It was an exciting night of racing at Mohawk last night in the big four states races, plus the Invitational held at Mohawk. I was very impressed with the return of Won The West to the winner's circle by taking the Invitational in a Canadian record of 1:47.2. Now, I knew last week in The Bettors Delight he had no chance in the overflow field but he raced incredibly well at Mohawk last night. Someone asked me is the same horse we saw earlier this year? We need to remember as they get older, it is harder to get them back to peak form.
I must confess despite the win, I expect WTW to have a tougher time in the States racing against true FFA caliber horses. Not to say he will not win races, but I do believe he will not be racing as well as he has and won't be surprised if he retires after this year.
What is there to say about See You at Peelers who won the Fan Hanover? As I suspected, last night may have been the night for Krispy Apples to unseat the undefeated filly, but being unchallenged the first half a mile definitely gave Peeler's the ability to hold off Krispy Apples when challenged in the stretch. I do believe if anyone is going to beat Peelers this year it will be Krsipy Apples..This year, watching the three year old fillies may be the exciting division.
Last but not least, we must take a look at the North American Cup which was won by Up the Credit in 1:49.3. This is a division which is going to be wide open with the boys beating each other up week after week. As for early season favorite Big Jim and his new strategy? I think we will see him in the winner's circle later. It is kind of tough in a race like this to change racing strategy for the first time, but even though the first few steps where he pulled he got a little steppy, he came flying late. Once they get the timing right he will be winning his share of races. No, it may not be a year of domination by the boys, but I think this division will offer good betting propositions all year long..
Lest we think only harness racing tracks are running into problems, we bring you stories regarding two smaller thoroughbred tracks, Yavapai Downs in Prescott Arizona which has closed and Fair Meadows, a small track which is threatened with closure in Tulsa, OK. What do both of these tracks have in common, they are run by fair organizations, where racing is only part of what occurs at those tracks.
Fair Meadows was paid $2 million a year by Indian tribes in lieu of slot machines and is a throw back to tracks of the past; closed concession booths, old televisions which are unclear, and rusting facilities. The problem at Fair Meadows is the $2 million dollars are spent on the entire facility and not jut the track Yavapai Down's problems came from a desire of the fair wanting to move to a larger facility where they can build a larger grandstand; something racing did not need, resulting in mortgage payments which could not be supported by the racetrack. Reading the two stories is worth doing, as we have many harness tracks which could find themselves in similar problems. Already Lebanon Raceway is looking for a new location as the county where Lebanon runs their races will not allow slots at the facility. Any move of harness fair tracks needs to be done smartly.