scoring a $16.80 upset with Natalie Elliot in the saddle. The handle for the race was $14,540 after a refund of monies due to a horse being declared a non-starter due to the Fair Start rule. It is evident that given a chance, RUS can become a regular contributor to any standardbred program.
Saturday, August 29, 2015
Friday, August 28, 2015
Wednesday, August 26, 2015
This is the second time in two years the state has suffered a defeat in this court. After the first rejection and an opinion which indicated if the state didn't regulate sports wagering, the restrictions of PASPA wouldn't have applied. The state argued this time that NJ no longer regulated sports wagering thus making it legal for racetracks and casinos to offer wagering, an argument which fell flat with 2 of the 3 justices. The court found that by still banning wagering on New Jersey sports teams and colleges and relieving only certain parties from regulation, the state still regulated sports wagering.
The state can ask for a hearing by all 23 judges of the 3rd circuit which is unlikely. Failing a move to get the entire court to hear the case, the state may petition the U.S. Supreme Court once again to take on the case which it refused to hear last year.
Until the federal government is (if) so moved to change the provisions of PASPA, which will only occur if the leagues are cut in for a share of the profits, telling casinos and racetracks to hold on for sports wagering is like asking them to reach out for the proverbial brass ring; something which will remain unattainable.
Tuesday, August 25, 2015
The legislation calls for the formation of a Thoroughbred Anti-Doping Association (TADA), initially comprised of the USADA with stakeholders from thoroughbred racing being added to the group. TADA will be responsible for the establishment and enforcement of rules regarding medication including issuing penalties.
Wait, you ask. Doesn't the state racing commissions control racing, including medication penalties? Now it does, but it will need to cede this part of their regulatory duties to the TADA if they wish interstate simulcast wagering to continue in their state.
Being the Jockey Club has called for this type of legislation it doesn't surprise me the bill involves thoroughbred racing only, but it still distresses me. For one, it shows the standardbred industry hasn't gotten on board yet with the idea of an independent agency handling drug regulations and policing (as is the case with the AQHA and those who regulate donkey and mule racing). Secondly, it shows harness racing being left at the gate once again should this legislation become law (admittedly a long shot).
Were this legislation to become law, what would be the impact on harness racing? For one, it would be the racing breed without a national standard for medication and enforcement of the same from an anti-doping agency which would imply harness racing the wild west of cheats. Also, coming late to the party may result in harness racing being subjected at some point to thoroughbred racing medication rules instead of being at the table early and involved in establishing the medication rules.
Monday, August 24, 2015
Sunday, August 23, 2015
So Sunday came, and the gates were opened for the one race card. One would figure for a one race card, the race would likely be raced in front of a mostly empty track, perhaps a few horsemen and die hard fans.
If you saw the the race or replay of this year's edition of the Gold Cup and Saucer which was won by Take It Back Terry in 1:50.4 you'd be amazed as to how many people attended the race. Make no mistake, not as big a crowd as there would have been if the race was contested Saturday night but it was still an impressive crowd, a crowd most North American tracks would die for; this for one race alone. The apron was pretty much full, people standing all around the outside of the track for most of its circumference.
As for wagering, a total of $42,397 was wagered on the race; not money carried over from the night before; all wagered on Sunday. Granted this was a special race, but this handle in Atlantic Canada would be cause for envy at all but the most major standardbred tracks in North America.
They are doing something right at Charlottetown Driving Park. Now if we can figure out how to have this type of event in the rest of the continent, the sport would be in good shape.
Saturday, August 22, 2015
Race 5 the Sebastian K Invitational Trot: That didn't take long, how do we have a race named after Sebastian K already? Shouldn't there be a mourning period or something before we start naming races after horses still alive? Now that I feel better, a couple of things to note: JC is reunited with JL Cruze but can we trust that John is only rusty? You have a couple of races prior to see if you can get a clue about the wrist. The other thing I should mention, why is Dave Miller off Wind Of The North? Can the Allard factor be that powerful or is Bier just looking for a different set of hands? It could be Palone got a two for one deal and Miller couldn't do both? It might not matter if the Cruze is the CRUZE. If I had to pick an upsetter, I'll take a flyer with Natural Herbie. I love the post and Herbie can go along way parked. It's up to Yoder to get him in position at the head of the stretch.
