Saturday, June 30, 2012
A Pat on the Back (and a Healthy Dose of Self-Denial)
The SOA of New York has issued a press release promoting the second to none overnight program Yonkers Raceway has. I can't help but notice only a fleeting mention of their stakes program and no mention of their late closing series. The stakes program, while offering nice size purses are poorly received by horsemen, mostly due to the expensive payment schedules involved in getting to the starting gate, so the track ends up carding short fields, some requiring to be scheduled as non-wagering events. Yonkers management has finally heard the complaints by many who say it is too expensive to race in the stakes races at Yonkers, and are laying down the gauntlet to horsemen next year by cutting sustaining fees in half for the Yonkers and Hudson Filly Trots as well as reduce the starting fees to challenge horsemen complaining about the payments to enter.
As for their late closing series, by the end of April their late closing schedule has concluded for the year as there is only one late closing event for green (Sagamore Hill) horses and (Petticoat) fillies, followed by the Levy Memorial (Matchmaker) series for FFA (mostly winter FFA) horses.
That being said, I have no problem with anyone tooting their own horn and as a fan of half mile track racing, I would be following Yonkers' racing much more if they moved their starting line back close to its original location, but the real reason I bring up the SOA's press release is it exemplifies the self-denial racino horsemen are going through. First of all, wouldn't you think with a self-described ‘second to none’ overnight program, their handle should also be 'second to none'? Of course, this is not the case. A strong overnight program with marginal wagering (compared to a couple other tracks) is an example of an artificially propped up racing program which suggests all is not well in the racing industry. But like horsemen all over, not just the SOA of NY, it’s the purses which matter.
The SOA of New York in their press release does bring up a very important item of concern, in particular, how the NYSRWB has decided in a cost-savings move to no longer do post-racing drug testing of claimed horses. Without the knowledge of knowing your horse is definitely going to be tested if claimed, some unscrupulous trainers may decide to ‘assist’ a horse get through a race, hoping to get him/her claimed away. A successful claiming system requires the potential purchaser to know the horse being raced is what they are buying, not a chemically-supported fake who immediately falls apart after the claim.