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Sunday, November 11, 2012

Millionaire Shmillionaire

A funny thing happened at Yonkers Raceway.  While the races didn't get overfilled to require elimination heats, two stakes races (The Messenger, The Lady Maud) actually drew enough horses to not only go on the regular wagering card, but to offer the full menu of wagering options.  This is a big change from the recent trend of having races go with five or fewer horses and possibly being forced to go before the regular wagering card.

In The $415,820 Messenger, the final jewel of the current Pacing Triple Crown, Bolt the Duer was victorious in a two hole trip, outpacing Pet Rock to win in 1:51.2.  The 1:51.2 was a stakes record for those editions contested at Yonkers Raceway. 

Some media sources will indicate the victory in the Messenger makes Bolt the Duer the latest millionaire in harness racing.  Quite honestly, I don't understand what the fuss is about the million dollar plateau.  Let's not kid ourselves, with slot revenue, becoming a millionaire is like pacing a 1:54 mile; it's not that big a deal.  Earning two million dollars should be the new standard when it comes to earning purse money.

Earlier in the card, Bettor B Lucky also took the two hole trip to win the $229,400 Lady Maud at Yonkers in a stakes and track record 1:52.1.  Unlike the Messenger, Bettor B Lucky didn't take advantage of the passing lane and closed on the outside to just take down the winner's share of the purse in a blanket finish. 

What was impresive of Bettor By Lucky's victory is the fact the filly was on the sidelines with atrial fibrulation and hadn't races in six weeks, taking advantage of the 45 day rule to race.  The filly had every reason to be short, but the Burke stable had the daughter of Bettor's Delight ready for her first start back.

Last night at Balmoral Park, American Jewel, Chapter Seven, Market Share, and Maven were all victorious in the American Nationals.  For those interested, check out this story for further details.

Dover Downs has prep and eliminations races for the Matron and Progress stakes on this evening's racing card. First race is 5:30pm.  For those races with more than eight horses, you can consider them eliminations if eliminating one horse from the final has any meaning to you.

The Ontario Racing Commission is beginning the process of assigning race date based on this year's racing calendar.  Initially, their goal will be to get racing dates finalized for the period of January 1 - March 31, 2013 as funding from slots will still be available.  The fun part will come in determining the calendar for the rest of the racing year in Ontario.

Stakes season winds down at Western Fair District with the $200,000 Forest City Pace for mares taking place on Saturday, November 17.

The New York Times has a photo essay by Victor J. Blue of his grandfather, standardbred trainer Dick Taylor, who still breeds and trains horses at the age of 84 in Indiana.  This is one of the great things in standardbred racing, those individuals who were raised on horses and continue toiling in the industry their entire life as it is part of their destiny.  It is true what they say, once you got horses in your blood, there is no escaping them.


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