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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Sign of the Times

In New Jersey, the 30 day qualifying rule is going the way of the dodo bird.  Up to now, stakes horses were allowed up to 45 days between starts before having to re-qualify (something I don't agree with), but overnight horses were still subjected to the 30 day rule.  But now, the NJRC has passed an emergency rule to allow a 45 day rule for overnight horses through the end of the year and are looking to pass a permanent rule to allow the 45 day rule to become the norm in New Jersey.

This is due to the limited racing schedule in New Jersey and with limited racing, there are only so many races you can get in each week.  Hence, the possibility of going two or three weeks between starts is possible.  If you decide not to enter the week after you race which is more likely with cheaper horses, a horse can find itself on the wrong side of the 30 day rule.

Ironic, with the Meadowlands having been known to have problems to fill their races, the need to go to the 45 day rule for overnight horses exists.  However, this rule change is more in anticipation for the upcoming Freehold race meet.  Still you may ask with the other tracks having problems getting full fields, why can't these horses get raced?  There is no problem in getting the better horses raced, the problem has always been with the cheaper classes.  The sad fact is with racinos all around New Jersey, Freehold is going to be the local home for cheaper racing stock from New Jersey and surrounding states.  Like it or not, it is part of the changing face of standardbred racing in  New Jersey; it does not bode well for Freehold with respect to handle.  It is not a question of racing stock becoming cheaper at Freehold; it is a question of how low does it go.


Jim H. said...

There seems to be a presumption that the Qualifying Rules (who,what,when,where,why, etc.) are generally known to harness racing aficionados; I can tell you quite directly, I have no clue.

I am really sure that I am not alone.

Is there any understandable source that one can reference to learn the ins/outs of Qualifying?


Pacingguy said...

Racing programs usually explain them. Basically, a qualifying race must show a horse can meet the time standards for the meet without showing a break.

Here is the segment of the UTSA rule book regarding qualifying races. This may help explain things.

§ 2. Qualifying Races.—At all extended pari-mutuel meetings declarations
for overnight events shall be governed by the following:
(a) Within 30 days of being declared in, a horse that has not raced previously
at the gait chosen must go a qualifying race under the supervision of a
Judge holding a Presiding or Associate Judge’s license for pari-mutuel meetings
and acquire at least one charted line by a licensed charter. In order to
provide complete and accurate chart information on time and beaten lengths, a standard
photo-finish shall be in use.
(b) A horse that does not show a charted line for the previous season, or a charted
line within its last six starts, must go a qualifying race as set forth in (a). Uncharted
races contested in heats or more than one dash and consolidated according to (d) will
be considered one start.
(c) When a horse has raced at a charted meeting during the current season, then
gone to meetings where the races are not charted, the information from the uncharted
races may be summarized, including each start, and consolidated in favor of charted
lines and the requirements of Section (b) would then not apply.
The consolidated line shall carry date, place, time, driver, finish, track
condition and distance if race is not at one mile.
(d) The Judges may require any horse that has been on the Steward’s List to go
a qualifying race. If a horse has raced in individual time not meeting the qualifying
standards for that class of horse, he may be required to go a qualifying race.
(e) The Judges may permit a fast horse to qualify by means of a timed
workout consistent with the time of the races in which he will compete in the event
adequate competition is not available for a qualifying race.
(f) To enable a horse to qualify, qualifying races should be held at least 1 full
week prior to the opening of any meeting that opens before July 1st of a season and
shall be scheduled at least twice a week. Qualifying races shall also be scheduled
twice a week during the meeting.
(g) Where a race is conducted for the purpose of qualifying drivers and not horses,
the race need not be charted, timed or recorded. This section is not applicable to
races qualifying both drivers and horses.
(h) If a horse takes a win race record in either a qualifying race or a matinee race,
such record must be prefaced with the letter “Q” wherever it appears, except in a
case where, immediately prior to or following the race, the horse taking the record
has been submitted to an approved urine, saliva or blood test. It will be the responsibility
of the Presiding Judge to report the test on the Judges’ Sheet.

Jim H. said...

Thank you...this really helps.

Are there any strategies associated with qualifying?

I'm sure there are and I'm sure that any explanation would exceed the limits of your comment area. I guess what I'm looking for is some general rule of thumb type strategies that a trainer might use that would stand out to handicappers when evaluating a race.

Pacingguy said...

I would suggest purchasing a book on handicapping or visiting some handicapping chat boards.

In the old days, you used to want to see a horse race after a qualifier as they tended not to be tight and would need to race into condition. However, these days, at least at some of the better tracks, you will see horses winning off a qualifier. I still tend to follow this rule though there are times I get bit by those who win off a qualifier. Of course, those who race in more than one qualifier that meet the qualifying time each race can get tight enough there.

Jim H. said...

Any research I've done re: qualifiers has not revealed any in depth information; most is just cursory stuff. It is helpful but has its limit to its usefulness.

My experience mirrors yours--sometimes I get lucky, most times I don't.

What I am looking for is inside material known to those in the inner sanctum of which I am not a member.

Pacingguy said...

Jim, neither am I. The only thing I can suggest is watching the tote board.