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Monday, March 12, 2012

Monday Morning Shorts

Jay Bergman, in his DRF column, talks about how the Meadowlands 3yo events are not drawing the nominations it has before.  Bergman attributes this to a demand of horsemen for guaranteed purses instead of estimated.  One example is the Meadowlands Pace with its $800,000 estimated purse which with only forty-two horses making a payment, put this already reduced amount in jeopardy.  Of course, when horsemen don't nominate to these races it becomes a self-fullfilling prophecy.  If there is any good news, it comes with the two year old stakes which seem to be doing much better with respect to nominations.  This seems to confirm what I suspected before this meet began, the Meadowlands becoming the proving grounds for young horses; similar to what Vernon Downs was known for in the 1970s and 1980s; quality but young. 

I know there were some people questioning the wisdom of hiring Peter Koch away from Freehold as the racing secretary.  Those doubters have been silenced.  Considering Koch does not have the luxury of dusting off the same racing calendar from the prior year and adjustingn dates, he has been doing a very good job of altering the racing calendar as the year goes on based on what works and what doesn't.

New Jersey Assemblyman Ronald Dancer has proposed legislation in New Jersey to ban the slaughter and selling of horsemeat for human consumption in the State of New Jersey.  This bill will prohibit the opening of any slaughterhouses in the state; not that I am sure someone was planning to open one in the Garden State.  That being said, it sends a message that proponents of horse slaughter need to look elsewehre. 

Those that don't follow the racing in Canada may be interested in a horse by the name of Laneside Lexus, an eight year old Hopping High-Goldilocks pacing mare.  If this horse doesn't sound familiar, it may have to do with the fact that prior to this year, she was racing in the United Kingdom.  Now 4 for 4 in Canada, including two wins in the Open handicap for fillies and mares.

Not that Laneside Lexus didn't deserve the chance to tackle North American horses.  A winner of 23 of 46 starts in the United Kingdom with earnings of £32,842 (US$51,823) and a mark of 1:56 both on dirt and turf courses on the British Harness Racing Club circuit, Laneside Lexus deserved the opportunity to race against North American competition.  With the Grand Circuit horsess gearing up for their 2012 campaign, it will be interesting to see how she stacks up aginst the best North America has to offer.  

It looks like the Quebec Jockey Club has found a future home at the Hippodrome de Trois-Rivières by reaching an agreement in principle to take over the track.  They had been racing at Hippodrome de Quebec but they need to vacate those premises as of May 2.  While still attempting to resurrect the sport in Quebec to the level it once was, having a place they can call their own is a big step forward.

In a couple of years, people may not recognize Monmouth Park as the NJTHA is planning on a major redevelopment of the racetrack property to make it an entertainment destination.  Movie theatres, a waterpark and a broadwalk are all things planned for the 320 acre facility.  This is what racing needs to do as a racetrack alone will not draw the attendance to the tracks.  Adding ancilliary entertainment attractions is the way to go.    Now the Meadowlands doesn't have 320 acres to work with, but I expect down the road some alternate entertainment options will be offered.

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