For photos from the Meadowlands contact

Sunday, September 9, 2012

You Be The Judge

You be the judge.   In yesterday's Lou Babic stakes at Freehold, Certified Ideal (#7) finished second but was placed 7th due to interfering with (#8) True Reflection in the first turn. To me, I think the judges made the right call but some others are claiming he should have remained up claiming (#5) Campanile Hanover (3rd placed 2nd) blew the first turn forcing True Reflection to interfere Here is the replay of the race, what do you think? Unfortunately, you need to make the decision without the benefit of a patrol camera.

You Be The Judge Part II - In last night's first race at Mohawk, Monte Crisco (#9) was placed first as Lifeoftheoldboy (#5) drifted out and put a wheel under Monte Crisco and was disqualified and placed second.  This permitted gamblers to cash in on a 25-1 long shot.  Fortunately, Mohawk provides the patrol camera view in the replay.  See if you come up with a different opinion.

Actually, I am more shocked how Monte Crisco managed to get free to challenge at the wire.  After being locked in coming into the stretch, it seemed it would take a miracle for Monte Crisco to cut loose and a miracle it was.    

How bad is the breeding business?  After the entry box was opened at Vernon Downs,  the track told the trainer of Don't Ya Know to keep the horse in the barn and they would send the connections a check for $38,000 not to come and race.  Apparently, Don't Ya Know was the only 2yo colt or gelding to enter the Historic Stakes race which was scheduled for Friday.  The number of people buying yearlings has gotten so small that fewer and fewer horses are being foaled each year; demand for yearlings is so poor that breeders can't cover their expenses which means farms go out of business thus reducing future yearling crops and contributes to the lack of horses entering stakes races. 

The only way you can increase demand for yearlings is to make the reward significantly greater for those buying yearlings instead of buying the ready-to-race horse.  Purses at slot tracks are too high for seasoned overnight horses.  Purses for younger horses need to increase significantly.

Standardbred Canada has an article regarding an ad campaign in our local media market the ad campaign New York racinos is running to coincide with the start of the school year, building good will in their effort to gain table games as well as keep alternate gaming options restricted to racetracks and Indian Casinos.  You may wonder why they are advertising now?  After all, before table games can come to New York, the legislature must approve a bill allowing a referendum for a second time early in 2013 and then have voters approve the referendum at election time.  The racetracks understand the time to build good will is before you need it.

I must confess, I don't understand all which is going on in Ontario regarding the funding of racing.  I thought the proposal included in the OMAFRA Interim Report which calls for the government to subsidize racing with appropriate benchmarks while ending the Slots At Racetracks proposal was a reasonable compromise which the racing industry should be getting behind in order to get the government to commit to a workable subsidy amount.  Instead, you still see people trying to get the Slots at Racetracks program back presumably without any performance benchmarks.  To someone like me, south of the border, it seems insisting the government continue with the Slots at Racetracks program is barking up the wrong tree.  That ship has sailed, it isn't coming back.  But then perhaps if you have a sense of entitlement, this is what one does.  Meanwhile, the Toronto Sun says the death of horse racing is likely exaggerated and claims the government has forced a reset to take place.

In the meanwhile, harness racing has returned to the newly renamed Hippodrome 3r (formerly Trois Rivieres), the new home for harness racing in the province of Quebec.  Some fields were short and the pools were small ($86,811 for the eleven race card) but racing was back.  There was even a $130.00 win mutuel on the card.  But make no mistake, it was nice to see drivers with the names such as Belanger, Filion, Gendron, Hebert, and Simard back in the bike in their home province.  Make no mistake, it will be a long time before racing in La Belle Province gets back to the level it once was, but back it is in its own home.

On the other side of the pond, Ready Cash won yesterday at Vincennes in the 2012 Summer Prize stakes in 3:25.24 (a kilometer rate of 1:12.0) for the 2,850 meter contest using a standing start.  Just as significant was the face Rapide Lebel finished seventh in the tilt with a kilometer rate of 1:12.8.

In today's Harness Racing Update, Bill Finley indirectly paid harness racing a backhanded compliment by declaring no one fixes harness races anymore. This would be a great thing to declare to the cynics and the general public except according to Finley, the reason why no one bothers to fix races is there is not enough money wagered; it is not lucrative to fix a race, certainly not when you consider the risk-reward ratio. Of course, this is not to say some trainers don't pre-treat in order to increase their chances to win a purse.

Why don't people wager on harness racing? Those race fixing scandals of the 1970s and 80s have taken their toll on the sport because the damage from those early scandals have left their mark on the psyche of the wagering public; once earned, it is hard to shake a reputation.

1 comment:

JLB said...

No doubt in my mind that the favorite at Mohawk was rightfully DQ'd, coming out late from the 2-path to the 4-path. Don't know if Sylvain Filion, with a five-length lead, fell asleep at the wheel, or if he was having some steering issues. Either way,the DQ was justified.
As to Freehold, I don;t think the '5' drifted much in the first turn-maybe half a path at most-thus I think the DQ of the '7' was a correct call. I think judges may make some allowance for the greenness of young horses; thus they may have felt that the '5'horse's slight running out was excusable. The interference by the '7', by contrast, was not.