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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A Wish List for Santa

In a post race interview with Santa Claus who was racing at North Pole Downs (in an Invitational naturally), a View From the Racetrack Grandstand reader was asked why I did not send in my request list for those I felt deserving of a gift. Due to time constraints, Santa asked me to forgo the ‘naughty list’ and to keep the list as general as possible. With those instructions, here is my wish list for my harness racing family, in no particular order:

  • Persuade Pennwood Racing to accept the purse enhancement agreement for 2010 as a sign of faith in incoming Governor Christie. While you are at it, if you can make sure the support New Jersey horsemen gave the Christie campaign was well founded it would be appreciated.
  • A little common sense for the Atlantic City Casinos so they will recognize in the long run VLTs at New Jersey race tracks managed by the casino industry will benefit them. 
  • If no VLTs for the Meadowlands, a new purse supplement agreement for 2011 and beyond.
  • The legalization of pari-mutuel harness racing in Georgia.
  • A reduction in race dates for 2011 as a result of the coordination of race dates between states so horsemen will race for more money at each track yet have the ability to race all year thanks to the establishment of meaningful circuits. We just don’t need twelve simulcast signals from harness tracks each day.
  • Race cards which get completed in less than two and half hours.
  • A cut in the take out rate to make gambling on harness racing more competitive to casino gaming. Free programs would be nice as well.
  • Female drivers that compete regularly at our raceways and trainers who support them. They deserve the chance and it will help us attract more women to racing.
  • The ability to card full fields through out the whole Meadowlands race meet.
  • New wagering options which will be attractive to casual fans as well as the serious gamblers (Not another Pick X).
  • The realization of a National Racing Compact so there will be only one set of rules for trainers and drivers.
  • Bring back a true International Trot.
  • An Auckland Reactor that lives up to his hype when he races in the United States this summer.
  • Another blockbuster year for Lucky Jim.
  • An American victory in the Elitlopp.
  • Make 2010 the breakout year for Won The West.
  • Geldings to win the Hambletonian and other major stake races so in 2011 there will be new star horses to follow as aged pacers and trotters.
  • Letting one of those great geldings end up in the barn of Greg Peck, one of the best spokesmen for standardbred racing.
  • Horses that will compete in all three legs of the triple crowns, even though some of those races are on a half mile track.
  • A successful Breeders Crown at Pocono Downs in 2010.
  • An opportunity for Howard Oil, track announcer at Monticello Raceway, to call races at one of the 'A' tracks. 
  • Inner strength for the horsemen of Barn 16 at Lebanon Raceway so they may bounce back from tragedy and have a successful return to the racing wars. So their loss won’t be in vain, a nationwide movement that will ensure all race tracks and public stables install sprinklers.
  • More coverage for harness racing by TVG and other racing channels. Start this off with a new harness racing show hosted by Heather Moffett who is very informative yet entertaining.
  • Speaking of Heather Moffett, adding her to the broadcast team at the Delaware County Fair, clearly the best racing broadcast there is for any breed.
  • A regular harness racing column for Andrew Cohen. His columns during the two weeks at The Red Mile remind us how much we miss his writings and how much we need him.
  • A big year for Koshy's Kids.  Not only is it a good way to publicize harness racing, they do a lot for children with cancer.
  • More amateur races held during the normal racing card so participants can experience racing in front of the racing public; just make them non-wagering contests.
  • Track operators that finally agree with Jeff Gural which will result in more stake races for older horses.
  • The implementation of a Fair Start rule through out the country.
  • Stop the badmouthing of the half mile ovals. You want to get someone new excited about harness racing? You take them to a half mile track where they can actually see the race without relying on a television monitor.
  • More support nationally for the California horsemen and their meet at Cal Expo. Yes, it is a long distance to travel but if standardbred racing wants to become more relevant, we need a strong presence not only in the New York market, but in the California market.
  • A funding mechanism for horse rescue groups and programs at race tracks which make it easier for horsemen to give their horses up for adoption instead of sending them to sales and an uncertain future.
  • Good health and a profitable year for all readers of View From the Racetrack Grandstand.
I wish all of you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.


Pocket Up said...

Great "not-naughty" list Pacingguy.

May I add one more thing to the wish list, "May Pacingguy find the stamina to continue his labor of love for many years to come." Thanks pg for sticking with it and being a true advocate for the sport!

By your last comment, are you taking the rest of the year off? If so, Happy Holidays to you also. You deserve a nice vacation like Santa....

Pacingguy said...

Nope, I'll be around; I am already working on the "B" track tour for this week. I may skip a couple of days at a time, but I will be here.

Anonymous said...

I wrote this to my American friends back in September:

"7 reasons Lucky Jim won't win the 2010 Elitlopp (I hope with all my heart that I'm wrong and that he does win it):

Not allowed to race with two burr headpoles-actually not even two regular head poles

Not allowed to race on Lasix

Crowd that is beyond loud and crazy ('Jim' does have a history of being a bit mischievous and that crowd won't help)-will make the crowd on Hambo day seem quiet

Julie and Andy Miller's first Elitlopp

The long trip to Stockholm-about 10 hours flight to Amsterdam and then 10 hours in a horse trailer to Stockholm

Two heats

Swedish and French drivers will want to make it extra hard for the 'evil Yankee'"

As for Auckland Reactor, who do you think will train him now that Croghan is suspended? Do you think they will go with the beard (Darren McCall?) or someone else? If someone else, I'm thinking either the Peckster (Canadian like 6 of the co-owners+Jerry Silva, who is also one of the co-owners, has other horses with Peck) or Gelrod (Peter Heffering's favored trainer I guess). Would've been interesting to see what Julie and Andy Miller could do with him, but I don't think they will ever get that chance.

Best regards,

Stefan Fredriksson (Halmstad, Sweden)

Pacingguy said...


It would be nice if Auckland Reactor ended up with Greg Peck, but my I suspect he will end up with a fellow Kiwi so you may be right about Monte Gelrod. I would love to see him end up with Chuck Sylvester. Don't think he would end up with the Millers because they are not known as being able to handle Grand Circuit stock.

JLB said...

Wishing you Happy Holidays, and always being on the winning side of photo finishes in the New Year.

Adding to your list, the enforcement of drug regulations so that over time, the playing field may be leveled for those of us who play by the rules.