Updated: Entry updated to discuss Arch Madness' victory in the Oslo Grand Prix. A replay has been included.
First of all, if you have not yet read, Does Anyone Have Faith in Racing?, which was posted yesterday you need to read it. Why am I so passionate this article? Sooner or later the slot revenue is going to be taken back by the state legislatures, so unless you like racing for $500 purses (if you are lucky), you need to be working on making racing attractie again. No one can say for sure when each state is going to lose their slot revenue, but as long as their are being called VLT, your state has the ability to pull that revenue at anytime. Maybe you are nearing retirement age and don't care, but you are a steward of harness racing and it is up to you to make sure it is still around for the next generation.
With yesterday's exciting victory in the Graduate at the Meadowlands, Foiled Again has broken his Meadowlands' jinx and there can be no doubt he is a legitimate FFA horse; he is no longer just that horse that races well on a half mile oval. For sure, he is a monster on the half mile track, but there can be no mistake he can hold his own on the other size ovals. Now granted, some of the other horses were making only their second start of the year, but he has shown he can no longer be disregarded just because he isn't race on the half mile track.
To no one's surprise, Slave Dream won the Arthur J Cutler Memorial at the Meadowlands yesterday as well. I knew that 8-1 morning line was never going to hold up. Yes, he skipped the Cutler prep race the week before but considering he raced the week before and finished third to Define the Wind (who is racing today in the Oslo Grand Prix) and WEG Older Trotter extraordinaire San Pail, there was no doubt in my mind that he was ready for a top effort. This makes Slave Dream a perfect five for five at the Big M.
While Foiled again has joined the exclusive club of legitimate FFA pacers, one most wonder if the clock hit midnight on Lucky Jim as he has broken stride in three straight parimutuel starts and his days as a FFA trotter are coming to an end. Clearly there is something not right with Lucky JIm for him to have broken in all three starts. The first break was attributed to an off going at Chester and Jim not liking the track, but in hindsight, one must wonder now if there was more to it. A top trotter may throw in an occasional break, but not with the frequency he has. If they can't find something obviously wrong with Lucky Jim, it may be time for Julie Miller and her team to start asking the serious questions.
Speaking of the Oslo Grand Prix today, Arch Madness was the winner in a stakes equaling mile rate of 1:55 for the 2140 meter race. Arch Madness, driven by Bjorn Goop, led a strong North American contingent racing there which included Canadian star Define the Wind. and American Bred (and defending champion) Lisa America who has been racing out of Italy The Grand Prix may have been one of the toughest trotting events of the season as you had former Prix d' Amerique winners Russel November and Torvald Palema competing. The Swedish sensation Mahrajah was scratched. This race may turn out to be the best trotting race of the year. Arch Madness and Define the Wind now head to Solvalla for the Elitlopp on May 29. Meanwhile, North American Breeders must be happy as they took three of the top four positions as Lisa America finished second and Define the Wind finished fourth.
By the way, if you noticed, they don't use whips in Norway and the race seemed to be exciting without any whipping. Why people insist that we continue to use whips is beyond me; they are not necessary. People will argue safety, but for how many years now have they not used whips in Norway? If it was a real safety issue, don't you think they would be letting drivers carry whips in the event of an emergency or do they value human life so little over there?
Lastly, Jeff Gural was interviewed last night at the Meadowlands regarding his plans for the facility in the upcoming future. As most suspected, this year will basically be a year of playing out the string; with few changes but come opening day 2012, we can expect some big changes. The one thing we did learn is that the day to day operations of the Meadowlands starting in 2012 will be managed by a to be hired general manager, but the marketing effort will be directed from Nichols, New York. When asked about slots Gural mentioned he was told there should be no expectations of subsidies or slots, though the lease dose have a clause in it in the event a casino is opened, presumably not connected with the track. As I have said it before and I will say it again, to assume slots are coming to the Meadowlands, at least with respect to benefiting horsemen may be a faulty assumption.
For those who missed last night's In the Sulky feature at the Meadowlands last nght, you may watch it below.