Race 9 the U. S. T. A. Invitational Pace: For 50k, there must bigger fish to fry somewhere else because this is far, far away from a stellar field of Invitational horses. That being said, somebody has to win. The new star in the Invitational ranks is none other than Always At My Place...who, what? His last race at Poco was freaky good, and I mean freaky, first up and under wraps smoking home. Can somebody steal a half and park him? Maybe Great Vintage but, if I was Matt (obviously not), I'd just go down the road and get it over with. Are you reading Matt?
Race 10 the Valley Forge for 3yo pacing fillies: Flash back to Hambo day and what I said about the 3yo pacing fillies, they don't like to win two races in a row so, that might change tonight if Moma gets her way on the front end. Bettor Be Steppin could throw that strategy out the window if Corey has her forwardly placed, as usual. Beware, both The Show and Moonlit get their best buddies back so that could be trouble.
Race 11 the Colonial 3yo Open Trot: I must be crazy to try to beat Pinkman but that's what I try to do...when the same trainer has FIVE horses in the same race. Since that is case, what does a driver do when they see the boss in their rear view mirror? Why you let him go on and take a two hole trip, of course. That's if Burke's Crazy Wow doesn't want to play hardball early on, which could happen and be suicide since Wow has been known to lose his mind on occasion. This race could get real interesting if the Takter horses don't follow company lines or be a Takter snoozer, only time will tell.
Race 12 the Brandywine 3yo Pacing Open: Oh boy, Wiggles has the rail and a ton of speed so race over...right? Probably so but if the race goes western (not sure where that terminology started?), Split The House has to have a big shot at upsetting the apple cart. That last half at the M was one of the fastest of the meet, if not the fastest. I wonder why Randy didn't come down? Yes, the Dude was running over Wiggle It at the 3/4's but this race should set up much differently, that is if it doesn't go western???
Why did the Meadows get Mission Brief last night? Just a thought. Another thought is, while these big purse races will steal the headlines, the real money could be made in a few of the many consolation races on the card. I hope that not too many of those races get too western, or crazy, or upset the apple cart, etc. Enjoy....
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
While a few friends have stepped up and written blog entries for me (and I definitely appreciate their efforts), I have not had time to post like I would like to due to circumstances beyond my control. Rest assured, I am okay other than running 20 different ways from dawn to dusk. Fortunately, things should be quieting down shortly, at least enough where I can concentrate on the blog with greater regularity.
So no, I am not pulling a disappearing act. Just working my way through a rough patch outside of the harness racing world.
Tuesday, August 18, 2015
No news as to the employment status of the driver. All I can say is when you think you have seen it all, something comes along to blow that belief to shreds.
Speaking of The Downs, this Saturday is Super Stakes night where the best horses will be gathering to compete in one of the few remaining big money days remaining this year. A 'must see' event for all standardbred fans and for those who avoid the gimmick wagers, an opportunity to wager as the rake for straight wagers is not obscene as the rake for exotics. The card for Super Saturday will be drawn today and we'll see where the key match-ups are.
While most of the American audience will be paying attention to what happen in Wilkes-Barre, the 'Canadian Jug' will be contested at Red Shores Charlottetown as it is time for the $60,000 Gold Cup & Saucer. While the Pepsi North America Cup is probably the one race Canadian Drivers want to win money-wise, the Gold Cup and Saucer is the race drivers want to win for the experience as there are few races where grandstand and standee levels are full of appreciative race-goers.
Some people can't let go with the scheduling of the Yonkers International Trot on the same day as the Kentucky Futurity. For those not familiar with the dust up, Yonkers scheduled the Trot not only on the same Saturday as the Kentucky Futurity and other closing day stake races at The Red Mile, they will be racing during the day during the same time instead of racing during their normal nighttime slot. There is a fear some of the top drivers may skip the Red Mile card in favor of racing at Yonkers.
So once again, let's go over it, for one last time.
