For photos from the Meadowlands contact

Monday, May 2, 2011

Cross Border War?

I've been looking at the Blooded Horse Sales catalog and came across a horse that has been entered with an owners statement saying the horse has raced only three times this year because of the new Canadian rule regarding accepting American entries.

Like many on this side of the border, you may be wondering what rule is this? Under the new guidelines introduced in Ontario this year, entry preference for Canadian-based horses rules over last date raced.  As per the ORC, This first initiative in a system of incentives will increase racing opportunities for locally-based horses and enhance purse earning potential for Canadian-based horses.

What does this mean?  If you in the past have been an American owner/trainer that has raced on both sides of the Canadian border, a horse was entered into a race solely on the date preference (the horse that raced the longest ago gets in first.  This year, if your horse is not already stabled in Canada before you drop into the entry box, a horse that is stabled in Canada that raced three days ago will get preference over your horse that hasn't raced in a month; otherwise American-based horses are filler.  Protectionism at its best.

For years, horsemen have crossed the border from Michigan to Ontario and vice versa to find the best spot to enter their horse; often at the smaller Ontario tracks like Windsor and Western Fair and I imagine horses from upstate New York also made the commute across the border as well.  This new rule basically puts an end to it for the small to medium owners.    Sure if you are the Teague Stable where you have Brenda Teague taking care of the stock at WEG tracks and George Teague taking care of the horses based in the States and you know you want to race in Canada, you can easily send the horse across the border to race for the same stable.  However, if you are some small time American trainer, looking for a race wherever you can, what are you going to do?  Stable some of your horses in Canada and some in the United States and cross the border to train your horse?  Hire another trainer to handle and stable your horse in Canada for you when you may not even get in; this while your racing the rest of your stock for meager purses in Michigan?

I understand the rationale, keep Canadian money in Canada.  The same like horsemen in Delaware trying to keep the money in their own state. This despite the fact someone who ships in to Canada to race spends money in Canada and may come home earning nothing for their efforts.  The problem I have is for years, horsemen have been able to cross the border and race on either side and now they just cut them off.  Perhaps if an exception was made for grandfathering a Canadian bred or sired horse already purchased it would be one thing, but to just cut these horsemen out of Ontario cold strikes me as being unfair and unreasonable.

Granted, reciprocal rules implemented by Michigan where there is no slot money isn't going to really harm the Ontario horsemen, but I would like to see as a matter of principle, New York implement a similar rule where there is slot revenue.  It would be even better if New Jersey implemented a rule like that for the Meadowlands, but with the Meadowlands likely going to be scrounging around for horses, that would be cutting their nose off to spite themselves.

What's good for the goose is good for the gander.

However, in an effort to avoid all out war, PTP has an interesting column where he talks about the Canadian Elections today.  You will enjoy his commentary about their political parties which is worth a read if not for anything more than a chuckle.  Despite the introduction of the Tea Party this past year in American politics, things don't seem to be as funny since Gus Hall stopped running on the Communist Party ticket (I believe death stopped his perenial campaigns).  Republican and Democratic doesn't seem to cut it anymore.  Maybe we can use a parliamentary system in America so we can have our own group of fringe parties.  It was one of the reasons why I always loved to watch Prime Minister's Questions on C-Span.  The rowdiness was great entertainment.  Imagine my disappointment when I learned the opposition provided their quesetions ahead of time and some government beaurocrat provided the British Prime Minister the answer ahead of time.  The link above has a much funnier clip, but for those who have never seen Prime Minister's Questions on C-Span, and want to avoid a couple of clicks, here is a sample of an old session.

Prime Minister's Questions from Babson CITG on Vimeo.

Speaking of The Blooded Horse Sale:  A horse that earned a million dollars is entered into this sale.  Now, a good many of these horses end up racing for new stables while some less fortunate ones may be making that last trip to Canada.  It seems a shame that a horse which earns a million dollars finds itself in this situation.

No comments: