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Friday, November 4, 2011

Snowgate Part II

Today's edition of Harness Racing Update has it's version of 'Point - Counterpoint' (If you recall that segment on 60 minutes, you are older than you care to admit; that includes me.), where Andrew Cohen and Bill Finley take diametrically opposed views toward the missing drivers at the Breeders Crown this year.  Andrew Cohen was clearly annoyed that the drivers missed the races, while Finley was taking a more 'give them a break' approach.  Of those who voted in my unscientific poll, 68% of you are ready to drill Tetrick, Brennan, Gingras, and David Miller a new one.

I was one of those that took a give them break attitude initially in my column, basically echoing Finley's opinion that this was a once in a lifetime storm (though with changing weather patterns, it may be occurring more often).  Why did some of them go home from Vernon Downs instead of heading to Toronto?  Perhaps there were family issues we are not aware of (and they are none of our business).  Assuming there were no family issues involved, clearly they made a bonehead move, except for Brennan who drove at Yonkers the night before (like it or not, walking away from Yonkers with the performance he has there would have been an expensive proposition).

First of all, let me go on record, that this was not a case of the drivers disrespecting the gambler; while in retrospect they made the wrong mistake, it doesn't typically snow on October 29 in the NY/NJ metro area and originally along the shore it was to rain.  In fact, anything south of New Hampshire doesn't see snow that early.  Should all those driver changes happen, absolutely not, but when a freak storm happens, what are you going to do?

Now making peace with your owners and trainers may be a different story; I am sure before the races the owners had the surgical equipment (likely not sterilized) ready to drill them a new one.  Regardless of the outcome of the races, if I was those owners and trainers, I would think twice before I trusted these drivers with any future potential champions and select drivers who appear to have more common sense and don't leave you hanging dry on the most important night of the standardbred calendar.

The question to be discussed now is what can be done in the event climate change makes these types of occurrences more frequent.  First of all, I would have a 24 hour moratorium on stakes races at other tracks; this means there would have not been the Kindergarten Classic final the night before at Vernon Downs.  Secondly, perhaps the Breeders Crown needs to be a two day event; either allow the ten highest money winners race in the final on Saturday and have consolation races on Friday night.  Or schedule an event like a Claiming Crown series the night before at the host track which would make it worthwhile for the drivers to show up a day ahead of time.

The one thing I do know is it is time to let this subject rest.  I suspect any punishments the owners or trainers have decided upon have already been meted out.  There is no sense in continuing the conversation any further.

New Meadowlands Racetrack Begins Einvornmental Impact Hearings - The first of two preliminary hearings on the environmental impact of the new Meadowlands grandstand has been held  amd as part of the introduction, a description of the new facility.  It sounds like it would be a to be part of the action.  At the second session, a teller complained that the project plans don't seem to show much space for tellers to work.  From the environmentalists, there was no complaints about the builing, which considering the space is 25% the size of the existing building, makes sense,  All I know is that unless the judge hearing the tellers lawsuit against their own union sides with the executive board, these tellers are going to make things uncomfortable; perhaps leading to a lockout once their current contract expires.

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