One has to wonder with the world of racing changing in Ontario, why are they not cutting purses to take some of their purse account and bank it for next year to soften the blow the government is intent on delivering the industry? No way the purses or racing dates will be the same next year but if the projection is purses will be cut 60% after March, 2013, cutting purses 20% the balance of this year will at least soften the blow for next year, perhaps giving the industry another year to get its house in order. Tracks which have already announced they will be closing may continue to race at current purse levels, drawing their purse account to zero, but it seems irresponsible to do it for those tracks intent on continuing racing.
But there are different opinions on this and Cangamble is a blogger who feels the OLG decision is not final (I disagree). However, assuming it is, he has ideas on how racing can compete and it involes using the $50 million transition aid package to develop software to develop a Canadian answer to the V75.
Why am I so high on Jeff Gural? For the same reasons Dean Hoffman likes what Gural is doing. Yes, it is not the way things have always been done but guess what? What we have always done is not working and it seems most of the industry can't get off their arse to change. I may be wrong, but I envision what comes out of the Meadowlands in the next four years will serve the model for successful racing in the future. Those who don't like it will either be dragged along kicking and screaming or they will fall to the wayside.
Churchill Downs is changing the way fields are determined for the Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby starting in 2013. Points will be awarded based on how a horse finishes in 36 races leading up to the Kentucky Derby starting in the 2yo season. The idea for the change is to build up more interest for the Derby by having a road to the Kentucky Derby.
Could something like this work for harness racing? It could, but it likely won't happen anytime soon. Just the same, there is no reason our major stakes can't institute a way to determine fields as done in the Battle of the Brandywine, be it points earned in races or money earned. Elimination races are a blight on our sport.
My selections for the stakes on Mohawk's Pepsi North America Cup card are available here.
For those late nighters, here are my selections for Cal Expo's Saturday night Late Pick 4 featuring at 15% take out and a $20,000 guarantee with a must payout situation. These races (and possibly a few races earlier) will be shown on TVG. As you may know, this is the end of the Cal Expo spring meet and it may be a while until racing resumes in the Golden State, if at all. Actually, things are looking pretty good for racing to continue at Cal Expo as negotiations with European Wagering Services has been moving along . While a deal could fall through, Cal Expo management is keeping the backstretch open as they feel a deal will get done. One thing is for sure, it appears racing will not resume on August 24 as it was supposed to as the new operator needs to get licensed and apply for race dates once a deal is done. The big question is when does racing resume and how many California horsemen are going to be around when harness racing resumes?
Anyway, here are my picks (listed in order of preference):
9th Race - 7, 2, 4, 3
10th Race - 2, 6, 7, 4
11th Race - 5, 6, 9, 1
12th Race - 6, 8, 9, 1