For photos from the Meadowlands contact

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Closed for the Holiday

Time for a little catching up as I was under the weather last week...

Last Monday was President's Day in the United States so what a perfect opportunity to play the races during the day.  That was fine if you wanted to bet thoroughbred racing but if you were looking for a harness track racing, you were out of luck.  The earliest an American track was racing was Dover Downs and they had a 4:30pm post time.

Is this how far harness racing has fallen that no one wants to race on a holiday afternoon?  Yes, there were more thoroughbred tracks racing on the holiday so it was probably a lot harder to get any interest by racetracks for simulcasting including harness tracks.

Yes, the pools would have been smaller than usual and the tracks likely would have lost money for the day, but how do tracks expect to attract new customers when you give up the holiday matinee where you have the opportunity to attract people when they have the day off?  Granted it was winter time (or supposed to be), but it seems to me an opportunity lost.

Last week the Kentucky Senate defeated a bill which would have authorized a referendum regarding casinos in the state.  No doubt lobbying from casinos in surrounding states contributed to the bills defeat, but what really perturbed me is the arguments from legislators regarding the morality of casino gambling.  The arguments being used remind me of arguments used when they imposed Prohibition in the United States.  Do they think not allowing for casinos in Kentucky is going to stop Kentuckyians from crossing the state's borders to gamble out of state?  I am no fan of casino gambling or slot machines, but don't try to enforce your morality on other people.  The senators should have allowed the citizens of Kentucky to vote on the referendum.

The Meadowlands experiment with the 1 1/2 mile race series didn't pan out as the final for the $7,500 claimers didn't fill for a few weeks, including the final.  The reason cited was one horse dominated the series that horses wouldn't drop in.  Perhaps that was the case, but racing can't survive if we continue racing just mile contests.  Hopefully the Meadowlands will give it a try again later in the meet.

Nominations close on March 1st for the George Morton Levy Memorial and the Blue Chip Matchmaker this week (March 1st).  The Levy is my favorite series as it is lengthy series (six weeks, including the final) featuring top horses instead of most of these short series for overnight horses.  For me, the 2012 racing season begins with the first week of the Levy.  Remember in 2011, Pacer of the Year Foiled Again competed in the Levy. 

Help Heather Moffett Freeze - Harness racing's own Heather Moffett is currently attempting a publicity stunt in order to raise funds for Wells For Ghana, an organization attempting to drill wells in Ghana so those who live there can get fresh water.  If enough people pledge so she has $5,000 in pledges Heather, along with horse owner Susan Ehlers will be taking a "Polar Mare Plunge" into the lake on her family's farm. If you wish to help Heather freeze, visit her website for additional information.


Jim H. said...

If you have a chance, please take a look at the 3rd race at M1 on Feb 25; specifically the #1 horse (who happened to adorn both halves of my exacta play). I have followed your blogs that intelligently detail what's right and what's wrong with harness racing along with what needs to be done to grow the sport.

Don't you think that something might have been done to scratch this horse? Something doesn't seem right.

I felt like I was having a Life at Ten moment...

Pacingguy said...


That is because you did have a Life at Ten moment. This has been one topic which has irked me for years; the lack of a fair start rule. If this race was in Canada, you would have gotten your money back. Here in the United States, you get the shaft. Doesn't it make you want to give up the horses?

Years ago when they modified the recall rule, they didn't want to institute a fair start rule because tracks and horsemen didn't want to refund the money if the horse was scratched. So instead they just shaft the betting public.

In NJ, one such petition on the fair start rule was considered and it was then decided it neeed to be modified some more. Well, when it comes to this type of rule, they move shall we say, slow?

If you go to the search bar and look up Fair Start Rule you will see a slew of columns I wrote on this.

At this time, all i can suggest is sending an email to the NJRC on their website and voice your opinion on this matter. Maybe if enough people complain, they will move faster.

The link for this is at:

Jim H. said...

Thanks; I sent a message

Pacingguy said...


Please let us know if you get a response.

Jim H. said...

I received the following:

Dear Mr. H:

This will acknowledge receipt of your e-mail concerning the No. 1 horse in the third race on February 25, 2012 conducted at the Meadowlands Racetrack.

I have forwarded your inquiry to the Board of Judges and asked that they file a report with me concerning this race. After I have received a copy of their findings, I will again contact you.


Frank Zanzuccki
Executive Director