Racing Under Saddle fans are in for a doubleheader of racing activity this weekend. On Saturday, Freehold Raceway has a $5,000 RUS Exhibition race on tap which will be contested after the day's regular racing program has concluded as part of Open Space Day. Post time for the race is anticipated to be at 4:15pm. You may wonder why the race is happening after the racing program? There is a concert by Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes taking place afterwards so there will be plenty of people around to see the race.
On Sunday, a $20,000 RUS event occuring after the fifth race, anticipated post time of 2:30pm, will be contested at The Red Mile. This field will feature twelve horses answering the starter's call to provide the largest field thus far competing in a RUS event in North America; all twelve being on the starting gate.
While The Red Mile race was supposed to be the season's finale, Indiana Downs will be scheduling a RUS event on October 6 for an estimated purse of $10,000. It is a good sign that additional tracks have expressed an interest in hosting RUS events, extending the season.
Harness racing in New Brunswick, Canada may be getting a shot in the arm as a result of a joint project between the New Brunswick First Nation Economic Development Corporation and Horse Racing New Brunswick. The two organizations are proposing to build a new racetrack/entertainment center along with an Indian Cultural Center. This new center would be located near St. Johns, and replace the existing Exhibition Park in St. Johns.
Yes, there will be VLTs at the new facility, but there are VLTs at the existing facility at present. The problem is Exhibition Park's grandstand was in such bad shape it was torn down, allowing for less than 40 of the 100 slot machines allocated to it to be deployed. With First Nation getting involved, a new facility will allow more machines to be installed, making up for the direct aid the provincial governemnt had provided in the past but will no longer give; in effect, a win-win situation without introducing additional gaming to the province.
The Illinois Harness Horsemen Association (IHHA) is coming to the rescue of owners who earned purse money this summer at DuQuion and Springfield. Once again, the state government is slow in paying out the purse money owed to the the horsemen who earned purse checks, despite the fact a lot of that money came from the horsemen themselves in the form of stakes payments. The IHHA is paying the purses out of their own reserves, to be reimbursed later by the state. Ah, the beauty of being the government; they can be slow paying money owed but you be late with your taxes and see what they do.
You may be wondering where my selections are for The Red Mile meet. The short answer is there are none. Why? Because quite honestly, I have been stinking up the place of late (one reader had another term for it, changing the middle letters of 'stink'). While the other term may be too severe, I have not been happy with my recent performance. Until I work my way out of my slump, I am going to spare you by not providing my picks.