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Saturday, June 20, 2009

Conference, 2yos in PA

Yesterday I attended a conference sponsored by the USTA. It was a very productive meeting where many issues were discussed regarding integrity, the feasibility of a commissioner, coordination of race dates and simulcasting issues with representation from various areas of the industry. More information regarding the meeting will be forthcoming in the near future.

Our two year olds are starting to move from the baby races into the pari-mutuel races. A look at the condition sheets at The Meadows and Chester show a few 2yo races. Pocono Downs? For the most part 2yos are being asked to race against 3yos and 4y0s.

In the past, the PA tracks did not card 2yo overnight races due to the lack of horses. Until this year, if you were not grand circuit caliber, you had the choice of racing in the PASS, the fair circuit, or race out of state. With the dramatic growth of the PA breeding industry thanks to slots, there are enough 2yos looking to race that the Meadows and Chester are now carding races for them. Pocono Downs for the most part does not. This coming week, the condition sheet is offering one race for 2yo fillies, which has a preference for Reynolds eligibles.

We understand that 2yo races are not attractive to bettors due to the horses being green and often breaking.. However, it is not reasonable and possibly detremental to ask a baby to go against older horses. True a 2yo that is non-winners of two can compete against non-winners of one and those that are non-winners of three are allowed to go against non-winners of two, but the fact remains 2yos that are still developing are going against horses that are physically stronger and more developed. With the explosion in the PA breeding industry there is no reason why Pocono could not card more than one 2yo race.

Two year olds should not be racing against older horses at all during the year. All extended pari-mutuel tracks should be required to offer at least two 2yo races a week starting in July. If there are not enough horses to fill the race so be it, but the races should be offered. There ought to be a rule.

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