- Regardless of whatever perceived (or deserved) reputation Yonkers may have among track management at other tracks, Yonkers did not card the International to screw up The Red Mile. Management needed to consider when the European star horses would be available to race for it wouldn't be quite International if only North American horses showed up. In doing so, Yonkeres needed to take into account the European Grand Circuit schedule, quarantine, and allowing those horses moving on to the Breeders Crown time. The October 10 date is what worked out the best overall. If we are going to encourage foreign horses racing in American races, I suggest the European Grand Circuit schedule be considered when setting the North American stakes calendar so stakes races where European horses are anticipated to participate may be scheduled looking at the 'big picture'
- The Red Mile meet, while important is not sacrosanct. It has tradition, it has history but this is basically of interest to racing and breeding insiders and hard core harness fans. To the typical horseplayer, the races being presented are merely another set of races offered to horseplayers. Horseplayers will seek out the best races available to wager on. A full field with a compelling puzzle will draw more interest than a race with a short field and/or an overwhelming favorite (leaving takeout out of the equation for now). No track has a monopoly to keep tracks from racing at the same time
- Speaking of racing at the same time, Yonkers is racing during the day in order to maximize wagering opportunities. With a limited window available from disseminators for the signal in Europe, it is racing on Saturday afternoon or not getting access to the overseas markets. Saturday night doesn't cut it, nor does Sunday afternoon. If the Red Mile was so concerned with the head-to-head competition, they could have moved their card to latest post if they wished.
- The concern some drivers may leave Lexington a day early to race at Yonkers? First of all, at most there will be no more than three or four drivers missing on closing day, assuming they have horses in closing day stake races. With all the name drivers at The Red Mile, I am sure any driver defections to race in New York will be covered by a competitive reinsman (ask Jimmy Takter about Pinkman on Hambetonian Day).
Thursday, August 13, 2015
(Editor Comments at end)
... Saturday, Hambletonian Day at the Meadowlands, the races were over.
Editor Comments: Why I understand Pete's love of the old grandstand with regards to the amenities for the owners and the convenience to do his job, I shed no tears for the old grandstand. I never warmed up to old grandstand since it was initially opened back in 1976. I will admit, when it first opened, back when cashing windows were on he opposite side of the teller's area (and selling windows were designated by dollar amount) there was some panache thanks to the neon signs over the teller's bays but once those signs were eliminated, the grandstand lacked any character; it was a hulking behemoth of steel and lacked any character, As time moved on, it became even more undesirable as the facility started to look frayed with concession stands closing and even fewer people attending; the place started looking like a mausoleum.
Don't get me wrong, I like older facilities. I loved the old Freehold grandstand prior to the big fire. To this day, the new grandstand is a slab of concrete; I look back fondly for the days of the bubbles which were used during reconstruction. Yet, I realize the times have changed. Your don't get the attendance racing used to get so there is a need to right-size grandstands. Not only do you lose the mausoleum feeling, it is much more efficient to maintain. With the old grandstand, you needed air conditioning or heating,insurance, and manpower for unused areas, all year long. The taste of the customer has long changed. A facility which is built solely for racing will not attract younger generations; there needs to be another reason for them to attend. And remember, without customers there is (or shouldn't be) no business..
Time marches on. While getting to the paddock may be harder, the Meadowlands has provided new amenities for owners. Reality trumps nostalgia.
By easing the requirements, it is thought more out of state mares will take advantage of the new NJ Bred racing program, thus increasing business at horse farms as well as other equine-related services.
You got to love the prosecutor who has jurisdiction of Penn National as another indictment has been handed down with a trainer being charged with wire fraud for medicating horses in eleven races. I realize US Attorneys are busy with other cases but one has to wonder why other US Attorneys seem ignore potential problems at racetracks in their regions.
Talk about cursed, how can I have the only horse to break two jumps before the line on Hambo day? Not only did the DQ in the 15th race cost me the DD, it also cost me the last Pick 3 of the meet. I was working so I couldn't watch the race but I could run to a tv to see the results. I knew Stacia won, whom I singled. I checked again after the 15th race and saw the 2 had won....or I thought had won so I knew I was in shape for a nice score if the 1, 5, 8 or 10 won the 16th race so I waited for my chance to check the tv again. From where I was selling, I could see just enough of the tv to see colors of the driver who won the 16th race and I knew it was Corey on the 10...BINGO!!!! Or I thought BINGO. To my great dismay, I only found out hours later when I went up to see my friends after working and being happy with myself that the racing gods smacked me down again.
My buddy says to me, "Hey, you know that 2 horse you liked, his break cost me the DD." I must have turned as white as a sheet. What??? He must be joking right. This fairy tale ending couldn't end like this, could it? Of course it can, I'm cursed. Instead of having the meet end a great note (probably close to 2k), I'm left to wallow in you've got to be kidding me. Racing/gambling is so cruel.
Monday, August 10, 2015
Why would Hawthorne apply for standardbred dates when the IRB had been turning them down for years? They are not applying for winter dates which they had been racing the last time the trotters graced the mile oval. These are prime dates, May 13-September 11 for 61 race dates (May 13-31, Friday-Sunday; June through September 11, Thursday-Sundays with a several dark dates in August).
