Herve Filion will be driving this Sunday at Rideau Carleton Raceway. Now, let me go on record and say I respect Herve and his driving achievements but enough is enough. His racing at Rideau is a farce. How active is Herve in the sulky these days? He drove in eleven races in 2010, one race in 2011, and one race thus far in 2012. Will the people wagering at Rideau know how infrequently he has been driving?
There is certainly no problem in honoring Herve by having a day in his honor at Rideau Carleton and have him sign autographs and have a meet and greet. But to have him racing as if time hasn't passed him by (being his last year of 'active' driving was 2009 where Filion drove in one hundred and fifteen drives), is perpetuating a fraud on the public. We tell people driving horses is a very atheltic thing to do and how they should be treated like athletes and here we have someone who hasn't been driving for all practical purposes three years getting behind a horse and driving like nothing has changed? If they want to have Herve driving, then either have a non-wagering event or bar his horse(s) from wagering.
But this brings us to another point, what do we do about rusty drivers of any age? I would suggest any driver that hasn't raced in at least twenty-five pari-mutuel starts each year should be required to race in a minimum of ten qualifiers before racing for the year; just to get the drive up to speed and to make sure the driver doesn't present himself as a danger to himself or others.
Tioga Downs announced their seasonal results. Their on-track handle increased 2.5% while their export handle increased 3%. When you show positive results it is always a good thing. However, if the local market can't get handles generated enough to interest most heavy hitters, it may be necessary to cut the takeout rate one more time to get the simulcast gamblers to open their pockets fuller.
Construction of the New Meadowlands grandstand is underway. The first photos may be found here. Opening night for the 2013 meet, the final one in the old building is scheduled for the weekend of December 28-29, pending NJRC approval.
HANA Harness' The Pen vs. The Chip Handicapping Challenge is covering the entire Grand Circuit meet at The Red Mile. You can get the selections at this website.
Meet the new organization responsible for RUS (monté) racing in the United States, its working name is Monte America and they have a new website which is still being worked on but it is available for viewing purposes.
Speaking of monté racing, twelve horses will answer the starter on Sunday afternoon at The Red Mile for a $20,000 Open RUS race. The race will be non-wagering and will go off between the fifth and sixth races.