Here's an intersting article on harness racing in Sweden. It seems everyone knows something about the sport. Obviously, they are doing something right and we are doing it wrong. Meanwhile, Equidaily reports on a fight between harness and thoroughbred horsemen that may end the running of thoroughbred racing at Jargeso, where thorougbred racing has been conducted over one hundred years, threatening the racing of the Swedish Derby.
Do we need to make racing more fairer to novices? Drivers have their own sulkys, the new sulky of the month is the hotest thing in town, so if you change drivers you may be racing with a different sulky. I knew one trainer that switched to an open briddle when he was ready to bet and then went back to a different briddle. Changing hopple lengths, shoes, head poles, etc. A lot more potential equipment changes on a standardbred than a thoroughbred.
In Greyhound racing, the dog has to establish a racing weight before the meet begins. More than two pounds different, the dog is scratched. Maybe we need to do something when trainers make changes. First of all, let the owner or trainer supply the sulky, not the driver. Have a harness horse have a standard equipment configuration.(Last stsart of previous year or for first time starter, the way it races) Any time a horse's standard configuration changes, make the horse qualify and in the comment line list what what was changed. Want to change sulky types? You need to qualify. Want to change briddle typess? Qualify. Want to change the length of the hopples more than two inches, from the stated length? Qualify. Only slight changes in hopple lengths and shoes which are often weather or track dependent would be exempt. This way, a horse player at least gets and idea of how the horse races with equipment change(s). This protects the beginner gamblers and with the need to qualify when making changes, having to qualify, there are less chances for trainers to play games. Would it work? Maybe we would be less surprsied with four second changes in races.)