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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Tuesday Miscellanery

Over in the thoroughbred world, the New York Times has printed another article on the use of drugs in horse racing, in particular on Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner I'll Have Another who was treated for his ailments in the run up to the Belmont Stakes (which he was scratched out of). Many in racing find the article to be another one of those hatchet jobs against racing; after all don't human athletes get treated for their ailments in order for them to compete? While this is true, to the average person there is a big difference between a person who has the option to take medications or not and a horse who has no choice. Racing needs to understand when it comes to animal rights, Americans are for them as long as it doesn't impact what is on their dinner plate. While the use of valid therapeutic medications has its place, racing needs to address things the general public finds offensive which can be controlled such as the use of medications which don't have a legitimate therapeutic purpose as well as whipping (all breeds).

It's no secret since stakes season has begun drivers are heading elsewhere for the big money events and as a result, wagering on the Meadowlands races has declined somewhat. It is also no secret Meadowlands operator Jeff Gural has been asking all along for drivers and others to support the Meadowlands, but it is clear everyone is out for number one. To be perfectly honest, it would be unrealistic to ask drivers to miss out on big money events, but I don't think it is beyond reason to ask drivers to forgo events like sires stakes raced elsewhere.

Harness Driver Leo Burns has broken his own record by winning a race at the age of 97 years old, winning with his trainee Winsome Wyoming at the Wayne County Fairgrounds on Monday night in 2:07.1. The fact he won another race isn't even the real story; it is that Burns is still able to compete at all in a sport where you need to be able to think quickly and have the reflexes to drive a horse.

Wouldn't it be great to see Mr. Burns on a late night talk show? Not only would it be getting harness racing some publicity, but for a society which emphasizes youth, it would be great to show how our senior citizens are still able to compete and do things. Age is just a number.

1 comment:

JLB said...

A notable accomplishment for Mr. Burns. Harness aficionados might recognize that Carl Becker, interviewed about the subject, has had a long and distinguished career as an announcer (and pedigree reader at auctions). He was the voice of the Grand Circuit at the Red Mile and other stops throughout the Midwest for many years, and his son, Curt, has followed in his path, announcing at Keeneland and other venues. Both are top-notch. So, not just training and driving can be a multi-generational pursuit.