Clearly, Hawthorne is banking on a doomsday scenario where Balmoral and Maywood are no longer racing. As is, Balmoral Park is seeking only 87 racing dates, Fridays and Saturdays from January 2 through November 3 while Maywood would race only 17 days (Fridays and Saturdays from November 4 through the end of the year), which would be a significant cut in racing dates in an effort to keep purses from crashing through the floor due to the inability of getting slots at the racetracks. A bill is being considered to bring video gaming to the tracks but this is a state which has managed to kill these bills off at the last minute.
Of course, this assumes Balmoral and Maywood are still racing for the properties are up for sale as a result of the bankruptcy filing which was necessitated due to a settlement won in the courts by the Illinois Riverboats. If these two tracks close, it would make Hawthorne the only parimutuel standardbred track and as such, would be entitled to all the hosting fees for standardbred racing simulcasts.
We will see what happens at the IRB meeting on September 29 when racing dates are supposedly to be voted upon. Unless a final decision is made on the future of Balmoral and Maywood or a decision on slots at tracks has been reached, expect the IRB to give a nod to Hawthorne for some dates to ensure there will be harness racing in the Prairie State in 2016.
Editor's note: While primarily thoroughbred racing in context, there are many points which apply to harness racing. In particular, I suggest you read the section on STATS: The New Vision for Racing. Here is a video of the aforementioned Roundtable (2hrs). For those who lack two hours to watch the video, here is an article which highlights the roundtable regarding medication, including the potential for eliminating Salix. Other related articles may be found here.
Also, note the Jockey Club is mandating the microchipping of all foaled race horses starting with the 2017 season (voluntary in 2016). This is something we have been arguing for a long time but has been rejected by standardbred interests. The time has come to begin microchipping of horses.
Sunday, August 9, 2015
Who is Richard you may be asking? I point you to this blog entry from 2013 to learn a bit about him.
I could go on about Richard but rather than doing so, let it be said he was a class 'A' guy. When we started the HANA Harness handicapping contests which benefit standardbred rescues, Richard was a contestant. As time progressed, he found he needed to stop competing but he kept helping HANA with the contest, becoming an auditor of the results to ensure the validity of the results. He was all set to resume competing when the bad news came that his cancer returned. No complaining, or woe to me from Richard. From him, it was like in the "Dragnet" series; "Just the facts Mam"
RIP Richard. He's probably touring the stables in Heaven as we speak.
Saturday, August 8, 2015
Friday, August 7, 2015
As a result, I've decided to go in an easier route by naming my "horse to beat" (or htb) and my "price special" (or ps) in each race. Maybe a good longshot or two will help your day be successful...I hope so.
Race 1: What a great/tough race to open the card with. My htb is going to be Odds On Equuleus, yes, I know Andy Miller is driving (this might be his only chance to win a race on Hambo day) but, a change in tactics probably cost him the race last week. Knowing that speed usually carries really well on Hambo day, I'm willing to give him another shot. My ps has to be Capozzo. His last race at the M was stellar beating a lesser group. Not only did he get a new lifetime mark, he showed to me some class that had been missing in the past.
Race 2: You know how temperamental young trotters can be so I find myself going against my better judgement by saying Broadway Donna is the horse to beat. Her elimination was freaky good. Not only did she look great, her breeding has superstar written all over it. My ps is as easy as naming the horse above the horse to beat, watch out for Sunset Glider. Blocked with a ton, Yannick had no choice but to sit chilly in the stretch, looking for a seam that never appeared. No doubt, he is looking forward to getting a better trip Saturday.
Race 3: I have to take a flyer htb this race, Sandbetweenurtoes. I think the added distance won't hurt. Sandy got a curious steer by Brett, by not going forward at the start, her best asset, speed, was compromised. I'm hoping Brett gets more involve early without getting shuffled out of the race. Talk about bad luck, poor Venus Delight has been snake bitten by either a bad post or a bad DQ in the last few races I've seen her race. Will Jason get a better trip this time than his previous try here? Who knows, I know it can't be much worse.
Race 4: Not sure where to go in this race since the top 3 last week were separated by a neck. Since the horse I played last week, Doo Wop Hanover, got his normal first over try and just missed, I have to go back. Expect a lot of movement and a great race. There's new kid on the block this race and that's who I'm using as my ps, Somewhere In L A. The Meadows shipper was razor sharp in a race the winner was on a speed mission and almost got caught by the pocket sitting Somewhere. Check out the last half, 54.2, nothing shabby there.
