For photos from the Meadowlands contact

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Wish List for 2011

As typical, I am early.  But with 2010 winding down, I would like to put forth my wish list for the upcoming 2011 year.

  1. Jeff Gural obtains the lease of the Meadowlands and racing is saved there.  Whether there will be enough days there to allow NJ breeding interests to survive, remains in doubt, but one thing for certain, without the Meadowlands surviving, there is no New Jersey breeding industry to speak off.
  2. The restoration of Freehold Raceway to a sold "B" track, a vast improvement over where it has been the past two years.  In the past, a Saturday race card could have raced at any track during the week, of late, a Saturday card would have been unable to compete anywhere.
  3. The implementation of the fair start rule in New Jersey it is up to the commission now) and it's spread to other states in the United States.  A fair start rule is not only one of the most customer friendly actions which could be taken; it rectifies a great injustice.
  4. Merging horsemen and gamblers interests together.  Offer starting fees but award purse money along with the gambler's payoffs.  Why should horsemen collect if gamblers don't? 
  5. A Saturday Night Show called "The A List"' which will feature racing from WEG, the Meadowlands and perhaps Yonkers Raceway or a track with a stakes laden card.  Feature racing the best racing with wagering action occurring every ten minutes with special wagers.
  6. The lesser tracks learning there is so much money out there for wagering and develop Standardbred Racing Across America where they get together to offer day long simulcasting from different tracks on one simulcast channel.
  7. Judges resetting fines and suspensions based on a driver or trainers success.  A $100 fine to a driver who earns $10,000 last year racing is a lot different than a $100 fine to a driver who earned $500,00 last year.  For the first driver the fine is a deterrent; the second driver a cost of doing business.  It's about time both types of trainers and drivers feel stung when the judges hand down their rulings.
  8. Tioga Downs continuing to lower takeout rates and to become a serious option for handicappers on Sunday afternoons and in the evenings.
  9. In the year of the World Trotting Conference in the United States, much success including the establishment of some reporting standardization so gamblers around the world can wager on races from different countries.
  10. Realization to the horsemen at Vernon Downs that the game has changed and if they don't accept some of Gural's suggestions, it is a matter of time until they close down.
  11. While a couple of years away, the restoration of racing at the New York State Fairgrounds at Syracuse.
  12. Aaron Merriman returning to where he was before the accident earlier this year.
  13. The elevation of Corey Callahan into the ranks of top drivers.
  14. The debut of Exchange Wagering (thank you New Jersey)
  15. Heather Moffett joining Sam McKee, Roger Huston, Dan Bianconi,and Ellie Sarama at the Little Brown Jug to add color to harness racing's greatest simulcast show.  While we are at it, the return of simulcasting for the first two days of the Delaware meet..
  16. Bonuses paid to horses leading at each quarter of a race to keep the action moving.  Fining drivers who race half in or half out.  Either you are moving out to make a move or you are sitting; none of this nonsense.
  17. Get rid of elimination races, they cause only problems.
  18. Judges who will have no problem to watch each race like a hawk and hand down fines and suspensions with regularity when needed.
  19. More women trainers and drivers getting into the upper leagues of racing.
  20. Each harness track partner with rescue organizations to save horses.  Is it too much trouble to save two or three stalls in the backstretch for no-question surrenders? 
  21. Drivers, trainers, and owners realizing who the customers are and start worrying about them.  This means races with two tiers and added distances being added with regularity.
  22. The Success of Harness Racing Update as well as Harness Racing Weekend Update.
  23. The Election of Lucien Fontaine and Billy Parker Jr. to the Hall of Fame of the Trotter.
  24. The realization that champion horses can race safely over the half mile oval.
  25. Reduced takeouts elsewhere and the introduction of wagers which smaller horseplayer can be attracted to such as the Double Quiniella. 
  26. The establishment of an American V75 and V64. 
  27. A probationary license for Walter Case Jr.
  28. The return of a chastised Jim Morrill Jr.
  29. More money for the USTA.  If they received the funding Standardbred Canada received, they would be able to do a lot more as well.
  30. The ability for more Americans to experience the Gold Cup and Saucer.  To be able to experience what harness racing once was would be something even the most jaded can appreciate.  More ADWs and simulcast signals should take CDP's signal during this time; even if just those races.
  31. The return of harness racing to Ocean Downs and the state of Maryland.  The casino starts operating January 4, and parimutuel racing returnins this summer at least for 40 days; possibly 60 days.

No comments: