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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Oh How the Mighty Have Fallen and a Cautionary Tale

Note: Article has been corrected.  May June Character did not wi the 2007 LBJ, he won the Adios that year,  I regret the confusion.

Remember May June Character, the winner of the 2007 Adios?  Well, MJC kicks of his 2011 racing campaign tomorrow night at Thunder Ridge Raceway racing for an $1,100 purse in an event for $2,000 claimers.  Now, Thunder Ridge Raceway is certainly far from the best of racing.  We are talking about a track which doesn't even have a website and they race cars over the same track.  It makes Blue Ridge Downs seem down right top notch as the $2,000 claimers raced there last year at least for $1,700.  Thankfully, we won't see $2,000 claimers at the Red Mile.  There, the bottom class $2,500 claimers raced for the princely sum of $2,200.  Yes, Lexington during their regular meet is no Meadowlands. 

As bad as it is to see May June Character racing at Thunder Ridge, these types of purses are a cautionary tale of what may lie ahead for harness racing elsewhere if the sport does not get their act together.  Think it can't happen?  I remember going to Dover Downs (pre-slots) where on a Saturday night horses were racing for $800 purses and the purses for the entire evening didn't exceed $10,000.  Well, at many of these racinos, how much do you think they would be racing for if they had to race only on what passed through the tote machines?  This could be the future of racing at quite a few tracks if they lose their slot revenue and the sport fails to make the changes necessary to keep it relevant.


Anonymous said...

But Dover Downs going from $800 to $8000 back down to $5000 hasn't done anything to improve racing anywhere except Dover Downs. Racing is not in the USA because Harrington and Dover have bigger purses. All that meant is that instead of big name drivers like Ron Pierce being in the shadow on NYC they are hidden at the Delaware State Fairgrounds... As slots kick in in Maryland and continue to proliferate in Pennsylvania and at some point throughout NJ, how long do you think slots will save the world? Also, the upping of Delaware hasn't done anything for overall handle. In fact, it's reduced handle at the one track that did business - the Meadowlands.

Jeff said...

So So incredibly true Pacingguy.