In Sunday's Harness Racing Update, Dean Powers write about a fictional holiday cocktail party. While written in a tongue-in-cheek fashion, most of what is written is based on truth, though I think Towers is overly optimistic regarding Governor Christie and slots (at least for this year). But heck, it's Christmas time. If you can't dream.........
Two hundered and forty horses dropped in the box for opening night at the Meadowlands where classified racing makes it debut. As a result, there will be twelve races with full fields including one contest which features twelve contestants. While the FFA trotting class didn't fill, all the other races filled on their own without needing to resort to mixed class handicaps. Wondering what class your favorite horse has been assigned? You can see the opening week's classifications here.
For those planning on attending the Prix d' Amérique this year, here is a list of horses consigned to the sale being conducted there.
Also in HRU, Jeff Gural addresses several issues, including the innuendo from the prior week that Gural would treat the Linda Toscano situation differently out of favoritism. His response (page six) should address that question but in this industry, people will believe what they want to, regardless of the facts.
In his response, Gural talks about post time delays and the lack of grading races, freely admitting the Meadowlands delays post times because they live on handle and their large players have told them they don't bet until zero minutes to post. He also mentions there is no interest within racing to grade races though he feels it should be done.
The industry may feel grading races is the least of their problems but if people left their egos at the door, it would take roughly a day or two to grade these stakes. Isn't it worth spending a little time to get these 'easy' problems out of the way? Perhaps grading the races wouldn't do much, but considering how little time would be necessary to address the issue, why not do it?
Same thing for post times. Let's get away from first race, second race, etc. and go to the 7:15 at the Meadowlands, 7:20 at Northfield, and 7:25 at Yonkers and close the betting windsors at post time. If tracks would cooperate and schedule their races at fixed times, wagering may go down for a week or so but gamblers aren't that dumb. Once they realize post time means the windows are closed, no ifs ands or buts, and they could make their wagers in the last minute knowing wagering is closing at post time, they will adapt; probably even appreciating the change in the long run as it would protect their investment.
Has this industry been so beaten into submission that easy changes like this are beyond their scope of handling? If so, it may be time to turn off the lights and go home for if they can't deal with easy things like this, how will they ever handle the difficult tasks?