Race 5: Kudos to the connections of the Elitloppet winner for bringing Magic Tonight over to race. Is he ready to beat our best? Impossible to say. Can he beat these on his best? Absolutely, question is, how cranked is he? I expect a big effort regardless. I'm taking Intimidate as my ps, his acclimating mile was perfect, just the trip he likes. Coming off cover and sprinting home. Let's hope he's much tighter.
Race 6: Of course, the race revolves around Bee A Magician. She beat the boys last time here so why not beat the ladies? Another foreign import adds to the equation but the post won't help. I'm taking Shake It Cerry for a price. Yes, the post sucks but Shake It hasn't had a great trip in quite some time. Being in the second tier might be a benefit since she won't be able to use her speed once the gate closes.
Race 7: Here's a shocker, Southwind Frank is only 8-5 on the morning line. I thought 4-5 might be closer to his odds but if you can get 8-5, take it. His only blemish was with Kakaley driving so we toss that race out. Yannick is staring at the 2yo trotting double. The other Southwind is the ps. I surely don't have a lot on confidence in this one but he didn't have some traffic issues in his elim. Not sure he can overcome his post but he will be a large price.
Race 8: Oh boy, this should be interesting. Both Takter horses have to leave for position so who knows how that's going to work out (remember Father Patrick)? I'm kind of surprised Jimmy didn't stick with The Bank although I'm a fan of both horses. Since Jimmy gave up his drive on The Bank, that's who I'm going to take. The Bank should get the best trip of the three...maybe? Can The Bank also be my ps? Sure, why not. Nothing else is jumping off the page.
Race 9: Speaking of interesting, it's the lady against the boys, in a rare match up. Is she good enough? You know Yannick will have her winging early. It's her race to win or lose for sure. Want a real flyer? Cruzado Dela Noche showed real promise at 2 but obviously has issues. If they have the trotting hobbles measured correctly, the other Cruz could be heard from.
Race 10: Here's a curious race, half don't belong in a race for 75k but I see why they are entered. Nobody deserves great praise so I'll say Etruscan Hanover is the horse htb...who? Duplicate his last race and he's right there. No reason he can't get a trip from his post. How about Il Sogno Dream as the ps? This is definitely an easier group than his last visit. Here's hoping the outside posts take their toll.
Race 11: How do you beat Wiggle It? Only if 3 weeks is too long of a break (laughing). My ps has to be Dealt A Winner. His last two will assure a decent price to help the vertical wagers. The race three back was excellent.
Race 12: Can you say trouble? The race sure does look like a speed fest. I'm not sold on Wild Honey this year so I'll try Lock Down Lindy. Her last race put her on the map big time. Can she do it again? I know Tim will be trying hard for his pal Tony A. My price special has to be Rules Of The Road. Although the race two back was against much lesser, the speed was there. She definitely has to be better than last week.
Race 14: Has there been a more inconsistent bunch this year than 3yo pacing fillies? Nobody wants to win two races in a row so why start now. Using that logic, I'm going with Stacia Hanover as the htb. Either she's cutting the mile in too quick of fractions or too far back to make an impact late. Here's hoping for a nice second over trip...please. My ps is Divine Caroline. Another horse with big expectations that hasn't quite panned out. She has her favorite driver back so that might help.
Race 15: If your still watching, the Townsend Ackerman divisions are always intriguing. This race winner could boil down to two horses that haven't raced much this year. One is 20-1 and the other is 4-1. I think both will get bet heavier than their odds imply. I'll leave this race up to you...both have a right to improve off the layoffs.
Race 16: Finally, nothing like a nice 12 horse field to finish the long day with. Don't forget to save some cash for the mandatory payoff High 5. Too bad I can't move some drivers around. Maybe that explains the morning line. How can a horse that just ran 49 flat be 8-1 on the line? Yes, he's jumping up in class but he's not in that tough. I've been a fan of My Name Is Sam since the winter so why change now. Go Sam is the htb...sort of. If you want a horse to spice up the High 5, it has to be Scalped. He left hard from the 9 hole and got shuffled enough to have traffic issues in the stretch. The added distance and jump in class might be too much but I see what I saw.
Good luck with all your wagers. Hopefully Pacingguy will be able to make it there this year, I wish I could join him.