Not a Good Way to Start a Meet - The first dispute between the SBOANJ and Freehold Raceway has broken out and resulted in the cancellation of qualifiers as they prepare for their August 30 opening. The SBOANJ claims they told management they had concerns about the track's condition and wanted to discuss them after the day's qualifiers. Freehold claims they received a letter from the SBOANJ's lawyer the day before questioning the safety of the track which resulted in them to cancel qualifiers and had no other advance notice. I have no way to know which version is true, I suspect it is somewhere between to two explanations.
If there is a problem with the track, fix it. Complaining about the surface the day before or day of qualifiers is not the time to bring up your issues. In the meanwhile, horsemen who were looking to qualify so they could drop in the box for opening day may be out of luck. There are few racing opportunities for New Jersey horsemen the way things are, making horsemen potentially lose the opportunity to race even one day due to a squabble like this is unacceptable.
Rule Changing Can Take Forever - Back in May of 2011, a status update on the proposed Fair Start rule for NJ was back in the hands of staff members to make revisions to the original proposal. So far, fifteen months later, it has not yet seen its way back for public comment or consideration. It is amazing how some rule changes get made quickly while others which benefit the public can take much longer. Coincidence? I think not.
In the Good Ol' Days - Racing commissions used to deny licenses to tracks whose facilities were not up to standard. When was the last time they took a look at some of the dilapidated public areas dedicated for racing fans at a racino and threatened their license which would impact their ability to operate their slot machines? Don't bother looking because they don't.
Gural Honored - Jeff Gural has been elected to the LBJ Wall of Fame this year. Odds are half of those reading this blog are not very happy about Gural's receiving this honor, but then there is a good chance you are upset he gets any honor; this is how divisive an individual he is. In an industry which fights change it must mean he is accomplishing something.
Pinto Anyone? If you are heading to Delaware for the Blooded Horse Mixed Sale next week, take a look at Hip 109, Softy's Lightning a son of Softy's Smarty (T, 9 1:56.2f, $318,401) and Fancy Starlark by Lark's Crown (8 1:57.4h). You don't get too many standardbreds listed as pinto colored in North America, but here is one. You can see a picture of the yearling here. The second dam is Sunny's Seyko whose breeding is not proven but according to the owner's statement, this yearling has a 'shot of paint'. Being this horse is Ohio Eligible, it will be interesting to see what he fetches.
Another Barn Fire - This time in Australia. Like up here in the States, will anyone make it mandatory to install fire suppression systems (sprinklers) in racetrack or public training facilities?
Love Standardbreds? The National Standardbred Horse Show is scheduled for September 9 at the Horse Park of New Jersey and is sponsored by the SPHO-NJ and the SBOANJ. If you have never attended it, you should make an effort to attend this year. It is a great time.